In July 2015, Neha Misra climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, the highest free standing mountain in the world and, at 19,341 feet, Africa's highest point. The climb was to raise awareness of support for Neha’s social enterprise Solar Sister, which is bringing clean energy access to Africa by empowering rural women to bring light, hope and opportunity to their communities. During her ascent, Neha realized that the journey gave her something deeper than the view from the summit. Read the inspirational lessons she took from her experience.
Neha, who is fairly active but doesn't consider herself an extreme athlete, saw climbing Mount Kilimanjaro as an adventurous test. She learned that it's possible to climb a mountain -- real or metaphorical -- if you take it one step at a time.
Aches and pains, altitude sickness and limited sleep pushed Neha out of comfort zone. She confessed, "not taking a bath for seven days—I’ve never ever done that in my life."
"There were times when I’d worry this is too difficult. But somehow if you just focus on the very next step, you can get there. If you keep thinking, I have to walk six hours more, it seems too difficult," says Neha.
"I’d think, did we just walk for four seconds, or has it been four hours?"
A view near the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
It’s been such a transformative experience for Neha. Now, when faced with challenges in her everyday life, she'll say, “I can do it. I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro.”
To Neha, the entire experiences was a “journey in seeing a seemingly insurmountable problem and trying to solve it.”
"I found that if you get too lost looking at the scenery, you might trip. You have to walk carefully, one step at a time, but it is important to pause and look at the scenery, it’s just so breathtakingly beautiful."
Neha Misra and a colleague celebrate their successful summit by raising Solar Sister's flag.
The view of the work that Neha and Solar Sister, according to Neha, is as breathtaking as the view from the summit of Africa's highest point. "At Solar Sister, every day we have to get the work done. There’s so much more to do and we have to focus on each of those steps, but it’s important to pause and remember why we’re doing it," she says.