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