Nike Ohonme is one young woman on a mission to help change the world. This summer she was the only black millennial woman to hike Mt Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain during a mission trip hosted by Samaritan’s Feet, a nonprofit humanitarian aid organization.
Right before their trip Nike and Samaritans Feet served 500 local community members, including an orphanage and a porter association (men who carry hikers gear up the mountain) by washing their feet and distributing the World Shoe created by Samaritan’s Feet.
The mission hike was in celebration of the 15-year anniversary of Samaritan’s Feet. Their mission is to serve and inspire hope in children by providing shoes as the foundation to a spiritual and healthy life resulting in the advancement of education and economic opportunities. Approximately 767 million people live in poverty and are unable to afford life necessities, including shoes. To date, the organization has provided pairs of shoes to nearly seven million children in more than 90 nations.
Check out what Nike had to say…
Tell me a little about Samaritans Feet and how you are involved?
Nike: I got involved with Samaritan’s Feet right at the beginning, my parents felt called to move away from their corporate jobs to move into a non-profit work/ministry. At first, there was no choice because this was family business, but now, it’s an honor to serve with Samaritan’s Feet.
How did you get the opportunity to go on the mission trip to Mt. Kilimanjaro? How did it come about?
Nike: My dad (Manny) called me one day and said, “we’re climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro.” I said “Ok, I’m in.” Knowing my dad is a dreamer, I didn’t think much of it. But I’m an adventurous soul so secretly I was hoping it was really happening. Lucky for me it was and this was a great way to celebrate Samaritan Feet’s 15th year of life.
Were there any moments when you were scared and how did you overcome it?
Nike: There weren’t any moments where I was scared so-to-speak, more or less exhausted and overwhelmed by the magnitude of what we were doing. And when that happened, I prayed, gave myself a good “Come on Nike, you can do it, get over it and keep moving,” pep talk. I think the team had a huge role to play, it was 7 of us so we had plenty of time to get to know each other, especially our strengths and weaknesses. It felt as if we just knew when another teammate needed some encouragement. That kept me going also.
What life lessons did you learn from your experience? How did you grow from it?
Nike: Learned it’s okay, you can just be. You don’t have to strive, or try so hard, just be yourself. You’ll be loved and accepted by people who truly know how to celebrate imperfection and want you to succeed. I also learned there’s a time to be still, not overthink or think of the next thing – but; that there is also a time to push. your body and mind can endure a lot, it’s capable of much more than we give it access and freedom to explore.
What types of things did you and your team have to do to prepare to hike Africa’s largest mountain and what challenges came about?
Nike: We were such a diverse group spanning from mid 20’s to mid 60’s and we came from all walks of life to take on his trek. So, we learned everyone trained differently, some hiked, some ran, some biked/cycled, some weight trained, I think a good mix of all of these are helpful to succeed. While in my opinion everyone took the trek like champions, we underestimated mental toughness, and how important it is.
Now that you have achieved this great feat, what’s next for you?
Nike: I’m not sure what next feat I’ll work to conquer. I think the next this is taking what I’ve learned from this experience and pouring time and energy into my community. I want to love people harder, pursue work a little deeper and make the company I work for better. I want to fight social injustice a little louder, show grace and mercy a little easier the way it’s been shown to be, by the grace of God. I think those small things will spark my next “big thing” and if not, I’ll just continue to live each day as if it’s one big mountain trek.
Any advice for millennials that are reaching for their dreams or preparing for a big change in their life?
Nike: I would say stay true to yourself, push a little harder and deeper. Pursue things your passionate about, be a smart decision maker. It’s okay to be impulsive, but there is wisdom and maturity in planning and details. There is a time and place for everything. Be involved in your community and do your research on politics. Please don’t be that millennial that “just isn’t into politics or doesn’t care or pay attention.”
Is there anything else you would like to share with our Prevailing Beauties?
Nike: I just think it’s important to love yourself, comparison kills compassion. It’s easy to forget who we are when we get caught up in the little things. Be healthy, be kind, and speak your truth. Always.