Tell us a bit about you -- your story, how you are “on the RISE”
My name is Manoah Ainuu. I’m half Ethiopian and half Samoan. My mother was born in Ethiopia and moved to the U.S. after meeting and marrying my father after a missions trip in Kenya. Our family’s story is built on traveling and migrating. My parents, Layne and Almaz, built out our family after moving to California. My dad’s side has a strongly Mormon background through my late grandmother and a Samoan Christian background through my late grandfather. Samoan families are very large, part of which can be attributed to religious and cultural backgrounds. I was born in Harbor City, and grew up in Carson (South Central Los Angeles) for the first 9 years of my life. My family then moved away from our large, closely knit family to Spokane, Washington. This move was a shock to say the least. A lot of good and bad came out of the move, as things usually do. Better schools, a community connected to the outdoors, safer neighborhoods—less diversity, no family, blatant racism. Our new home was the beginning of living my life “on the RISE”.
How did you end up doing what you do?
My sister and I were introduced to skiing from our dad. Spokane has 4 ski resorts within 2 hours. This was the beginning of my love and need for time outdoors. During the last few years of high school, I would buy a season pass to Schweitzer in Idaho and ski as often as possible. My passion for skiing ensued a move to Bozeman, Montana for college (and the killer super light powder). Bozeman is a mecca for anything outdoors: Skiing, climbing, biking, hiking, trail running, backpacking, etc... I eventually discovered climbing, more than the handful of times my high school friends took me out. I would climb on the campus gym any chance I had. By Sophomore year, 2014, I started climbing to improve at the local climbing gym Spire. I was lead climbing sport by 2015, trad (crack climbing) by 2016, and ice by 2017. Climbing, inherently, can be a selfish sport/endeavor. Long trips, time away from loved ones, risk management, serious injuries, imperfect priorities all come into play.
Tell us about some of your earlier challenges
I met my future wife during the summer of 2016. She reflects the definition of love. I was just starting to feel confident and knowledgeable to climb in most places and pursue bigger objectives. Somehow, I was blind to see that her love for me, and my love for climbing clashed with the way I was prioritizing it over her. I would go on last minute trips and neglect spending time outside doing what she loves (hiking, backpacking, painting, climbing without the timer on). She would graciously offer to come out climbing with me just to spend time with me, even though she was still new and anxious about climbing and the elitist culture surrounding it.
Fast forward a couple years. I proposed to my better half. I started to see how my priorities are off and the true value of life and climbing. It’s not about goals nor achievements nor a new big cliff climbed. It’s about the emotions, feelings, experiences of those great things shared with people we love. I started caring less about my performance in climbing and caring more about the people, friends, and family I have the blessing of sharing the experiences of climbing with. I started to be “on the RISE” with relationships and showing love better. Now that my wife and I have been married for 2 years, 5 months, my priority is always her. If something while out climbing doesn’t feel right or safe, I have no qualms turning around and going home to her loving arms. A younger and more foolish Manoah definitely would have had qualms.
Tell us a bit about how you know RISE, how you integrate RISE into your life, what you’d recommend to friends about it -- we’re open!
We recently moved into a new house around March 2020. We were finally leaving basement units and roommates/housemates/landlords for our own single-family home. The last place we lived took a lot from us and was very draining. While we were packing up our things, Arlen from RISE reached out offering samples of oat milk latte’s as he saw I was vegan. The Oat Milk latte and Early Grey Oat Milk latte helped us crush packing and moving; we loaded everything into the moving truck and into our new garage in one day.
After learning more about RISE and their efforts to change the community through talking to Mia, I was even more excited about the Organic Vegan products. Veganism embodies my beliefs about love and life—its all created equally and should be treated as such. We as humans take so much from our environment, other humans, and especially animals. We extract products and milk from their bodies solely for convenience, flavor, and societal traditions. My wife and I have been using RISE Brewing Co’s Organic Oat Milk for cooking great food in substitute of cow’s milk. The original flavor works great for making sauces, soups, baking sweets and doesn’t leave the body confused about digestion random animals’ milk.
I share my views on life, climbing, consumption and love to anyone willing to listen. This is how I RISE!
With love and kindness,
Manoah Ainuu

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