I’ve had so many naysayers in my life always telling me NO because of the weight I carry.

I am still in awe at what one can achieve when one puts their mind to it. I’ve had so many naysayers in my life always telling me NO because of the weight I carry.

When I came across the #beginnertomtkenya program, I had never hiked a day in my life and had always been looking for a challenge that was out of my comfort zone. I thought to myself, why not! Maybe I would even have fun while at it.

The first hike on January 16 at Kilimambogo nearly took me out, and I thought it would be the perfect excuse to give up before anyone saw me fail and prove them right — because I thought I wasn’t physically built for it anyway.

I made a few friends on the bus and the trail, and these fantastic individuals really motivated me and talked me out of quitting. By the end of the four months, something in me has changed: I have conquered myself.

Like everyone else, so many thoughts kept running through my mind while I hiked for hours, and I shed tears along the way.

I thought of the people I lost and the little things that I take for granted — friendships, family, work, and everything in-between.

I overcame so many things, including altitude sickness, and gave everything to reach that summit — and oh my, the tears I shed when I was there!

My journey has shown me that anyone can overcome their physical, mental, and other limitations to achieve their goals.

My goal was to summit point Lenana, but I gained so much more than that and came out of that mountain a better version of myself.

I thank Robert and the whole Outdoorer team for the motivation, guidance, and discipline they instilled in us during the program and for walking with us throughout our journeys.

I also thank Sammy and his Mt. Kenya team for taking care of us on the mountain. I wouldn’t have summited without them, and more specifically for delivering strungi, slices of bread, and chapo during my 17-hour trek on summit day.

I am super-proud of the Class of April ‘21 for conquering themselves and unlocking their mountains. The experience was life-changing.

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