Last week Thursday night, I met up a group of mountain climbers who had just done the Rwenzoris under the 7 summits campaign.
They are climbing 7 summits on the continent as a way of preparing for Himalayas next year which is super.
I enjoy conversations because there is a lot to learn from people and listening to others can easily re enforce some believes deep in us.
Anyway, on the side, I had a conversation with Cuthbert Swai a gentleman in the picture and he left me thinking.
Swai started out as a Porter carrying stuff for Kilimanjaro climbers and along the way, he learnt how to cook and guide tourists climbing Kilimanjaro…..
As he did it over and over, his skills improved including interaction with tourists and yes, one can tell that he never like me went to far in school as we know it. Well, schooling happens daily though many people believe learning only happens in class.
Swai today runs a company called Asante Safaris ltd in Tanzania handling over 5000 climbers a year…..an average climber pays over USD 3000 each
Swai who is 50 years old, says, Rwenzoris are the first technical mountains he has climbered in life and was shocked about it’s beauty and the fact that the mountain has less climbers.
Rwenzoris saw a very sharp growth from an average of 900 climbers a year to 4500 climbers and yes, it’s still a very small number but shows potential growth.
Swai alone in Tanzania handles a bigger number than one that goes to the rwenzoris and he has made up his mind to sell the Rwenzoris starting next year.
Swai also Owns very good accommodations both in Moshi and Karatu between Ngorogoro crater and lake Manyara in TZ and still expanding.
Talking to Swai reminded of the many people and by the way, most very educated who believe they can’t be anything. I personally believe that the value of education isn’t to have papers to talk about but it’s meant to enhance critical thinking. Therefore, education should never be a hindrance at all.
Swai is also involved in cycling safaris which happen during the kili marathon and am told he cycles everyday while in Moshi…practicing what he preaches…..not just empty talk. Some of the groups of riders can go up-to 400 members at once….this is massive business!!
I was humbled during this discussion but also enjoyed the fact that we have so much in common and are planing something big for Kasese starting 2020 God willing.
He also said, Kenya was a very big market for them until recent and gave me reasons why they have stopped going to TZ. I think Uganda has the potential to fill the gap and I was told why…
His story takes me back to what I tell young people. Don’t hurry for money but make sure you develop every skill, then create meaningful networks and money will come as third thing and influence will follow.
Hurrying for money blinds people and if you don’t have a skill to back you, you won’t know what to do when money disappears….skilled people will always stay relevant in society…
The writer is an investment expert and proprietor of Great Lakes Safaris