Exodus Travels’ New Documentary Shines Spotlight On Mt Kilimanjaro’s Female Porters

Open Jaw

Exodus Travels has released a new 22-minute documentary, Ngumu, which tells the story of the female porters on Mt Kilimanjaro through the trekking experience of Team GB Hockey champion and Olympic Gold Medalist, Crista Cullen. In Tanzania the Swahili word for porter is ‘Ngumu’ which translates to ‘tough.’ The documentary raises awareness of the challenges and advancements of women on the mountain and promotes the growth of the female workforce.

Cullen set out to experience what these women do each day and to experience life as a female porter – carrying a 20kg bag on her head, and a small pack on her back, as the locals do.

“Taking part in a journey that took me out of my comfort zone and into an environment where I felt personally both mentally and physically challenged was incredibly rewarding. It was exciting to be a part of a female team breaking down gender barriers and proving that the only thing that really matters is resilience,”said Cullen. “Charitable work has always been close to my heart and I feel I have a responsibility to bring attention to causes that help women to reach a better equilibrium, especially in Africa. Exodus’ initiative is a great vehicle to bring better standards of living to hardworking women in Tanzania and it is our hope, even beyond.”

Exodus has operated the Kilimanjaro treks for over 30 years. Female and male porters are considered to be the backbone of these climbs, allowing travellers to reach Kilimanjaro’s summit in comfort. As part of one of their charitable initiatives, the Porter Project, Exodus provides sponsorship programs to locals, which includes first aid courses, English tuition and a guide training course. This year, Exodus sponsored two female porters to complete the Mweka Guide Certification Course.

“When we first started women were behind and if there was a lot of men it was very intimidating because they thought we couldn’t do the job. This led to negative comments and gave us a hard time,” said Alicia Peter, one of the porters. “Now it’s different as we carry 20 kilos just like the men and we complete the job. We all work together to achieve the same goal as one team.”

Adventurers can help support the porters of Kilimanjaro and take on their own challenge to reach the summit on these routes with Exodus Travels:

Book before 31MAR to receive free equipment hire and a free Exodus backpack. The short documentary, Ngumu, can be view here.