Admiring the Active of All Ages (2000-03-07/08)

Mamas on KilimanjaroAfter the stories of beasts, beatings, bribes, and bugs, I wanted to share more inspirational stories of east Africa. At Marangu Hotel I met Betty and Ruth. Betty Leavengood is a freelance writer from Arizona. (She is the author of Grand Canyon Women and Tucson Hiking Guide--in a second edition.) She and her friend, Ruth, were "the two mamas." ("Mama" is a respectful form of address for any women old enough to have children). Betty and Ruth climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at the same time I did--to more than 4 500 m at the saddle between Kibo and Mawenzi. I was able to take a picture at Mandara with Ruth on the left and Betty on the right.

Betty says, "We old folks should give you youngsters hope for your old age." They gave me hope, at least. After climbing Kilimanjaro, Ruth went to Haiti. Betty wrote:
My friend Ruth had a great time in Haiti. To her, having a great time means being dumped in the middle of nowhere by the jeep driver supposedly taking her to a hotel in another town. He got angry and left her and her daughter. They were rescued by a policeman.
At the time Betty was working on another book about Arizona's mountaintops. She also planned a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon over Easter.

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