Knock, knock, knock.

“Hello?”

“Hi Jackie, sorry to disturb you.”

“Not at all.”

“Our electricity bill was due this week. Everyone owes 5,000 shillings.”

“No problem. One moment. … Here you go.”

“Thank you very much.”

“No, thank you for telling me. I was gone all last week, so I didn’t know. Asante sana. Good night.”

“So, I hear you are a volunteer.”

“Yes.”

“I work for a safari company and was wondering if you’re interested in climbing Kilimanjaro?”

“Umm… not really. I…”

“Because if you wanted to climb we could give you a special discount, a volunteer price.”

“That’s very nice, but I’m actually going to be a bit too busy with work and won’t have the time to climb Kili. Thanks, though.”

“Oh, that’s ok, we have shorter trips. Five day trips, for example. Do you work with a large group of volunteers? Because you could get everyone in your program to go on the hike and I could give you all a special rate.”

“Actually, I didn’t come with a program.”

“Oh, well are you familiar with the ????? program? It’s the very large volunteering program in Moshi?”

“No.”

“What about ????? program? Maybe you know all those volunteers and would want to bring them on the hike?”

“I don’t know either of those programs. I actually don’t like large volunteer programs and organize all my work myself.”

“Oh, well what about the other volunteers at your organization? The other ones who are here for two or three months. You could all come in a group.”

“I’m actually the only volunteer here for my organization.”

“What about your friends that are volunteers? The ones who are here to volunteer for two or three months, like you.”

“All my friends are Tanzania or wazungu who are residents here.”

“Oh. Well you could always join one of our Kili trips of volunteers if you’d like and we’ll give you a good rate. Or, we have other options, like a Mt Meru trip…”

“No thanks, I’m a bit too busy with work.”

“But you like hiking and climbing, don’t you?”

“Yes, but if I go climbing I’m not going to go on an organized trek, I’m going to go with friends. I used to do that every week when I was in Kenya.”

“Ah and I’m sure it was very cheap. You only had to pay for your lunch and transportation and guide, right?”

“No guide. I just went with friends. We have all of our own equipment. We went on our own every Sunday.”

“If you want to go climbing we also have day trips you can come on for very good rates. In fact, you can go on a Kilimanjaro day trip, where you hike to the lowest camp and spend the night. It’s a very beautiful day hike with many animals and beautiful waterfalls…”

“No thanks. I am planning on climbing Kilimanjaro at some point, but I want to wait for when I’m not pressed for time. If I’m going to pay the very expensive park fee, I’m going to do the whole thing.”

“Great. Well I would be happy to give your group of volunteer friends a special discount on the Kilimanjaro hike! We appreciate all the work that you volunteers do and really want to give back to you by giving you special rates.”

“Thanks again, but I don’t think I’ll be climbing Kilimanjaro while I’m here…”

“That’s ok, you can climb with us when you come back in a couple years, and you can still tell all your volunteer friends about us now. If you send us a large group then we can pay you commission. You know that nothing is done for free here in Tanzania, and we would be happy to give you commission if all of your volunteer friends choose to hike with us. I’m sure a lot of your fellow two or three month volunteer friends here are looking to climb Kilimanjaro, and this will be a great opportunity for everyone!”

“Ok. I’ll tell all my volunteer friends.”

“That’s great, and I do hope that you’ll join them in the climb! We have a couple shorter climbs that I think would be perfect for you. Here is our website, so you can tell all you friends about our special volunteer rates. Also, please give me your email address.”

“Umm…”

“Great, thanks! This way I can send you emails every once in a while to tell you about our safari company and to remind you to tell all your volunteer friends to come climb Kilimanjaro with us.”

“Great. Good night now.”

“Thank you very much for your time, and we look forward to having you and a lot of your friends on our trips!”

 

And people wonder why I ignore anyone on the street that asks me if I want to go on a safari.

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