We all know the many tales of how amazing the porters are on Kili, but this is my tale and how a porter saved my boots and my trek. When it happened, we were about halfway through our trek of Kili. As we Kili trekkers know, at camp at the end of each day’s trek we try to dust off our clothes and boots. Mainly it’s the porters brushing off the trekkers. The trek can be quite dusty along the way, and it’s best to remove the dirt at day’s end. At Rongai Caves Camp, as a porter and I were trying to remove the day’s dust, we noticed the soles of my boots were coming apart. I had been wearing my hiking boots for a number of years without any problems and did all my pre-Kili training wearing the boots. I attempted my own rescue by applying the standard duct tape around the soles, which didn’t work that well because of all the dirt and dust—real bummer. But then came the porters to save the day!

(Insert Mighty Mouse theme song here.)

Evidently the porters had been talking about how my boots were falling apart. As it happens, they have had some experience with trekking boots (no surprise). So here come a couple of porters to look at my boots. Without hesitation they say they will repair the boots. I’m thinking, “How?” To my surprise they had a complete repair kit with a needle and some type of string, as well as soap to help the needle go through the leather and rubber soles. I watched in amazement at Halid Mohamed's skills and the speed at which the repairs were taking place. Before I knew it, I looked up and my boots were rescued and my Kili trek saved. I will forever be in debt to Halid Mohamed and all the porters who helped me make it up and down Kilimanjaro in one (safely heeled) piece.

– Dennis Martin Smith

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Porters stitching Dennis’s boot.

Viola! Magic on the mountain!