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May 25 , 2009

No Picnic on Mount Kenya


In the shadow of Mount Kenya, surrounded by the forests and creatures of the savannah, life drags interminably for the inmates of P.O.W. Camp 354. Confined to an endless cycle of boredom and frustration, it is little wonder when one prisoner realises he can bear it no longer.

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When the clouds covering Mount Kenya part one morning to reveal its towering peaks for the first time, Felice Benuzzi is transfixed. The tedium of camp life is broken by the beginnings of a sudden idea - an outrageous, dangerous, brilliant idea.

There are not many people who would break out of a P.O.W. camp, trek for days across perilous terrain before climbing the north face of Mount Kenya with improvised equipment, meagre rations, and with a picture of the mountain on a tin of beef among their more accurate guides. There are probably fewer still who would break back in to the camp on their return.

This is the remarkable story of three such men. No Picnic on Mount Kenya is a powerful testament to the human spirit of revolt and adventure in even the darkest of places.

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