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Morning in Kilimanjaro

It’s early morning in Moshi, Tanzania, and I am watching the sunrise over our compound. I would like to say that I see the sun rising over Kilimanjaro, but on fact, the famous peak has stayed hidden through most of our stay here. We had our first glance since the plane flight yesterday.
We had gathered at the Lodge’s shaded bar to see off Kathleen, thus breaking up our tightly knit travel team. Traveling with people, especially traveling the way we do, builds a special kind of friendship. Together we struggle with flat tires, undrive-able roads, and early mornings. More significantly, we depend on one another to wrestle with the repercussions of heartbreak and the joy you find in hearing a student’s success story that is so difficult to communicate to people who are not here to hear it for themselves.
Kathleen had started walking with Louis and Richard down the path to meet Kathleen’s safari guide when I heard a whoop! Happy, the ridiculously beautiful woman at the front desk, ran out, fearing that Kathleen had fallen. I jogged toward them, as did two older gentleman with Indian-continent accents, Harriet, and Kathleen’s safari guide. Sister Salome slid out from her cabin, having heard the commotion.
Looking through a gap in the trees, we saw it. The barren, snow capped peak of Kilimanjaro peaked through the clouds, sunlight crowning it. Together we gazed in excited wonder-eleven people who had never met and, for most part, would never meet again. But who can be a stranger in the face of the inexplicable.
We saw off Kathleen with the jagged lines of Kilimanjaro burned in our memories. This morning the rest of the group disperses until next year, when a whole new set of friendships and stories will be made.

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