Lessons for 'would-be' Successful Entrepreneurs
By Ernest L. Molua
By Ernest L. Molua
The ascension on the Chariots of the Gods by Cameroon's most daring men and women in February 2007, separated the men from the boys and girls from women. In the male category, Januarius Bongkiyuy emerged as winner in the category. In the female category, Ngwang Catherine occupied the first position. Expectations were high on the possibility of Sarah Liengu Etonge conquering the mountain for the 9th time. This never happened. She raced up the mountain passing her unveiled statue at the Buea Station Roundabout, and returned five hours later, tired and worn-out in a less prestigious fifth position, though she beat some males to obscurity. Sarah Liengu Etonge, seven times winner of the Mount Cameroon race, her skills in running, ascending and descending mountains, especially Mount Cameroon (4095 m above sea level) is comparable to none in Africa.
When Professor Emeritus Dr Lydia Luma, President of the Cameroon Education Corporation (CEC), Retired Dean of the Faculty of Education of the University of Buea, Cameroon, performed the conferment of the Honorary Doctorate Degree to Mrs Sarah Liengu Etonge on behalf of the CEC, it was a recognition not because she has mastered the science of climbing and descending mountains, but she has taught Cameroonians lessons of endurance, competitiveness, vision and determination to conquer, despite all odds. To be seven times winner of the Mount Cameroon race is a phenomenal achievement. In fact, to actively compete and endure the treacherous paths and threatening dark valleys of Mount Cameroon, in order to win the Mount Cameroon Race for the seventh time at the age of 40, is phenomenal. Competing and winning as a mother of seven children is even more remarkable.
Mrs Sarah Liengu Etonge is the mountaineering guru of our time and without doubt the 'Queen of the Mountain', whose exploits teaches us the broad virtues of sports. The first is endurance or staying power. We all need endurance to succeed in school, in college, in the university, in our work and in our businesses. Endurance is the ability to stay on despite the odds and adversities. Many people lack this staying power. Many of us lack endurance. The lack of endurance and determination partly explains why we fail as a people and as a nation. We lack patience and endurance. The second benefit is acquiring the winner spirit. To train we require sessions of varying workload. By accomplishing our set workload in our sports objective, allows us to build a daring ability and enhance the winner spirit. To sustain each training session, there is more of psychological work involved than the physical effort. This is true because the feeling of tiredness weakens the flesh. Continuation is propelled only from within, as the mind encourages the sportsman not to relent.
Through endurance, the sportsman produces the physical resources needed to go through. Regular practice develops endurance. Sarah Etonge practices regularly, and she endures the tough regime required to win. It is this same spirit of endurance that the political leader and entrepreneur require to carry ideas to fruition and achieve set goals and realize personal and national dreams. The courage to work hard and succeed in life depends on the power of endurance we can generate. New ideas on how to stay on, not to relent, not to surrender and to remain committed to the success of the operation are borne by endurance and winner spirit. The achievements of Sarah Liengu Etonge epitomize these virtues.
In the course of the decade, we have witnessed and watched Sarah Liengu Etonge ascend the mount Cameroon. In the chilly cold mornings of February in the midst of fierce competitors we watch Sarah disappear into the bushes at Upper Farms into the Wilderness of Mount Cameroon. On every occasion that she runs past us, we notice the tall slim figure of an athlete of immense determination and will-power. Her steps convey an important message: "problems to her are viewed as promotions, crises as opportunities, obstacles as miracles, set-backs as set-ups for comebacks."
Sarah's passion for her mission is like fire that cannot be frozen. This is a lesson for us all. Show me a mountain that no one can climb; show me an impossibility that no one dares for; show me a river that no one can cross; show me a valley that no one can skip over; and I will show you a woman of passion who advance when others retreat, who believes when others doubt, who runs when others walk and who skips over valleys when men surrender. In life we have three categories of people: Those who make things happen; those who watch things happen; and those who criticise happenings. Sarah Liengu Etonge is an active participant who make things happen. In conquering Mount Cameroon and in other athletic events in and out of Cameroon, Sarah Liengu Etonge advances when ordinary men retreat, she stands up when ordinary men fall, she runs when ordinary men walk, she believes when others doubt; she dares when others hide in fear; she appears when others disappear.
The Etonge winning theory of mountaineering posits that "when one is focused and determined, then nothing is impossible. When one is daring and competitive then even heights of 4000 metres above sea level can be conquered in 400 minutes! When one is fearless then one can take not only the bull by the horns, but one can overcome the valleys, giant rocks and boulders in our path of success converting them to bridges and stepping stones, and laziness and idleness can be trampled underfoot." Mrs Sarah Liengu's tantalising exploits on the lava oozing Mount Cameroon teaches us that a journey of a thousand miles always begins with a simple jugging step. For young Cameroonians the first step to success is to go to school, stay in school and hang on there cracking your brain to get an education. For adult Cameroonians, the first step to success and rising from scratch to fame is through passion and enthusiasm, loving all that you do, for nothing great has ever been achieved without passion and enthusiasm. Congratulations to Sarah Liengu Etonge. She has set a magnificent example.
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