teen books

Kili Climb
by Hilary Williamson
(page 2)

A week later I was ready to give my talk. I took a deep breath, looked at Lizzie (she doesn't make funny faces like Amir), and started.

'Kilimanjaro is in Tanzania and it's the highest mountain in Africa. It's 5,895 meters high and has snow on top all year, even though it's near the Equator. I read that its name comes from Swahili words that mean Shining Mountain. The volcano is dormant and there are three craters called Shira, Kibo and Mawenzi.'

'What does dormant mean? Is that a dorm for ants?' - Amir again.

'A dormant volcano is one that's not doing anything right now, but could erupt - you know like Mount St. Helen's' Lizzie told him.

'Kilimanjaro hasn't erupted in over a century' I continued. 'There's a legend that says the craters Kibo and Mawenzi are brothers. One day they were smoking their pipes.  Mawenzi's went out, so he borrowed fire from his younger brother Kibo to light it again. After he fell asleep, Mawenzi's pipe went out again and he tried to borrow some more.'

'Kibo was bigger than his older brother and he didn't want to share. This time Kibo got real mad and hit his brother with a club. Now Mawenzi is all banged up. He's embarrassed about his looks so he hides behind clouds a lot.'

'Poor Mawenzi,'

said Amir 'must be tough having a younger brother who can beat you up. What started the legend?'

'Well, Kibo was still active and smoking after Mawenzi became dormant. Maybe local tribes saw Kibo erupt and send rocks across the saddle between the craters.  They saw how Mawenzi was different afterwards and the legend could have grown from that. With all the clouds around the crater, it makes a good story that Mawenzi's hiding his battered looks.'

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