Mount Longonot

Count the Steps One at a Time

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“The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step”, a proverb for some, a cliche for others, its conventional application is as an encouragement to anyone who has a project or undertaking that appears too large to handle or complete. Reflecting is a good thing, an I don’t just mean when a mirror does it (for those of us who spend ages in front of one). Reflecting over different things, different situations has always been an adventure for me. At times i gain insights, and other times i get more confused, opting to postpone the thoughts to a point in time when i have a clear mind. Now i also happen to like walking, in the country-side especially or anywhere with minimal traffic, human, automotive or otherwise.

The road rarely travelled
The road rarely traveled

While i love walking, I’m not particularly excited about hills. I’m not some Geographical Bigot who thinks some physical features are superior to others. I just don’t like hills when I’m about to climb them. When going down hill, i dedicate the spare hatred to global warming which looks bad either way, but i digress.

The reason i hate hills is the fact that they tend to look imposing and energy consuming when one looks at them from the base or bottom (stop giggling!). My point of view from the hill makes me immediately focus on how tired i will be once i complete it or how i will be panting while taking a break. I need another post just to discuss the muscle aches and the sweating. But as i said above, I love walking.., my doctor diagnosed me with wanderlust, or kiguu na njia for the swahili speakers. I walk both for leisure as well as for exercise and this means that i have to go up a hill or two every now and then.

One day as i was going up one of the many hills, i realized that it is not so bad if i focus on each step and not the whole hill. I noticed that while they do consume energy, they are seldom as bad or tiring as they appear. Most of the time we get to adapt naturally as we continue moving, maybe walking at an angle, taking longer or shorter steps… there’s always a way we adapt, consciously or otherwise. Voila! i had an epiphany,..Hills only look scary because for some strange reason our eyes tell us that we have to make one giant step to complete the hill. Since then i changed my strategy and always psychologically divide the hill into sections of five steps each, about three yards that is. This way i have tens, hundreds, or even thousands of little victories. At home we have some wise ancestors we call Wahenga, singular Mhenga. One of their famous quotes is “Haba na Haba Hujaza Kibaba” which in its simplest form could be translated to “Small and Small come together to make Big.” This message is duplicated in various realms of knowledge. Mathematicians say 1+1=2. Zimbabwean mathematicians will say One billion plus One Billion makes Two Billion or Four Billion if the inflation fluctuates before you get the answer.

The concept applies to any area of my daily life that appears to be too big. This could be a weight loss goal, a saving goal, or a business i want to get going. It could also be owning a home or simply kicking a habit. The eventual goal will usually tend to appear lofty and impossible but we can always circumvent this by breaking them down into manageable goals because in reality you can only do so much. i just got the most interesting illustration but i am getting really sleepy and not sure if i will be able to complete this……………



  1. Im just from changing…im from doing the Ngong Hills. But running. On strategy that i always have whenever we come across crests or when we do hills is just lookin a few metres (say around five) ahead of you.Looking at the whole hill or mount always “discourages”

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