The Reason….

Christmas!  Yes, Christmas is here! I had a Christmas related whatsapp status by 1st November and some people who shall not be named had a few not-so-kind-words for me. I have been on the low since then but it is time to go all out. I’m back! 😀

While this season’s real message is often lost in translation, I am still an ‘old skool’ believer. As if the universe wanted to test my zeal, it surrounded me with mostly indifferent people.

From solo purchasing of gifts to forcing a Christmas tree upon unsuspecting folks, it is safe to say, *breaks into song* We shall overcome some day…….

Growing up, no one really asked what you wanted for Christmas. (Depending on where you grew up) If the financial situation was good, you got a dress, suit or shoes. Luckily, you were almost always guaranteed a special meal. That is more than many children, worldwide can expect on Christmas or any other day for that matter.

My fondest memories are of Christmas holidays when we left town as a family and enjoyed the great outdoors. No smart phones or satellite television, just good old fashioned bonding. I recommend it for everyone, especially those with young families. No matter how much (or little) you save up, there are options. You can always start with a simple trip to Uganda wildlife Education Centre (formerly known as the zoo) and gradually save for more exciting trips in Uganda and beyond.

Lucky for me, for the past three years, Christmas has had even more meaning thanks to the birth of 40-40. I don’t have to wait for ‘Santa’ to raise my spirits because there are so many worthy people to give and lots to be thankful for!

Over that period, we have had presents for children who truly deserve them.

I still squeal when I receive a gift so I can imagine how much more it means for a child especially one without a family to go home to.

The first time we did this circa 2012, we wrapped over 100 gifts. That was one long night! Imagine the shock when we arrived and suddenly ‘new children’ who hadn’t been planned for showed up? Panic! We had to figure out something and I will just say, it was no easy feat. *hands on head*

We ask the children to give us their dream presents and then we make their dreams come true. So far, none has asked for a car, bicycle or IPhone so you are in luck!

This year, we have so many ways in which you can be part of our #BeSanta Bonanza

  1. Participate in Kampala Cocktail Week. Have fun with friends over a cocktail or mocktail and our children will get to receive the gift their heart truly desires.

 

 

4040 CW Web

  1. Visit our website to purchase any of the items on sale. Alternatively, call us up if you have any new or gently used items that someone else would buy. We shall sell everything and use the proceeds to buy the children’s gifts

 

  1. Contribute to a gift or two by sending mobile money to 0702717689 or 0782993311. You can even buy the actual gift, but you have to let us know in advance so that we avoid double purchases (We could just give that one several gifts but some will have more than others, we don’t want that)be santa

 

These children want basic things that many or us do not even think twice about. It’s pretty heart-breaking. From 18 year old Laila who wants bed sheets, possibly the first pair that shall be ‘her own,’ to 10 year old Bizmark who wants a belt. *Just a belt!*

 

Other gifts include, scientific calculators (this is more academic than anything but they probably figured why not use the opportunity) shoes, dresses, dolls for the little ones, metallic cases and school bags. Little Nelson wants a watch with an alarm! I imagine he means the digital ones.

All I ask, is that you help us make these children smile.

 

The Christmas party shall be held on Saturday,12th December in Bombo. On the same day, we shall officially open the girl’s dormitory . *shriek*Please book your seat. Transport and lunch will be on us. Honestly, the more the merrier because we simply want to celebrate with everyone.

Elohim artistic impression

 

 

P.S: This is how 4040 is spending their Christmas but I am certain there are people even in your own lives who have nowhere to go or food to eat. Even an act as ‘simple’ as forgiveness might be all you/they need this Christmas.

Whether it is decorating the cancer/maternity/children’s ward of a hospital, visiting prisoners or the elderly…just do something.

 

I have heard it said many times “But how can I do something so small, for just one person when so many are suffering?” <or something to that effect>
I believe one smile that you are responsible for is ‘enough.’ Imagine how much would be accomplished if everyone did something for just one person?

 

Okay, I am done ‘preaching,’ I just needed to infect some more people with all the happy thoughts,feelings and melodies floating about in my little.

 

All I want for Christmas is a little more love we all have the power to make it happen. Whatever your reason is this year, no matter what you believe, let this December be different.

Have a glorious December and Happy Holidays 🙂

 

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Little joys

Time check 17:40. I can’t believe this day is actually coming to an end!

We are a little over two weeks into November and my goodness, what a month! I will save you the details and focus on the past few days.

I have been battling insomnia for a while now. I honestly can’t remember a time when I had 8 hours of sleep. Thanks to my predicament, I appreciate rest more than the average person. I respect people’s sleep because I know exactly what it means to live without it.

The past few weeks have been worse than usual. I am now averaging 1-2 hours no matter how tired I am. Whether I have been working my brain or my body for hours on end, my eyes shall refuse to shut. When they do, the brain will refuse to become inactive. The result is a bed that hardly serves its purpose and a system that is akin to a Zombie’s.

Recently after failing to sleep, I thanked God that I wasn’t in pain at least. Imagine that combination. Must.find.the.silver.lining.

So, last night as I worked on an assignment, the universe connived with my data to run out at 11:50 despite a deadline I had to beat. Additionally, I had spent 80,000 in two weeks on internet that just kept  disappearing when I most needed it. I cringed!

I soon remembered that I could buy a night shift bundle and tether my phone. Oh the glee! I quickly worked. At 2.30 a.m, my system failed. I could watch the video but not decipher the words. I could read but nothing made sense. What could be worse? I was still unable to sleep. Earlier in the day, I had called my doctor friend and asked him to prescribe a drug that was strong and could give me a quick fix. “All I need is some sleep, any sleep,” I begged. He wore his professional hat and instead recommended another doctor. All I wanted was sleep. *Sigh*

I was out of bed by 5 a.m, internet zero, brain alert, magical sound of  raindrops. Perfect weather to sleep, right?

I was ready to leave the house by 7 a.m and look for a place to work as I figured out what to do with all the future assignments. I decided to clean as distraction to my heavy heart. The rain continued for a while and I decided to stay home till my meeting, whether the rain had yielded or not.

Upon arrival at the coffee shop, I quickly realised their internet was also not as fast. The buffering would mean I would not be able to do much work. The meeting was short. I peered over my shoulder and noticed an acquaintance sitting not far from me. When I gave a brief of my predicament, she let me log on to her wireless internet. How kind!

It wasn’t long before it got messy too. The hour long sessions on video would get to 20 minutes, black out and require a complete start over. I was devastated. I could not binge on anymore tea because tea in this city is more expensive than imported alcohol *dollar yalinya* even when I know I could have flasks on end at home. <Is this why people fail to leave power and accumulate embezzled funds? Is it because they remember their past hustle and think never again?>

I digress.

I decided to read the notes that could withstand unstable internet. If I fail, what reason will I give? I am from a third world country? I think not.

I ignored all phone calls. I couldn’t know if it was good or bad news and honestly I feared I would snap at either. It was easier to stay away from any other unknown situations

It was then that my angel walked in. Someone whom I met a few weeks ago.I don’t even have her phone number and the second time we meet, she simply saves my day.

She had lunch as I had ‘kaboozi (conversation) I decided to rant. After all, It seems much easier to speak to someone you don’t know well about certain things. The worst she can do is ignore me the next time we meet so I did not have much to lose.

She ate. I talked. She spoke. I talked some more. We shared experiences, including about how worry will not solve anything. Yes, I said those words even as I worried! *Do as I say not as I do*

We laughed. Oh laughter, I missed you!

I forgot that I was hungry,tired and devastated.

Before she left, she suggested I go to her office and get my work done. The coward in me was already asking if her workmates would scold her for it instead of jumping at the offer in a heartbeat. She assured me it was okay and their internet would probably not disappoint me.

As I type this, I have successfully completed the lecture and downloaded 3 hours of another one that I can attend to tonight. I can even go by the 4040 meeting for a bit before my trek back to reality. How cool is that?!

I have just realised I last had a meal in the morning and that many of the troubles that existed before this still do but that’s farrrrr besides the point. I got the work done! Yaay!

I am not too sure about tomorrow but I am sure about right now and about God’s impeccable timing. He sent me this angel right when I needed her.

Meanwhile, I can’t thank her enough.

Trust me to make an essay out what was meant to be a short tale. *shakes head*

BYE!

time for

 

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

This is probably the most excited I have been about writing a blog post! Perhaps it is because I don’t have to write much, or maybe the fact that it is something close to my heart. Either way. I can’t wait to share!

When I read the book Lean in, by Sheryl Sandberg at the beginning of this year, I found myself taking notes, nodding and generally falling in love with the brain of this woman. It is not that what she was ‘saying’ was new, more like she had evidence to back what I felt, what several women have felt for generations.

We are often afraid to risk, to lean in, to take positions of leadership. I mean some of us cannot even take a simple compliment! I can’t count the number of times I have been asked to write a brief about myself, a personal statement or just a simple cover letter and gone numb. I start looking around for someone who can help me describe myself! It is a bit ludicrous when you think about it but it is true. Ask me to point out good qualities about my loved ones, and I can go all day. If you can relate to this, fear not. You are not alone. If you can’t, good for you. You survived the bug!

Do you love your job or is it what your family expects of you, what society finds acceptable? Are you happy in your relationship or afraid to let go because ‘what if I don’t fine someone else?’ These are some of the questions I would like you to contemplate as you go along.

what would you do 1

Please watch this speech by Sheryl, as she talks to these graduates about leaning in and the real world to catch my drift.

I asked a few ladies what they would do if they weren’t afraid. It was so funny because some gave me 431 follow up questions, others told me to give them time to edit their pictures while some were even more excited than I was. Can I just say a quick shout out to technology for making it all that much more bearable?

Some ladies shared about career, what they should have done way back or what they can still do. One even had a complete ‘how to’ guide :D. See for yourself

 

Kyarikunda

Dru

ritah

Sharon

Pesh

 

shunkunu

 

Gloria

A few women have dreams that they are yet to chase, talents they have’t fully exploited, plans to do more with their time, pursue another degree, start a program..Do you fall under this category?

Esteri

Damalie

Karungi

Hannah

Kemmy

Carolyne

Is it a character trait you can’t seem to shake off, does society often determine how you act or feel, are you unable to forgive,is there something you want to say but are too afraid to?

Kamara

Celine

 

E

Violet

Laura

Felicia

I must say, this exercise got me thinking. I think I am going to just pack a little bag and run away after clicking ‘upload’….if I wasn’t too afraid.

I have a sticker on my wall. It reads “Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow.”

I hope that you who is reading this can try again tomorrow, that you can face your fear. The worst that could happen is that you will fail and guess what, failure is for mortals like us!

P.s: If you would like to take part in my ‘what if you weren’t afraid challenge,’ send me an email here.

A huge thank you to the ladies who participated, bearing my incessant reminders and letting me share a part of you with ‘the world.’

what would you do 2

Sunday Morning

Sunday had always been Momma’s favourite day. She’d get up early, make breakfast and lunch then doll herself up for church. Martha needed only an hour to get ready so they could take the short drive to their ‘home church.” Martha liked to find new ways to tell her mother she looked good, she was a walking thesaurus. Ravishing, gorgeous, exquisite,stunning….Momma would instantly have the widest grin on her face each time she heard the compliments.

Depending on her mood, she would turn around and strike a pose..or simply ask “Aren’t you used by now?” They would both laugh and head out.

 

silhouette of mother kissing her daughter
Sunday had unexpectedly turned into a painful reminder of what things used to be. Martha dreaded it as much as she now resented God. How could he break her rock,her best friend, her genuine piece of happiness? Her cheerful momma had transformed into a shell of her former self in an instant.
Martha could vividly remember that evening. She had returned from work to find her mother coiled up on the couch, with puffy eyes and a stack of handkerchiefs. “What happened momma?” she yelled, louder than she’d expected. Momma seemed unable to make eye contact, her crestfallen face speaking louder than words. “I have ccckkkkk….” Was all she could muster before she broke down. Martha hugged her tight, trying to figure out what she was trying to say, hoping they would figure it out whatever it was. She could not remember the last time she had seen her mother like this. A part of her did not want to know what she was trying to say. After what seemed like ages, momma looked up and whispered, “the doctor says it’s cancer.”
Silence.
Tears started to roll down Martha’s cheeks. She opened her mouth but failed to make a sound. A million thoughts run through her head as she subconsciously dug her fingers into momma’s back. It was only after momma let out a soft moan that she noticed and put her arms around her neck instead. It was the longest night in her 25 years of existence.
********
Why were the chemotherapy sessions on Sunday anyway? Couldn’t the universe at least give them a break on this day of all days?, Martha often thought. Momma was now bald and weighed much less. She had aged rapidly  in this past year. The cancer took more than just her hair and weight though, it had stolen her spirit. That bit killed Martha more than the pain and financial struggles. She wanted her mommy back.
On the good days they took walks and talked animatedly, almost like old times.

Momma had noticed her oncologist’s left hand on one of their visits, always with her attention to details. There was no wedding band. On one of their routine checks,recently, she had turned to him and casually asked “Do you think my daughter is beautiful?” He’d been perusing through her file and it dropped immediately. He quickly picked it up, completely flustered and seemingly unable to respond. “Mom!” Martha exclaimed. “What? It is just a simple question,” momma stubbornly replied. The poor Doctor stood there unsure what to do next. “Well, this little girl of mine is single and it would be nice if you could both grab coffees sometime, you work too hard.” The tall, dark Doctor finally spoke. He turned in Martha’s direction and smiled, “I am game if you are.” He mumbled some excuse and hurriedly left the room.
They both burst out laughing when he left. Despite the awkwardness of the situation, Martha had missed her mom’s from-the-core-of-the-heart-laughter. She tried, albeit unsuccessfully, to remember the last time they had shared a moment like this.
It was in that instant that she decided she would stop blaming God or anyone else for their situation. If her single mother could give her the enviable life she had lived, the least she could do was give her beautiful memories in her time of need. Things had to change if she was to get her best friend back. Not to mention, Doctor Otim was not bad looking either 😉
Sunday mornings would not be the same, they would be better.