Mike fell on the soft snow, breathing heavily, aware of the pitiful stares around him.
He slowly lifted his head. He could see the Kilimanjaro’s Uhuru summit. Though it seemed so near, he knew it would take a long time to reach its top.
He could see the other climbers moving ahead towards the summit. After all, they had all their limbs to help them do this. Mike could no longer bear the searing pain in his left leg – his only leg!
He struggled to hold on to his crutches using his fingers that had turned numb from the now cold African air.
‘Quit!’ every joint of his body screamed. He mustered all his strength and stood up shakily, unsure of which direction his next step should be. Up or down? He closed his eyes warily.
He thought of the road accident that had taken his leg away and had left him battling for his life. He thought of the many months he had spent recuperating, learning to walk on a single leg. He could have quit then. But he hadn’t.
‘NO’, he said to himself. ‘I won’t quit now either. I’ll rather take a few hundred tough steps towards the top rather than take many thousand easy steps towards the bottom’. He started taking one painful step before another painful step.
When he finally placed his leg on the summit, he bent down and kissed the mountain. ‘Thank you for teaching me not to quit’, he said.