Posted on October 06 2017
When you think of Africa, does Mt. Kilimanjaro ever cross your mind? The tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain in the world!! Snow capped, with all the wild animals roaming in the magnificent Serengeti plains below. And when you approach it, the sheer enormity and majesty of the mountain is simply overwhelming. Kilimanjaro basically rises from the ground and goes straight up, and when you're up close it somehow seems larger than life--weird. Words don't do it justice.
Now picture this scene--there's a bunch of high schoolers, plus four adults, along with a few guides and porters, each with our 40lb hiking packs tackling this mountain over a week's time. An adventure of a lifetime? You betcha!
And I nearly woofed it.
Kilimanjaro, or Kili as we called it, isn't like Everest where you had to prepare for cold weather and watch out for storms. This was basically a long hike in an upward direction. Well, there was a patch where it wasn't--and it nearly killed all of us--more on that next time. And then there's this last long climb basically up the side of the mountain, which is where the story really starts.
That last night began at midnight, or at least I think it did--don't remember really. Either way, we were all groggy and cold and smelly and the climb hadn't even started!
Then we got to it, somehow. Lucky all we had to bring with us was our (frozen) canteens and hiking sticks. The climb up the side of Kili is basically one long night of traversing back and forth for about five hours. Single file. And somehow I was the first student in line, right behind the adults. Woo hoo! I'd be the first of my classmates to the top!
But it was not to be... I was doing great for the first 30 minutes or so. Again, don't really remember--did I mention it was cold? Then the headwinds kicked in. And I don't mean the windy kind. I mean the gassy kind. LOL. Except it was in my face and I didn't even have the energy (or guts) to tell the adults to cut it out. And then all of a sudden I just...kind of... crumpled into a big heap.
I didn't even know why, but my body just decided to quit on me. Right there, on the last night of the entire week's climb. When it really mattered. I was done. I mean, what the heck?!?
I was too tired to care as the rest of the group trudged past me--one person even told me to have a nice nap (thanks ya jerk!). So there I was, on the side of Kili, just a few hours from the top, and I was zonked out.
I wasn't sure how long I was out though it couldn't have been too long I think. Somehow I picked myself up and slowly, ever so slowly, continued my hike up. Now that I think back on it, it was actually nice. Basically, it was just me myself and I about 100 yards behind the rest of the group. I could stop if I wanted, I could sleep again if I wanted (I didn't, btw). It was just me and Kili.
Around 5'ish, I finally caught up to the last of the stragglers, and actually was able to encourage them to keep pushing on. I don't know what came over me, but coming up from behind, I wanted to make sure we all made it as a group. Or maybe I was just glad to have company again! :)
When the sun started poking through, we were all at the top. All of us. Me included. But, did I get a chance to snap a picture at the top? That'll be for another day...
When you're at the top of Africa, it's an amazing feeling--nobody cares you came in last. Nobody cares you fell asleep and got left behind. None of that matters. All that matters is I picked myself up and finished at the top. And the reward was worth it, that sense of accomplishment. Did you know you can see into three countries when you're at the top of Kili? Pretty cool, huh?
That's kind of like life, isn't it? Whatever your dreams or goals, it doesn't matter if you meander or get stuck or take a detour (or fall asleep). The only decision that matters is yours. You decide when you're done. You decide to be joyful even when the circumstances look bleak. Your attitude sets the compass, and even if you're late you arrive when you need to. No comparing. That's not allowed.
And Mimobee is a little like that. We don't follow the wider path--we go our own way, take our own time. And even though the narrower path of trying to be a kids fashion leader that's also comfortable for kids can be challenging, that's fine. We get there when we get there. Sometimes pieces aren't completely understood, but those that get it, get it. You know who you are--you style leaders. And that makes it all worthwhile. (In case you were wondering which pieces may have been a little misunderstood, here you go.)
Okay, go climb a mountain!
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