In November of 2002, 3 porters died on Kilimanjaro because of lack of communication and inadequate clothing, all things which could have been prevented. Each year, a number of porters die (and tourists) – falling on the mountain, hypothermia, High Altitude Pulmonary Edema, and a myriad of other reasons.
This article, although a few years old, “Deaths on Kilmanjaro Raise Concern About Porter Safety,” really paints a picture on how and why porters end up in trouble. Ken Stober quote really sums it up, “If we can get everyone educated, then people will be policing themselves–like making sure your porter is outfitted, paid properly, and has a place to sleep.”
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Tourists are the only ones who can make the tour companies change. Before you book your trip, and while you are on the mountain, make sure your porters are getting the “Proper Porter Treatment.” Many companies say they take care of their porters, but check it out for yourself on the mountain!