At the beginning of last week I received an invitation for a three day holiday, out of town, all expenses paid. I’d been talking about seeing more of Uganda and visiting new places for a while. In fact, on more than one occasion, I mentioned travel writing as the next dream to pursue.
Imagine my shock when the one opportunity finally arose and the only thing I could reply was “Sorry, I cannot make it but do have a great trip.” I almost wept after that phone call. My reason? 4040 had an event that weekend and I could not imagine myself bird watching while the rest of my team hustled through all the caos that comes with these events. Two of the colleagues I told were unsupportive of my decision. The first one assured me the show would go on perfectly without me, while the other asked if she could go in my place. Heh! I just replied “It’s not you, it’s me” and ran off.
You know how you plan everything that can go wrong and subconsciously pull together a plan B? Well, most of it just went over and above the expectations.
Before the event, there was some bearable bad News like a sponsor casually pulling out despite a one year agreement. There was no time to even seek closure.
So, on the eve of the event I prayed for the sun to be scorching and God did just that. I did not want to confuse him and ask for any more requests when the heat got unbearable. For that reason, I sweated with no complaints.
The biggest mishap was the food situation. You know how a party isn’t a party with no food? Well, we experienced it first hand. We were a little shocked to see the caterers carry only barbeque grills that morning. However, we were assured the other materials would be brought since our menu had been extensive. So much so that we discouraged other service providers from bringing food since these ones assured us they could do ‘everything.’ Big mistake!
Long story short, the attendees started to starve as the grilled meat could not be ready fast enough. A few left and did not return. Some came back all the same * bless their souls.* In the background, we were calling anyone and everyone asking them to bring anything they could prepare in the shortest time possible. Some showed up, albeit late (who could blame them?) Others didn’t and we could not do much. I found some people leaving and they could not find it in them to tell me the truth so they would just say “We are coming back,” even if we both knew the cause of the situation. You are awesome 🙂
Now, there are people who walk in without a basketball and walk out with one of ours shamelessly. I thought it was difficult to understand those ones. Imagine my shock when I found out someone was caught packing chairs, that aren’t his, in a car at a charity event! You think you have seen it all, then this. Unfortunately, we were late. He had probably already taken some to the ‘drop off point’ earlier. The service providers are yet to give us our bill.
It’s funny how amidst all the hustle and bustle of the event, you have to look out for people with itchy fingers too.
The numbers have been bigger before, that’s for sure. Then again, people have also been fewer.You begin to always expect an upward curve although that cannot always be the case. I smiled when people who had last been to one of our events years ago marvelled at the growth. I certainly wasn’t going to rain on their parade.
Even if you make a projection for Ugx 10 million, and make only half , at the end of the day it was only a projection. Accept it. Move on.
The beauty of each experience, however terrible, is the opportunity to pick out a lesson. I meet people who ask “You mean 4040 is still there..?” I am about to come up with a witty remark similar to President Mugabe who wondered out loud where the people of Zimbabwe were going when asked when he was planning to say goodbye to them.
I remember a meeting we had two and a half years ago, “Ahmed.” who was running an NGO at the time warned us that people would move on and we would find ourselves struggling. He had gone through the same thing. At the time, I must say I believed him. Over time it wasn’t about whether it would happen but when. One must keep on moving, nonetheless, no?
As you can imagine, it is difficult to keep reinventing anything, whether as an individual or an organisation. That doesn’t mean it is impossible though.
I vividly remember mum telling me in the past, “You started it, end it whenever you want,” each time she noticed my frustration. That possibility was there but I do not think it is anymore.
While the easiest option would be to run away and nobody really has the moral authority to convince one otherwise, the eternal optimist in me knows things will get better. In fact, things have to be bad before they can be better.
I know I’m not the only one feeling the things that I’m feeling, whether it’s a new business, job, relationship or any other responsibility. There are many days when what you put in will not have visible output. Do it anyway.
Meanwhile, there’s a good chance that what you’re doing, what we are all doing is doomed to fail. As in, it wasn’t even meant to be in the first place. However, the only way you can find out is to keep at it, trying anything and everything. At the very worst, it will teach you what you do NOT want/need and that’s good enough if you ask me.
At the end of the day, we really have to choose who/what is deserving of our heart, blood, sweat, tears, the whole shebang.
Here I am, doing the absolute best and most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. Nonetheless, I do it and will continue to for as long as I can. I can’t imagine waking up at 40, (or God forbid earlier) wishing I’d done more and knowing I could have. Be small, do little but if it makes you content, I think that is all that should count 🙂
I find myself thinking on end about ways to become a better leader, wondering how we can improve the organisation. What can we do differently? What do we keep, what do we throw out..?
I laugh at myself thinking ‘Which kind of person stakes absolutely everything they have and then just sits back waiting for something to materialise?’ While I’m busy critiquing myself, a relative or acquaintance will ask me as if on cue “So, uh huh, what’s the plan?” Or “When will you stop all this and find a real job?”
I’ll want to share my inner most desires, bare my soul open, utter my deepest thoughts and fears.
Instead, I’ll give the first template response I can think of and quickly change topics. I am always amazed at how we human beings, think we are in better position to figure out everybody else’s right now and even their tomorrow.
You know how single people have the ‘best’ advice for couples and vice versa? It’s quite easy to watch from the side lines and perfectly diagnose then treat a condition, no matter how ignorant.
Even during soccer games, you’ll hear someone say “If only he’d passed the ball sooner..” In more fictitious circumstances, you’ll find yourself ‘telling’ the good guy in the movie “Turn around! They are coming for you” As if he can hear you.
When it comes to real life, we don’t always see the stop sign before our next turn. We have no idea if the business cards we hand out are in a huge dumpster or being saved for a major project. It’s not possible to tell that the guy whose arrogance irked you will become your life partner or that the bossy girl from school will contribute a tenth of her salary to your dream, monthly.
At the end of the day, even taking a bath is a risk. You could slip and break a limb or two but we do it anyway.
Find that which you are willing to put at stake and risk on!