Meet Frank Mboya
Easy Travel could not be what it is today without our incredibly passionate and trustworthy guides. We might even go so far to say that we have the best guides in all of Tanzania. And since you will be spending most of your time with us, in the company of our guides, we thought we’ll introduce you to them. Join us as we introduce our Kilimanjaro guides and ask them 22 Questions in a quick fire round:
1. What is your name and surname? My name is Gerald Elisha Mollel.
2. Tell us a ‘lil bit about yourself – family, where you grew up etc.I was born in 1965 at Ilboru Village, Arumeru district in Arusha Region. I am the second born in the family of 6 children. I grew up in Arusha where I also took my primary and secondary education. I am married and a father of 4 children: 2 boys and 2 girls.
3. What languages can you speak?I speak a Maasai language which is my mother tongue, Kiswahili and English.
4. Do you have any nicknames?Yes. I do have a nickname “Mjomba” which is a Swahili name for uncle. I had this name from one of my colleagues I once worked with who, when we first met, decided to call me the name as we did not know each other before. So, from there everyone in the office kept calling me “mjomba”. To date which I do not have a problem at all as I am friendly to all staff of different ages.
5. How long have you been a tour guide?I have been working as a guide for more than 20 years.
6. Do you remember your very first trip you lead as a guide?Yes. I do remember the very first trip which I lead as a guide. It was when I travelled to Serengeti and I was not able to locate the road to the camp located in Southern Serengeti. I lost almost 2 hours and I tried the best I could the way. I got lost because I went to show my guests a cheetah and could not find a way back. I really panicked but when looked back and saw a certain hill which we normally use a land mark, that is when I recognized the proper directions to the camp. In those years, there were no proper roads particularly in Southern Serengeti
7. Where does your passion for wildlife come from?In my village Ilboru where I was born and grew up, I use to see the baboons and monkeys especially when I used to herd my father’s cows for grazing. When I was a little boy, our father used to take us for a family trip to Usa River game sanctuary which had different kinds of wild animals. I therefore developed interest to be a guide from a local guide from this game sanctuary. So, when I completed my secondary education, I joined a tour guide college where I studied different aspects to becoming a safari guide.
8. What is a typical day in the life of Easy Travel safari guide like?The typical day begins by reporting timely to work. I check a safari schedule, followed by a thorough check of the safari car to make sure that it is clean, and all mechanics done. I normally engage myself with the mechanics to check the vehicle and further learn on how to solve small problems like auto-electric, fuel system and all stuff to do with bolts and nuts.
9. What is your favorite part of Tanzania and why?I was born and grew up and now working on the north part of the country thus my favourite part. I have come across so many interesting things about the north Tanzania. The Kilimanjaro and Meru mountains, national parks, beautiful scenery, lush gardens around the volcanic mountains, and rivers, coffee plantations and culture of the people dominating this area.
Athletics. When I was in school, I participated in the inter-school athletics competition. Having been to the mountain so many times, I have gained breathing ability therefore becoming competent in athletics.
11. Is there a particular lesson or story you love to teach your guests about regarding nature or your culture?
I am the professional mountain guide who shares a lot with my guests. I do have a particular lesson about culture of the Chagga that I would like to share today. I would like to explain a bit the marriage in Chagga culture. Normally it is the man that pays the bride price to the parents of the girls in the form of a local brew about 240 liters, 2 cows, and 1 goat. Prior to the wedding ceremony all the participants share the local brew in a traditional calabash from both sides of the parents to show that two families have now formed a bond. On the wedding day, the man should present a machete to the brother in law and a blanket to the parents. The machete is the symbol of the warrior that has taken a good care of his sister while the blanket is to portray that “I am taking the girl from this family so the for the parents not to remain lonely, I give you this blanket to keep you warm.” After all this is done, you can take the girl to be your wife.
12. What was your scariest moment as a guide?
I remember I was on trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro with five clients through Machame Route. When we were on the way from Baranco to Karanga Camp on the fourth day, one of the porters slipped and fell down while carrying his luggage. He suffered some bruises and remained quiet for about three minutes. His fellow porters and I were very frightened but we all assisted him and took him to the camp where we gave him first aid assistance. When he recovered, two assistants of the porters escorted him down for further check-up at the hospital while the rest of us continued up with three new porters joining us.
13. What is the one question you get asked the most?
My guests always ask me how long it will take from this point to our camp. Before we start from one camp to another, I always brief them on how long we will cover for the day, how they should dress, and what kind of food they should take that day. I always remind them to take enough water to keep hydrated and fresh along the way – I have to apply my guiding skills to keep them going when they get tired.
14. What is the one thing that trekkers must remember to pack for their trekking?
Passport. This is obviously the most important document they should carry with them. It is required not only for the entry to the country but also for the entry to the national park.
15. What advice do you have for people who are going for trekking for the first time?
Guests trekking for the first time should bring along the proper gears for the climb, they have to be attentive and listen to the briefing from the mountain guide. They need to do sufficient training before the climb.
16. Which Tanzanian dish do you recommend travellers must try when they visit?
“Machalari” is what I always prefer to recommend to travellers to Tanzania. Machalari is cooked banana mixed with beef stew and vegetables.
17. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I enjoy reading books, watching TV and teaching my children about culture.
18. Are you a cat person or a dog person?
I am a dog person.
19. If we open your cellphone’s music player, what song would we find was last played?
It is the song called “Nibebe” by the Tanzanian gospel music artist Rose Muhando.
20. What is the last photo you took on your cellphone?
The photo I took recently with my cellphone is a family selfie.
21. Do you have a favourite joke you’d like to tell?
When we come down from the mountain, with everyone tired, I always tell them we have to go back because we forgot to take pictures!
22. Lastly, if you could give travellers one reason why they have to visit Tanzania in their lifetime what would it be?
The Easy Travel team offers excellent service and it is indeed the reason I would give to the travellers wanting to visit Tanzania.