For three hours, we ascended the steep incline, tramping through piles of rock rubble that made movement difficult. It seemed like a lifetime. I wondered for how long we could keep up with this. Then we took a sharp bend and were faced by a vast rock that rose twelve or so feet high. It gleamed like dirty chrome in dawn’s slanting light. Waswa, the team leader, announced that the rock was the last barrier to Mount Kenya’s third highest peak: Point Lenana.
Waswa gave instructions. We were to scale the rock, one by one, and use the cracks for hand and foot grip. I was last on the line. The biting wind gusted down from the upper mountain with fury, penetrating the layers of clothing and waterproof gloves. I lost feeling on the tips of my fingers. What if I slipped?
I watched my colleagues struggle to climb over the edge of the rock and onto the summit. One-by-one. Finally, it was my turn. I must overcome. I mustered my feeble strength as I jammed my right hand into a crack. Fierce determination. Nothing would stop me from reaching the top. I levered myself off the ground. I was making progress. Slow, but steady. I inched my way upward. I threw my left hand on top of the rock and heaved my body over the edge. I collapsed on the ground.
I lay there, breathless, exhausted, feeling numb. I heard the clapping. I wriggled up as I called for water. Someone thrust a bottle in my hand. I drank the water greedily. I opened my eyes and looked up. If for nothing else, the spectacular view of the glorious sunrise was a full reward.
I did it!
There was unashamed joy spread over our strained faces.
We did it!
I recalled Waswa’s words, I know you can do it, as I hummed some lines from Celine Dion’s lyrics, “I’m Your Angel”:
No mountain’s too high for you to climb
All you have to do is have some climbing faith, Oh Yeah…
No rivers too wide, for you to make across
All you have to do is believe it when you pray
Copyright ©2014 David Waweru