This week were excited to share this guest blog post by Jeff Lemond. He shares a life-changing story from his hike up Kilimanjaro with his Goal Zero gear.
When someone casually asks ‘how are you doing’, the typical unconscious response of ‘good’ usually follows. And most of the time, that’s it. End of conversation.
Not in this case.
The Tanzanian porter who carries over fifty pounds of equipment up a steep, rocky, and muddy trail continues to ask, ‘what’s good’ to the above conversation. When I replied, ‘this’ (referring to what I was surrounded by) he was very dissatisfied. ’This’ was not a sufficient enough answer to sound polite and grateful for the mans hard labor. He’s still staring at me waiting for an elaboration. I then reply, ‘The views, the quietness of camp in the morning.. the broken clouds illuminated by the sunrise after walking in the rain all day yesterday.’ He walks away with a knowing and understanding smile gleaming brighter than the early sun that seems to say the Mzungu is starting to see.
The beauty of Africa does not exist at the summit of Kilimanjaro or the magnificence of the animals we’ll encounter on safari but in the people who have nothing of the material possessions we value in the west. They have something of far greater value – a respect and joy for life that stems from real relationships with others.
I wasn’t certain how much power the Sherpa 50 re charger and Nomad 13 Solar Panel duo could generate, but for the next five days, Goal Zero was recharging the support crews’ smart phones plus a camera battery each day. A few of the guides and porters approached me about using the battery and solar panel to recharge their cell phones so they could call home to their families. It sounded like a perfect way to offer something that they need and show a little generosity in return for their service. This solar re charger was able to fulfill the desires to stay in contact with love ones, update blogs from the side of the mountain, and memorialize the trip of a lifetime in video and pictures.
One of the most attractive features of the Goal Zero Sherpa 50 and Nomad 13 products is their reduced weight. The battery and panel weigh in at only 2 pounds combined. On the evening before summit night, our lead African guide asked politely if he could carry the battery and solar panel to the summit so I could hook it up to the outside of his pack once the sun came up. At this point, the weight was reduced to zero – at least to me, and I felt like I’d become (in some small way) a part of the group of Africans – part of their culture of giving according to others’ needs and appreciating the simple joys of a life shared with others.
I wasn’t just providing electricity with my Sherpa 50, I was providing the means by which others were able to share and express their passions and love through photos, videos and conversations where they could ask, ‘What’s good’.