The Big Climb has finally come to an end! I am back Nairobi. I was really excited to be heading home since I really missed my family and friends. It was a truly life changing experience and I have no regrets. Now that I’m back home I am slowing adjusting back to my reality, although I’m extremely exhausted after an intense three weeks. The Big Climb was a truly amazing experience for me and it still doesn’t seem real. It was an incredible time being with a group of people from all walks of life! I learnt so much during this time and really pushed my limits. Through the whole experience I met some amazing people that I hope to meet again in the future. I am capable of anything and that if I set my mind to something it is possible.
As much as I enjoyed myself I found it really hard and it was quite the emotional rollercoaster for me. I faced a lot of challenges throughout but I think the biggest one was fitting into the youth group (ten of us did a pre-climb training camp). Most of the time I felt like an outsider. This was mainly due to the language barrier, as Swahili is not my first language. I felt that as much as I tried to insist that another youth interpret for me it was met with deaf ears. I think that it is about trying to accommodate one another. Due to this I would isolate myself away from the youth group – I felt lonely at times. I didn’t expect all youth to only speak English. I thought that this would only be an issue at the beginning since we were still not sure about coming out of our comfort zones, but this continued throughout the training camp.
As I reflect on this journey the most memorable part for me was really the 36 hours of solitude during the training camp. This time really gave me time to analyze my life and helped me put into perspective my relationship with my father. The biggest thing I will take away from this whole experience is probably to appreciate myself more. Even though I come across as really outgoing I know that deep down I am very insecure about failing in anything. Just based on the fact that I didn’t make it to the top of the mountain doesn’t mean that I am a failure. I need to look at the work I put in to get to the place I reached. Life is all about ups and downs and I think that it has helped me accept the previous mistakes I have made in my life. The trip really gave me time to reflect and realize that despite all the hardships I have been through it has made a stronger person. I am a fighter and I will continue to fight. But not just for myself for the people around me and the people I want to inspire. I hope that with everything I learnt I can use it in the work I do with the children and young people at Sauti Kuu Foundation and beyond!
– Akinyi Obama-Manners, 24/10-21