Learning to Fly

I was about 18 when I got my first driving lesson. I am pretty sure my mind deliberately skipped the process and focused on the ‘end game.’ I was exhilarated knowing that one day I would have the chance to get out on my own, in control of a ‘machine’ unsupervised and ultimately join the adult universe.

When I finally did, the feeling was incomparable. Also, I had wild and free natural hair so with windows down, that wind through the hair effect was massively felt: D

I learnt soon after that I got a huge adrenaline rush from speed.  I also discovered that unless I know my driver well, I am bound to be hitting imaginary brakes whether I am in the front seat of a comfortable luxury car or the back of a stifling bus.

My patience was heavily tested this one time on the way from Gulu when the driver decided to give us a free late night show. “How to react when faced with a near-death experience.” Had I not been too busy saying one prayer after another, I am sure I would have walked up to him and…Wait. What can you really do to such a person in that moment?

I have been thinking a lot about mobility lately. In another lifetime, perhaps I would consider learning to fly a plane. It would not be for commercial purposes I imagine. Maybe on a boring Saturday, the kids and I could fly to Mbale-just because we can 😉 Anyway, moving on..

In my mind’s eye, I see a toddler learning to walk. If only we could read his mind, would he be thinking “Freedom at last?” or perhaps “Thank goodness I don’t have to be carried all day.” (insert baby language)

It is a precious thing we often overlook really, to be able to get up, walk, run,  do things on your own-you know?

I know a brilliant gentleman who has been paralysed for over a decade now after sadly suffering a stroke. He was soaring high, tremendously successful in his career when it happened.

He has had to re-learn many seemingly ordinary actions and some, he hasn’t. Many of the things he has failed to do are because his soul gave in quicker than his body after that experience. A state of depression has overshadowed any progress he could have made.
Whereas, I can’t begin to grasp the extent of distress him and his family have had to experience- I think we can all relate to loss of someone-a bond-a career- a dream. Name it.

Can you imagine going blind after enjoying sight for so many years? The torture of losing a limb or two and having to watch people take care of you as if you are a child all over again?  This after you were an athlete and your limbs were what you believed defined you? To lose your memory of the things you loved and people you adored? It is utterly terrible

“Fly without wings;
Dream with open eyes;
See in darkness.”

I have to get  used to using only one of my hands for a few days. I decided to think of it as walking a few metres in the shoes of someone who deals with this on a daily (a mile would be quite inaccurate)

My respect for people with disabilities who beat all odds to go on with their lives even when our systems don’t always provide the resources they need keeps increasing.

I recently watched a piece on NTV News about this boy who is sitting for  Uganda Certificate of Education (U.C.E) exams. He is unique because he will be writing with his foot. I was amazed by the beauty of his handwriting but mostly his determination!

He will not be given extra time and shall be expected to finish the examination like everyone else, after 3 hours. He was shown doing other things with his feet, like eating, sipping a soda and using a phone. My heart warmed up in all kinds of ways!

I will certainly be rooting for him!

If you are stuck in a rut or failing to move from one place, it happens.

Take two extra steps daily in preparation for that race. You will soon find that, you will be ready to fly 🙂

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”

 

 

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Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!

I woke up this morning and this is all I could think of. “Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance!’

I quickly sent a text to my friend Ritah and asked her to send me the song ‘Shackles-Mary Mary’ because she is my song bank.. and she did!

I replayed it and it was clear that the lyrics spoke to me just the way I wanted them to.

In the corners of mind
I just can’t seem to find a reason to believe
That I can break free
‘Cause you see I have been down for so long

Feel like the hope is gone
But as I lift my hands, I understand
That I should praise You through my circumstance

Take the shackles off my feet so I can dance
I just wanna praise You
I just wanna praise You

You broke the chains, now I can lift my hands
And I’m gonna praise You
I’m gonna praise You

I have been immobile for seven days, which is a lot for anyone but even more disturbing for a victim of OCD like yours truly.

I have my days, weeks, months planned out but it is true what they say, time certainly doesn’t wait for anyone.

I slowly looked at everything urgent, important, urgent and important and the not so important ones and kept telling myself the next day would be better. When I noticed the universe wasn’t in agreement. I slowly cancelled everything and only maintained the weekend rendezvous’ which I sadly had to miss too.
Last night I received the image of a cake for a do I had helped put together and I could almost hear my tummy yell. ‘Let’s go get that!!’ but well, that didn’t happen.

Having four walls  closing you in can be disturbing. You think of the most random things. I tried not to look at the time, keep offline mostly and away from phone calls under the pretext of bed rest. That meant that I had to use my brain for other things EXCEPT self pity. Not the easiest thing to do under those conditions but well, you fake it till you make it.

And then the 7 days blogging challenge happened! I wished I could take part but I sort of did, as an admirer and appreciator, right? I waited for that hour of the night when sleep would elude me and then I began to follow link after link, read one blog post after another, grinning,frowning,smiling.Name it. It was exciting, not in a ‘I want to scream’ type of way but more like I could-get-used-to this. Could it be that God timed this just for me? To slow down a little and take in everything else that life is about? Good reads, silent meditation and everything in between?

I lay in bed and read every article in the dailies like a curious tourist in a foreign land. I got round to reading some magazines full of celebrity gossip that the mother had got me a while back which I never had time for. They can have a lot of rubbish but a dream outfit here and a holiday destination there never hurt anyone. Oh! some eye candy too. Wait, perhaps I enjoyed this a little too much.

time 1

Whereas I didn’t intend to take time off, and it wasn’t the most painless affair either-I did get time to think about a lot of things.

I even learnt a new word that I have failed fix somewhere in this blog. Wait, now I can’t even remember it :/

Sure I missed some days that I can never recover and I am behind schedule on a few things but hey- there is always a bright side 🙂

There’s no advantage to hurrying through life

So, if the universe doesn’t force you to take time off, like me, you better grab every opportunity you can to stop and actually smell the roses (literally and figuratively)

In the meantime, I shall be getting these shackles off so I can- DANCE!!

xx

Cheers to the future

A couple of weeks ago, I started a new year, a new chapter in my life.

Unlike past birthdays, this was the first one where my mindset switched from “Where did all the years go?” to “I cannot wait for what the next few years have to offer.”

This past year was also one of growth and maturity (or so I hope) and I have learnt a few things, noticed others that hitherto silently passed me by but mostly I am grateful for  several things that will probably not all be tackled in this post.

Providence, family, friends

I didn’t think that I would quit my job for my passion and I did not know if I would last. I did it anyway..and here we are.

It is one thing to believe in something so much you will give anything for it, it is completely different to have people believe with you.

I have been blessed by God in countless ways but the most important gifts he has sent have come in form of angels that I call my family and friends.

We do not always agree or even pretend to. Many of them saw what could go wrong with my choices, and continue to remind me how precarious it is, but they stay anyway.

What we all deserve is someone/some people who are willing to put their doubts aside and support us, if for anything-just because it is what we need.

 

The will, the drive, the strength to carry on

 

I am not a morning person mostly because I get very little sleep at night and then actually begin to rest just before sunrise so conversations, phone calls, work that start this early often mess with my system and I avoid them when I can.

Nevertheless, I do them anyway. There are t.v interviews I have had to do which involved getting there before 7a.m, appointments with people who have no time besides those early hours and I can’t begin explaining my issues.

So, that boda has to be flagged down and the cold braced. When there, sense has to be made even if you are there only in body.

The rain has showered me from time to time but I think of them as hazards that come with the job.

What is most challenging is the fact that there are no ‘direct results’ and even if they come, they take a while. Unlike the early bird who will get to his stall and  target those heading to work to increase sales, I will talk till I am out of breath, meet everyone I can to sell this dream and the wait. Simply sit tight and wait.

I am grateful for the patience to wait, and to have something that I believe in- to wait upon.

When it comes to strength, even I have no idea where it comes from. Sometimes 36 hour days occur and you can’t explain to an ‘ordinary person’ what it is you were up to, many times not even yourself.

It is funny how people are so quick to judge based on physical appearances.

Big=strong, Small=weak. What is worse is that they openly admit it.

“You are Esther? I didn’t expect you to be so young and this small.”

Me: I had no expectations of what you should look like but that is just me.

The 40/4o team recently participated in the cancer run.The idea was that we stick together whether we have to jog, walk or crawl, and we did. I had not eaten well for the past few days but I didn’t give it much thought. That was until my stomach started to act up after we reached the 5km mark or so. When my friends would say, let us run downhill, I would gesture that I was right behind them but the truth is I was barely managing.

Somehow, I grabbed one of them and told them the truth on one condition- we finished the race no matter what. We did 🙂

I want to say size is not everything but it would be redundant.

The mother’s ‘motoka’ eh!

I learnt how to drive when I was about 18 and I thought at the time it would be a nice skill to have for the ‘future.’

Driving was easy but road users were not. I got so many insults for being ‘mu kintu,‘ coming from the ‘privileged side’ or simply for being young and a woman. This would mostly happen when stuck in traffic especially next to taxi. I started to always have the window up no matter what or pretend not to understand Luganda.

The skill did come in handy! Before long, I was the go to person to pick that relative arriving at 5a.m or drop another to the bus station at 12a.m. Was this the reason driving school fees were paid? Well played.

No but seriously, I did my duties grudgingly but with a lot of love 🙂

Fast forward to the past year, after worrying about her daughter’s late nights and endless meetings, events and appointments, the mother decided to give her blessing. If I was coming late, I needed a trusted chauffeur or her very own car. That is how the ‘small’ woman above ^^ began to worry less about those constant meetings, pick ups, deliveries and for that I am truly grateful!

40-40 registered, complete with an office and bank account

There was a time when Banura and I would have millions of shillings for a particular projects. We could not bank this money in our personal accounts because, you know and then keeping it was also not the best idea.

When your friend in the UK says they have sent 100 pounds, you run to western union and withdraw it. You get to your favourite restaurant and a menu with scrumptious meals is brought before you. You check your wallet and look at the crisp new shillings you got from the exchange and none of them are yours. So you order for mirinda fruity, with ice instead. Don’t ask about the ice, it is a long story.

Those days are now over, no more nightmares about missing funds that were meant for the children. Temptations are fewer.

As`we hunted for banks, one Relationship Manager told us ’40 days over 40 smiles’ sounded like a forged name. That did bite quite a bit, but when I look at our registration certificate,the office, that one dedicated employee and a bank statement- I am more than thankful. Also, I know that this will make for a good story one day 🙂

Sleep/Rest, when it does show up

I am very thankful for the gift of sleep. It might not always be there but when it is- ooh the joy!

Sometimes I wonder if I had a boss what I would say. “Sorry I came in at 11, the sleep only came to me at 6. You understand, right? Thanks”

My schedule can be crazy but at least it is on my terms, okay mostly it is. When I wear myself thin, it is my choice and oh how I cherish the ability to blame myself for my own bad decisions.

I know who I am

The first thing that comes to me is the gospel song “I know who God says I ma, What He says I am, where He says am at, I know who I am.”

When you really know who you are, to the extent that you are not shaken by what people think or say of you, you are walking a fine road.

I can’t pretend to have got to that level,more so when it comes to people I care about being on the ‘other side.’ However I am comfortable in what is within, knowing that it belongs to me and I am in control of it.

Everything else that is external shall come and go with age and time but the soul is eternal.

In William Ernest Henley’s words, “I am the master of my fate,I am the captain of my soul.”

My Mony

This lady right here came to my heart and never left.

When I get out of bed and the folks are already at work, I first find her, ask how her night was and then my day can begin.

We have whined, prayed, sang, shopped and pretty much done everything together.

When she finds me meddling in the kitchen, she will ask what I need and fix it, especially those days when a meal is the last thing on my mind.We have an inside joke that even if you have had a meal at a 5 star Hotel, you will still come home and have at least something.

She has loved my family and I and all those who have walked through our doors. Quite frankly, I do not know what we shall do without her.

For now though, I must maximise her calm, generous and prayerful self 🙂

There are so many things to be thankful for and beautiful lessons that have not come easy but have come nonetheless.

Your dream won’t let you be still

The most used ‘app’ on my phone is the ‘notes’ because there is always a new thought,idea or reminder to make 40-40 better. This is on top of the hundreds of notebooks I own (each with different contents I might add).
You can’t stop. You won’t stop. Once the dream begins to grow, you want everyone to feel the way you do, the adrenaline, the pain,the passion, if not for this dream- then for something else because you can’t imagine anyone living without at least one thing that makes them momentarily insane.

The dreams and nightmares too:P

It is one day to Hoops for Grace. We have planned it for a while and we hope it will be massive.  We can only do our bit. Some people on the team started having dreams about it as far back as last week, sleep is becoming elusive and of course there is that drama from within and without that will always be there.

It is funny when it isn’t sad. I would love for it to work, to show the dedicated people that even a handful of people can make huge impact and that their work did not go to waste.

Mostly, I want it to work because the children at Akiba Foundation need a home that has no sign of cancer except the meds that shall be hidden in shelves.

This Saturday, come to bush court and change a life! If you can’t, feel free to make a donation to the worthy cause.

hoops poster

What goes around comes around

So many incidents come to mind but the one that I have recently been musing over occurred sometime back.

The manager of a restaurant we were having our meetings scolded me for having meetings where our consumption reduces each week. It was in a good location since the office was too far for most people.

I asked him to let us know if he wanted us out because we would do it.

Exactly two weeks after he called me back. I knew my bluff had been called but alas. “I have realised that you are good at mobilising people. Can you help us get more clients using your networks?”

I needed several moments to recover. A few months later, he was no longer employed there. Perhaps he is in a better place:)

As soon as religion comes to dominate, it has as its opponents all those who would have been its first disciples

How true is that? Replace ‘religion’ with any experience you have and see that loyalty is ranks highly on the the world’s ‘endangered species’

I read a story once of a dog that had been going to the cemetery where its master was laid to rest, everyday for years and the caretaker always waited till it had left before closing the gates.

I might not understand people who leave their wealth to animals. However, I imagine after dealing with betrayal from the human race, a loyal dog or cat may not be such  a bad idea.

The strongest people crumble and fall, the most fickle also have their days of victory.

I have learnt that forgiveness is a gift to yourself. I have also seen the power in silence. When you are wrong, admit, and once you see that you are right, save everyone the ‘I told you so.” The person you are telling knows you told them and so do you. ‘Riyalle’ save that breath for like a Uganda Cranes match.

People will give you 2% after you have invested 100% but if it was never about them anyway, then you march away with your head high and your 100% that they may never find anywhere else!

We have digressed but..we go.

The past year was a good one, even in its bad times-it was good.*We are strongest when we are weak* I mean,even the stone that the builders threw away became the cornerstone 🙂

We ought to be as wise as the man who built his house on a rock.

My birthday month is now gone *tear* but I have beautiful memories to last me a lifetime.

Everyone of you who made my day great and the days before or after, you know I love you and I try to show it rather than say it. The real rebeauty though, is in all the years ahead of us.

Every gift,cake,message, song that I got from those that know me well has a story. Those are the stories I want to build on with each and everyone of you, for a lifetime 🙂

cake 1 es

cake 2

 

cake 3

I might add I didn't sit at the front in school but eh!! *breaks into song...meet me at the river*

I might add I didn’t sit at the front in school but eh!! *breaks into song…meet me at the river*

See you at Hoops for Grace on Saturday. I can’t wait for the blog post when I tell you how amazing it was!! 🙂

Xoxo