Loitokitok – 2019 Kili Initiative – # 20

Back at the Kibo Slopes Lodge the Kili Initiative team relaxed after lunch. I hadn’t eaten anything. My stomach was trembling at the sight of good and decided to wander into town for some souvenirs and maybe even a Guinness.

The Irish Stout was good for you.

This was our last day in Loitokitok.

Tomorrow the team was traveling to Tanzania to begin our climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.

My friend Ma’we joined me.

“Always good to have someone with you. This might be the country, but young men can get city very fast, if they see someone with money.”

“Like me.”

“Yes, like you.”

I took only my phone and some money.

We walked down the back road.

Some girl approached us.

They offered fun.

“Sorry, I am a married man.”

I have been faithful to Mam over ten years.

One of them said, “Muziki.”

Even without knowing Swahili I deciphered the word and laughed, giving them each enough money for a meal. $3 in total.

“Why you give those bad girls money?”

“We all are bad. They are bad 100%. They are just not lucky, same as that flower. Beautiful one day. Not beautiful another.”

Ma’we understood and

School was in session and few people were on the street, except for a couple of children on a dusty street.

“Why aren’t they in school?”

“Maybe family have no money. School is very expensive, but I think they be too young.”

Their smiles were things of beauty.

“Same in Thailand. No money. No school.”


Kenya was richer than most countries on the continent, but the money flowed up to the rich and never down to the poor. Same as everywhere in the world.

“Just a second. You go ahead.”

“Sick?” asked Ma’we.

“Only a little.”

He walked ahead and I voided my body and soul onto the dirt.

Damn goat entail soup.

We turned a corner and were in the market.

Passengers were loading onto buses destined for unknown towns.

Ma’we had friends here. Everyone knew him. Everyone wanted to say hello. He introduced me as his brother. I felt good about that, but then my stomach gurgled like the inside of a fetid geyser.

“Watch out. M’zee zamani.”

All the old men laughed, because nothing was funnier than a fart. I took my revenge and let go. The old men reeled back in earnest and I said, “M’zee # 1.”

We left quickly and within two minutes people shouted out to me.

“M’zee Zamani.”

I had been here for a couple of days.

They also shouted out, “Konyagi.”

It was my drink and in small towns everyone knew everyone’s stories and quick.

A bar was located on a back alley.

Ma’we led me to a seat by the window.

He laughed with the other drinkers, telling a tale of my farts and after a brief conversation in Swahili he asked, “Guinness?”

I nodded my head, hoping I could keep it down in my stomach and control my zamani. I told heroic tales of passing gas to the bar drinkers and raised my hands to signal I needed to get outside.

The Preacher Man was kicking off his evening session.

I walked across the dirt road. Flowers floated from the green. I tested the wind and aimed downwind. I spread my legs and let go the wind within me. A song came into my head. CANDLE IN THE WIND. Elton John.

I turned around and entered the bar to cheers.

My fellow drinkers were holding their noses.

I sniffed the air and said, “Big nose smelled bad everywhere.”

The next round was on me, because Guinness was good for you.

No matter how bad was your guts.

ps. I bought a Kenya baseball cap.


  1. Posted January 7, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Hoping to find son or relation of Frank Arthur Smith II of Milton. I taught at Curry for many years and have questions about the Titanic. Please contact me!

  2. Posted January 7, 2020 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    I’m his son. My grandfather went north to identify the body of a Bowdoin friend.

    here’s my excerpt from mangozeen

    On the evening of April 15, 1912 the RMS Titanic struck an iceberg on her maiden voyage across the North Atlantic.

    The unsinkable White Star ocean liner sank three hours later.

    Only 20% of the passenger and crew survived the disaster.

    According to the Bowdoin online magazine one of casualty was Richard White and his classmate and fraternity brother, Frank Arthur Smith, spent his thirtieth birthday in Halifax, Nova Scotia. My grandfather’s trip was not for pleasure. The families of the Titanic passengers had been informed that the bodies of hundreds of the victims had been recovered and transported by a steamer to Halifax for identification and the Bowdoin senior traveled to Nova Scotia on behalf of the White family, who hoped to recover the bodies of both Richard and his father, Percival. Frank waited anxiously at the Halifax Hotel for several days before receiving a telegram from his friend’s wife.

    “Richard’s body reportedly found[.] better return with it at once… look sharp for my brothers body[.] wire me fully as soon as you can.”

    What was thought to be Richard’s body was found clad in a brown suit, wearing white shoes. The man had fair hair and seemed to be carrying Richard’s effects, but the estimated age was listed as thirty-seven. Richard was only twenty-one. Bowdoin sent measurements taken during Richard’s last physical to assist officials in identifying the body.

    Finally, after several delays, the steamer arrived in Halifax where the bodies of the first-class passengers were taken to a make- shift morgue in the city’s curling rink. The corpses of second- and third-class passengers and crew had been sewn into canvas bags to dumped into ocean before the survivors, who “cannot forget the cry of tortured humanity, facing its death in cold and darkness, despairing, a shrill chorus that carried despair across the quiet starlit waters.”

    Frank A. Smith was taken to view body number 169. The remains were so battered, so ravaged that it was understandable that the body had been thought to be sixteen years older. Richard’s possessions fared better. He had a gold watch, keys, a bloodstone ring, and his Delta Kappa epsilon fraternity pin.

    After positively identifying the body, Frank A. Smith inquired about Percival White with officials and checked among the other passengers yet to be identified. There were no bodies matching his description and it was assumed that Richard’s father was lost at sea.

    Frank saw that the coffin was sealed and prepared for travel.

    In Portland he met members of the White family.

    Richard’s remains were then transported to Winchendon, Massachusetts, and were interred in a private ceremony on May 2.

    Frank A. Smith was my grandfather.

    He served in WWI as a dcotor.

    He married my grandmother Edith.

    Sadly he died several months before my birth.

    This story was told me by my father.

    No one in my family believed it until now.

    Then again all stories are true, if interesting.

  3. Posted January 7, 2020 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    do you have any familial ties to Richard White?

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