I was born in Kinangop Plateau in Kenya. Kinangop Plateau is a region in Kenya that lies between the Kenyan Rift Valley to the west and the Aberdare Range to the east. It takes its name from Kinangop Mountain, which rises in the Aberdares to the east. Growing up poor in Kinangop Plateu meant that I did not travel to see other parts of Kenya, my family could not afford traveling, and there was no reason to travel anywhere else.
We were farmers, we could easily get food from the farm without ever leaving our sheltered environments. And besides, friends and family told us that beyond our plateaus lived giants who swallowed people alive, we were scared of ever traveling there. Then as we grew up older the stories changed, we were told that beyond our plateaus were mean people who were hostile to us. As I listened to these change from one generation I became curious to travel on my own, get to see what lay beyond my plateau.
Then in Four One (or Grade 8) I joined Boys Scout. That year, my Boys Scout Club was going on hike Mount Kinangop, which is a mountain in the southern Aberdare Range about 100 miles (160 km) north of Nairobi, Kenya. For those new to Kenya, Aberdares Range is within the Aberdare National Park, Central Kenya. It is a string of forests, beautifully woven around the windward side of Mount Kenya, its rivers and streams have clear waters gushing down the ravines and valleys to make a spectacular drop at the Thompson Falls in Nyahururu.
The hike was going to take one day. I signed up for it. I could not wait to climb it so that I could see down the Rift Valley and other scenic places below Kinangop Plateau. We started the hike at 0600 AM. As we started there was a dense fog on the mountain which obscured the mountain trails. We knew it was going to clear off as soon as the sun was up. Along the way, we crossed many mountain streams, beautiful plants and flowers like fern trees, bromileads, impatient and hibiscus flowers. We heard many different types of birds, insects and frogs. And as we climbed higher and higher, we felt the physical strain of the climb. Yet we kept on climbing.They say that the wolf on the top of the hill is never as hungry as the wolf climbing the hill.The wolf has made it. He doesn’t have the same drive as the other wolves, but that is because he has what they desperately want. Climbing up for 13 and 14 Olds was not easy, but we had to stay true to ourselves, we kept on going, we knew it was worth it in the end.
We could now see the summit peaking in our sights, we pushed through physical pain, mental exhaustion and pushed ourselves to new physical and emotional heights- to achieve an exhilaration unlike any you’ve thus experienced! I was just thankful to have a moment of calm and a view of the sunrise to start the day. It really felt special to watch the sun. As we got closer to the summit it started to feel cold. The altitude made our brain hurt a little. The oxygen was so thin that we could barely get enough air to breathe, let alone support this much physical exertion. But we just wanted to wait for the best part, to see the Great Rift Valley from a spectacular vantage point and it will be entirely, unequivocally worth it.
At around 1200 we arrived at Mt. Kinangop Summit. Mt. Kinangop is the Second highest Peak in the Aberdare Range with an elevation of 3,906 m. Located in the Aberdare National Park on the Southern Aberdare Range.At the Summit, the views all round was incredible, pure heartwarming, with Mt Kenya clearly visible in the distance. The Table Mountain on the Aberdare could be seen to the north, the Elephant Hill to the south, and numerous other mounds and valleys, some shrouded in wispy clouds. In that moment of pure joy, I got to see what lay beyond my village; the beautiful Great Rift Valley, some parts of Nairobi, Lake Naivasha all lay there before me. I have no words to explicitly explain that moment, but was all heavenly.
There is no substitute for being there and FEELING it.Looking out over the lush green tree tops, past the towns, you see it all. At the summit you feel the refreshing cool mist of the clouds on the wind cooling you off from your hike up the mountain. It is a real reward for your hard work! With that view I felt hope beyond description, I saw hope that one day I will leave my village to go out there to see those other villages, the city of Nairobi and learn about their people. I saw hope that my vision was not restrained to the fables and stories about giants who live in mountains beyond. I felt a surge of hope, future. I felt a sense of ‘bigness outside myself’, a sense of the majesty of the world around us, and of just how small we are, in comparison to the big picture ahead and around us.I saw my life branching out before me like the fern trees.
From the tip of every branch, there before me was my future beckoning.. I saw myself going places for studies and I believed it. That day has given birth to today. Thirty years now I am living in Canada, thirty years now I live hopeful in Canada. Thirty years now I bring hope to others. I bring to all of you fighting battles alone. To all of you going against the grain, battling the naysayers I stay strong! Keep going, keep believing! is walk is hard. But the hardest walks lead to the greatest destinations. The toughest climbs always lead to the best view. It WILL be worth it in the end.And if you show what you are made of, the RIGHT people will show up in your life. You have qualities only few can admire, because most don’t possess. You have strength only few can understand, because most have never experienced.
I learned to enjoy having high hopes about things that might happen.
The 13th century philosopher and theologian St Thomas Aquinas said that faith has to do with things that are not seen, while hope has to do with things that are not at hand. If hope is more active than optimism, faith is more active still. Faith is deeply committed.Faith, at its core, is deep-rooted in the expectation of good things to come. It goes beyond hope. While much of hope lives in the mind, faith is steeped in the heart and the spirit. It can’t be explained away by reason or logic, or be understood through a single dimension.
I am an optimist, who believe that something good will happen to me. May be my faith in God has something to do with my optimism. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There have been many dark moments when my faith in humanity was tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. I still believed that after the storm there will be a rainbow and calmness. I always wait for my rainbow. While life can be hard at the best of times, faith is the knowledge, deep down inside, that things will get better. It is that power and energy in us that speak in the future we hope to achieve.It is very much like my vision to go to places beyond my village. It’s taking the next step when you can’t see the entire staircase. Simply put, life would fail to have reason if we didn’t have faith.Faith is the power of our convictions and expectations. Like the wind, we can’t see faith, but we can feel it, and we can see its effects on our lives. And, just as the direction and speed of the wind determines the weather, the nature of our faith shapes our destiny.