Story: John Mellor
Magid Mah has astounded all those who know him – at the young age of 20 he has reached the peak of the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro, not only that but he was told he was the first Somali to achieve it! John Mellor spoke to him about his journey…
Magid came to Burngreave from Somalia with his parents and sister in 1994 when he was 4 years old. He was educated at Owler Brook, Whiteways, Fir Vale and Tapton schools before going to Longley Sixth Form College to sit for A-levels in Psychology, Law and Philosophy in 2008. Then Magid decided to take a ‘gap year’ during which he raised his own funding to travel to the Swiss Alps, Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania and its islands, Zanzibar and Mafia, where he swam with dolphins. He then travelled to Germany to run in the Berlin marathon.
In September 2009 he fulfilled his ambition of several years to climb to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (5895m or 19340ft) in Tanzania. The round trip took 6 days, 4 days to get up and 2 days to get back down again. I asked Magid if he had found the climb difficult. He replied:
“It didn’t require specialised climbing skills or equipment but just over half way up I began to suffer from altitude sickness due to the lower atmospheric pressure. This meant I had to go more slowly but I was greatly helped by a good local guide, along with two porters and a cook, all of them were very experienced and had climbed the mountain several times.
“The final climb to the summit on the 4th day took 6 hours, from midnight to 6 am. We spent 20 minutes on the summit in a temperature of –10oC and the amazing view was worth all the effort. After getting back to ground level the park ranger told me that I was the first Somali to reach the summit which was a great achievement”
I asked Magid if this expedition was a ‘one-off’ or if he had plans for any more. He said:
“My aim is to climb the seven summits which consist of the highest mountains in each of the seven continents. The next one on my list is Mt Elbrus in Russia or Mt Aconcagua in Argentina which I would like to attempt as soon as I manage to raise the funds. In the meantime, my interest in scuba diving has led to me starting a degree course in Aquatic Zoology at Hull University.”
I was impressed by Magid’s enthusiasm and determination; I’m sure we shall be hearing more of his future expeditions in the Messenger. He acknowledges that many people have helped him in what he has done in his life so far:
“I have received help and encouragement from family and friends and particularly from Diane Haimeed at the Burngreave after School Study Support Project. I hope that my achievement will encourage other young people in Burngreave to realise ‘the sky is the limit’ if they have the determination to succeed.
“I am currently looking for some sponsors for the next upcoming expedition, so if this is something that may interest you and would like to take part in this great opportunity, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via my mobile: 07704 902 787.”
The Messenger spoke to Diane Haimeed, from Burngreave After School Study Support, who sponsored Magid’s trip:
“I asked Magid to give me a good reason to fund some of his trip, and he told me he wanted to be an inspiration to others. He has definitely done that! He’s done it all on his own, young people can look at what he has achieved and know that they can do anything they set their minds to.”