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