By Amandla Karungi

  1. Carry water. There will be someone at the foot of the mountain to help you carry all your litres of water. You need them.
  2. Prepare your sugar. If you have kept away from sugar because you wanted to live a healthier lifestyle, you have the perfect excuse to bring out all the chocolate, sweets, cupcakes and glucose. You need the energy.
  3. Focus. It takes eight hours to reach the top of the highest peak of Mountain Muhabura. Every step forward requires the greatest effort and determination. You need a reason. Give yourself a reason to reach the peak.
  4. Pick your support system. There will be those for whom it is more important to reach the peak than to keep your company. They will run up the mountain with sharp strides without a blink to the side. If they do stop, it will be to jump over your body as you lie face first in the mud. There will also be someone whose type of motivation is, “If you don’t get to the top, you will never forgive yourself!”. Stick to the humble and encouraging spirit even if you find it only in you.
  5. Allow yourself to find peace among the fallen leaves and mountain shrubs if it helps you keep sane. Run and scream too, if it helps. At some point you will ask yourself what you were trying to prove and to whom. You will have a mountain of thoughts in your mind; questions, answers and questions unanswered.
  6. Enjoy the view on your way up. Do not wait to reach the top. You will miss the beauty around you.
  7. Keep your head on but listen to your body. When it’s coming to 11:00 a.m and you have been climbing that giant since 5:00 a.m, the slope down is almost as difficult as the climb upwards. Your mind and your body will detach from each other. Your body, as it sits on the floor of the forest, will ask your mind, “What happens when you can’t walk for a month after this? Did you really think you would use these untrained muscles to walk four kilometres on an uphill climb?”
  8. Be content. Even if you do not get to the top, be grateful; for the idea, for the trial, for the chance. There could be a next time, and next time you will know what to expect.
  9. Take a picture at the first high altitude you reach. After all, it is 3,116 metres above sea level. Smile, you could be in the middle of your own marriage proposal.
  10. There is a reason why everyone around you came for this trip. The reason was you.