On February 6th, 2023, at 10:15 am, I reached Uhuru Peak. Africa's highest point. The roof of Africa, a dream come true, and it was not… just like that. It was a journey and a process.
It is one thing to read about the analogy between mountains and life, and another to experience it firsthand.
For six days, I hiked and climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro. In approximately 54-hours, I covered 37 miles to finally reach the top.
Each day, for 8-10 hours, I trekked 3-8 miles at an increasingly higher altitude. I began my “summit day”, the 5th day of the climb, at 1 am and reached Uhuru Peak at 10:15 am, trekking six miles for 9-hours and 15-minutes.
Yelp! That is an entire work week plus overtime.
I know it doesn’t make sense, and there is no logic behind the distance and time—but that is a mountain. That is Mt. Kilimanjaro and that is life.
The appearance of Mt. Kilimanjaro’s typography is mesmerizing. She is made up of rainforests, moorland, rocks, and desert. Subsequently the weather is unpredictable. It is hot, cold, rain, sunny, hell rain, windy and cloudy. I was literally walking on “cloud 9”.
The beautiful terrains of Mt. Kilimanjaro
The emotional and physical roller coaster I experienced was intense. I had low-energy and high-energy moments. I felt powerful and weak at any given time.
I began to question my decision. But, quitting and going back was not an option. The only possible way back was if my lung capacity was unable to take me to the top—and it was through this experience that I realized God perfectly created my lungs to sustain high altitude elevation. I experienced zero mountain sickness. In fact, the high altitude did not affect me at all (and I was not taking altitude prevention medicine).
Photos By: John F.
On the contrary, my oxygen levels were better at higher altitudes than at lower altitudes.
Through all of this, I still loved and enjoyed the journey and experience—because it was mine. I decided the what, the how, and the why.
Loving and Enjoying the Experience.
She is just herself, in all of her majesty, complexity and contradiction; and if you dare take the risk to be around her and bless to experience, she welcomes you for a memorable and an unspeakable experience.
Ms. Kili Herself.
The complexity of Mt. Kilimanjaro is one to love, admire and fear all at the same time:
She is beautiful.
She is dangerous.
She is still.
She is calm.
She is rough.
She is trouble.
She is just herself, in all of her majesty, complexity and contradiction; and if you dare take the risk to be around her, she welcomes you for a memorable and an unspeakable experience.
I recognized myself in her.
Photo By: John F
I was praying for my loved ones, for those who betrayed me, and for those who hurt me. I was planning my future, allowing my imagination to take me as far as I dared. I was plotting sweet revenge thinking I can use
my ancestors as hitmen and hitwomen: Yes, I did.
Photo By: John F
Then, I decided I no longer want or need to explain or defend my existence or my “whys”. I realized, if I needed to do that, I would have pursued a doctorate degree because it is only there that one should defend their “whys”.
Photo By: John F
So, like Mt. Kili. I own the complexity of my being, existence and “whys” and I am not going to feel shame or guilt about it. I AM me in all of my majesty, complexity, and contradiction.
Thank you for journeying with me.
Thank you for the love and support.
Thank you for your donation.
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The village behind my Uhuru Peak success
This is just the beginning, and I am looking forward to sharing more.