31

Can you sniff 2017? I know I can. Once I begin inhaling the fragrance of Christmas, the year’s end is often the next thought.

Last night I was at a vigil when the mother called in tears. I could barely make out what she was saying but I quickly figured it was news of another death. I went silent.

It feels like this year, I have attended more funerals than celebrations. When it isn’t a beautiful young soul who was just starting out, it is a parent leaving behind innocent little ones or even ‘unfinished business,’ which I feel like we all have. On top of all the salty seas that have constantly had to dissolve, this anguish has greatly affected how I think, how I feel and how I live. Fortunately, some of the outcomes have been positive.

While I have for the past few years been a great advocate for ‘leave whatever job, relationship or other situation which brings you more sadness than joy,’ my conviction has developed by leaps with each sudden farewell. The fleetingness of life increasingly affects my decisions and I find myself imposing these ideals even on poor unsuspecting victims.

A couple of months ago, I found myself ‘lecturing’ Carol about her choices, giving 150% to a job that only milked her, stole her sense of self-worth and lowered her self- esteem. It was only on my way home that I realised I had only met her once and should probably have found a more neutral topic of discussion, climate change? I shrugged it off as ‘motherly instinct’ and consoled myself in the knowledge that I did it in good faith. Last week she sent me a Facebook message explaining that she had suffered a breakdown and her doctor attributed it to her working environment. Carol has since tendered her resignation.

Unfortunately, many young people I interact with have convinced themselves that they should settle for less. On the surface they seem confident, ambitious, happy, and vivacious even. However, they are in bad relationships because “all women/men are the same.” They work crazy hours for little pay and no potential for growth because “it is the same everywhere.” Sadly for the latter, even I have to advise cautiously because I understand that the unemployment burden is very REAL. I also know that we can’t have passion and dreams for breakfast and dinner.

While it is unlikely that you will love people into changing their world view, it is also important that we support our loved ones. We need to take it upon ourselves to reignite their flame when we realise it is burning out, to have the courage to speak out even when we know the truth will sting.

I know there is a thin line between meddling and some of us might prefer to keep silent and ‘keep the peace’ but in my opinion, that is stealing a portion of what we need to give our loved ones.

 

What would you have loved to see/hear when you were younger? Did you (not) have someone holding your hand and showing you direction? Did their presence, or lack thereof affect the person you are today?

What happens when our would-be mentors in the work place are the biggest source of negative energy? What is the expected outcome when our parents tell us we are worthless and/or compare us to siblings/other families without giving us a chance to shine in whichever path we have chosen? Where do we turn when our partners, our friends who were meant to be our biggest cheerleaders become the greatest source of darkness?

Hurt people, hurt people. Can we think about this the next time we inflict pain on others or feel like we too have been wounded?

Many a time we go through life like we are immortal, other times, like we are untouchable. Once in a while, we acknowledge that we might be gone tomorrow but quickly forget and go back to our old ways. I know how guilty I am of this. While we don’t know the day or hour when we shall say goodbye, we do know what makes our hearts smile. We know what it feels like to be broken, betrayed, unloved, alone, forgotten, alienated..ashamed. It is because we know and have felt all this that we should not inflict such pain on others, and yet we still do.

dessert

The year seems like it is already over but in reality we have plenty of time. 31 days.

31 days to

love yourself

pamper yourself

remember yourself

teach yourself

31 days to love others, unashamedly-

31 days to say

I am sorry

I was wrong

I forgive you

I will change <and mean it>

31 days to let go,

Of that which steals your light and shine

31 days to chase

That which brings you joy, even if you don’t catch it <now>

31 days to be that person whom you wish you had in your life.

 

I can’t promise what the outcome will be, but I hope it will help you with a fresh start, or better still, a happier journey that will flow into the new year.

Xx

 

fear

 

 

 

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I know who I am

For the past couple of weeks, I have been waking up with different songs in my head,constantly; anything from the 90’s to an old hymn. I usually find myself singing or humming for the rest of the day and when my brain is really in overdrive, I question the lyrics word for word. *Do not try this at home*

Today, I started by humming “I know who I am” and it kept ringing in my head. I decided not to give up an opportunity to get up and wiggle in the name of the Lord so I played it on loud speaker and got up to shake it off. It felt good, no it felt great!

How powerful are these words though?!

We are a chosen generation
Called forth to show His excellence
All I require for life, God has given me
And I know who I am

I know who God says I am
What He says I am
Where He says I’m at
I know who I am

I’m walking in power,
I’m walking miracles
I live a life of favor,
‘Cause I know who I am

Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I know who I am

I am holy, I am righteous oh…
I am so rich, I am beautiful

I’m walking in power,
I’m walking miracles
I live a life of favour,
‘Cause I know who I am

Take a look at me, I’m a wonder
It doesn’t matter what you see now
Can you see His glory?
‘Cause I know who I am

Oh oh oh, oh oh oh
I know who I am

Did you believe them as you read/sang? I know a thing or two about feeling the exact opposite of what the song is telling us to do. What if you don’t know who you are? What if you don’t think you are such a wonder, who is beautiful and living a life of favour? Well, the truth is you are and that you don’t believe it is what we need to work on:)
Sometimes you need to convince your brain/ heart even when it is difficult. I feel like this is the only thing I have been trying to do ALL year <not melodramatic at all,yes? :p> When I take a break from doing it in my life, I try to ‘infect’ the next victim. I really do believe those ‘cliches’ about finding happiness from within, teaching yourself to be positive *etc* can’t all possibly be wrong. We take what is applicable and leave the rest, oui?
I certainly feel pumped up after singing such a positive song or reflecting on a positive message. I don’t know what works for you but if it is, sticky notes on your wall, computer, wall paper, videos or even hanging around positive people, do it, whatever it takes. You owe yourself at least one smile a day (100 would be great too!)
A few things happened to me in this regard, yesterday that I thought I’d share.
First, I received a call from a friend who was reeking of positive vibes. Luckily, she called in the morning so it set the pace. The more we spoke, the happier I felt.
After the call, I decided to watch one TED talk before going on about my day. The one message I can’t get out of my head is “Don’t fake it till you make it, fake it till you become it.” I urge you to watch this for further context. It explains how our body language can shape who we are. I actually found myself subconsciously practicing it. What surprised me even more, was that a couple of hours later, I was faced with a potentially stressful situation together with a friend. We were already dealing with much more pressure so I asked her to walk away with me, and we did. A few minutes later she remarked ” I would still be panicking if you had not been here.”  I smiled. A cocktail of  interrelated events had unfolded for this result.
 Whether you don’t know ‘who you are,’ or you can’t figure out how to get to point B; ‘hoping for the best’ is not a strategy, allow yourself to take little steps even if it is just steps to acceptance/ dealing with the situation and not necessarily solving it completely. Love yourself enough to give yourself time. Probably a tad simplistic but like I said, whatever it takes.

P.s: Dancing helps too so if you can sneak a few minutes of it in, just dance!
Heeeeey Macarena, AAAhAA! 😀
macarena

You win some. You lose some

During the month of World Cup, there was no avoiding it. Whether you were a fan or hater, it followed you in one way or another.

The fans have probably recovered by now while those who couldn’t wait for it to end are thinking “What was the fuss anyway?”

Football has a way of revealing emotions in an admirable manner. The raw energy, excitement and heartbreak can be a sight for sore eyes. For some people, it is either a win or loss but even a curious observer like me knows that it is worth much more. The joy of seeing an underdog excel as the mighty fall (at least for me) or just watching your favourites get better and better can be gratifying.

The finesse, the stolen hearts, the adrenaline rush-all of it makes for proof that this seemingly simple sport holds a lot more than meets the eye. I am a firm believer in lessons from pretty much anything. As dark as it may sound, loss can be good for you. Perhaps it would not have been wise to say this to a player from Brazil after the 7-1 loss to Germany but well, when it is all over- you look back and start to see it. If you are lucky, it teaches you something to prepare you for the future.

That is the most I shall ever attempt to write about soccer so let me dig right into why I actually wrote this. Losses or wins, in my life that hold a lot more than meets the eye.

“Sometimes not getting what you want is a brilliant stroke of luck.”

Before 40-40  ever had office space, awards or beneficiaries, we had a dream. However, we needed space in which to sit together and throw ideas to make this dream come true. Everyone had a job or was looking for one so we set aside one evening weekly to meet and plan, you know make sense of this dream.

The first space was too small. The numbers were a bit scary even for me. To get to the bigger space enough to accommodate these numbers, we needed to pay a certain amount the next time we came. We did not return.

The next week we moved to a more spacious restaurant that had a ‘laissez- faire’ feel to it. No one really complained about our numbers, in fact the waiters and waitresses became friends. We knew them by name and they knew our orders by heart.

It was win-win.

For one year, we met there first every Tuesday and then every switched to Thursdays.(because some of our team members had lectures) We had no qualms until one ‘fine’ Thursday when the manager of the establishment decided to show us his true wrath. It was so sad that it was funny.

He told us we were too loud yet his other clients had come to enjoy silence. He showed us these clients, a table of about 10 girls in their late teens/early twenties. They were anything but quiet but hey, what do I know. He assured us that his rent was in dollars (is 300$ ‘greater than’ 300 million UGX? He didn’t specify how many dollars so I am just asking) Many unkind word followed before he concluded by saying he did not want us to return.

The strangest thing is that on that day of all Thursday we were battling despair as an organisation and the last thing we needed was such antics. I remember even the loudest amongst us being speechless that day.

Fast forward to us ‘restaurant hoping’ in such of a new ‘home.’  We finally got one. On a random Thursday the manager calls me to inform me that he had noticed our consistency and yet there is no increase in sales. Also, do I know that other restaurants charge for this sort of thing? I told him to be straight forward. If he wanted us out, he needed to speak like a man and not beat around the bush. I was distressed but let that go.

A week later he called me aside. “I have noticed that you are a good leader and know how to mobilize people. Do you think you can help us get more clients, especially using social media?”

The rest, as they say, is history.

Sometimes you need to act first, think later

Several years ago I was in boarding school, I though those were the most dramatic years of my life until I grew up.

During the rainy season, so many of the girls got asthma attacks. On this particularly cold night, so many students were admitted at the school clinic and I was present because had taken a roommate.

The nurse was overwhelmed so she asked me for help. Before I knew it, I was connecting IV tubes (drips) and searching for veins. It didn’t dawn on me at the time that it was unsafe, let alone illegal. I had been around enough patients to know generally what is expected but didn’t think I would practice this ‘knowledge.

Thankfully none of the patients got a needle stuck or badly connected drip. I was in the right place at the right time with almost the right ‘experience.’  Needless to say, I have since retired from this ‘profession’ but who knows, right?

Standing out

Social media is pretty pretentious. You are one person in real life and transform into the exact opposite when typing out your ‘thoughts.’ We want to impress everyone and end up losing ourselves in the process.

You share photos of ‘bliss’ on instagram to cover up for the actual depression you are going through.

We share so much information about the world outside , fill our heads with all of it but know nothing about the actual lives of people with whom we share houses, cultures, and friends.  For every perk, there are two disadvantages but hey- whether you love it or hate it, it still exists.

That is when I bring you the exception to the rule-

There are several causes that have actually benefited from social media and businesses that are flourishing by maximising the reach, access and low cost of using this platform.

I happen to have evidence 🙂 While I loathe the pretence, cyber bullying, hypocrisy (etc) that is magnified by this particular type of media- I can admit that without it 40-40 would not be where it is today.

I have actually tweeted different people about 40 days over 40 smiles. Some scrolled through and many do not even run those accounts. I am sure others did read them though CC John Legend, Michael Kiwanuka, Ellen, Bill Gates and even our very own President Museveni.

They are simply waiting for the right time to join us J Jokes aside, even with those tweets that we simply cast like a net, hoping for a big fish to put its head out, so many everyday heroes have joined us and believed with us. On July 4th, we got a call from the office of the Prime Minister thanks to #CroakAndRhyme. He read our tweets and was moved to contribute to our cause. As you can see, we are just getting started. (Waves at Hon. Amama Mbabazi) *wait till we are on first name basis-heh!*

Speaking of #CroakAndRhyme, this is actually a good example of winning and losing. Of course as an optimist, the glass will always be half full.

See, the event we had before this, which was #5AsideUG  pulled about 1200 people. We needed to at least be close to this number. We had the world cup  ‘against’ us and an obscene amount of terror threats going around.

There was only one thing we could do, have faith and give it our absolute best, and that we did.

Did you guys see Maddox Sematimba? I mean, everyone thought it was just a stunt but we surely did have him on stage- LIVE (this is repetition but it is for emphasis) He nailed it and wowed us all.

maddox

 

All the amazing artists who spent that evening giving their best on stage and left us in awe. We didn’t pay them a single shilling. What an honour!

 

The jump c&r

After two years of 40-40, this was the best teamwork I had ever witnessed. That was a real plus!

Now we did not make the amount of money we thought we would and it was a bit difficult to explain to the beneficiaries…but…but..BUT..There was a lot to be thankful for. Some things you needed to be there to understand  (I am not saying we pulled off what some promoters can’t but…wait, I think that is what I am saying. Bye)

Getting out of your comfort zone

I went to journalism school to be able to do one thing- tell the stories no one was telling so that the readers/listeners could get inspired or at least angry/happy enough to effect change.  I knew that a by-line would be suffice and I would ensure any photographs or other information would be ‘kept’ in the background.  I did not get to practice this besides a bit of free lance work, life had other plans.

I am happier behind the scenes which is something few people believe because extroverts often relish attention. I do not.

Last week, I happened to have a profile in the New Vision.

My mom asked ‘Did you hate having your photos and information shared because you were waiting for  it on a large scale like this?” We both laughed.

The spread was quite generous, bigger than I expected. People even asked if I paid for it. Whhhyyyy? *shakes head*

I tried to be discreet with personal details, so much that the reporter even inserted his own ‘spices.’

I know that these interviews shall continue. People need to put a face to certain things, even if I have a large team and I am constantly trying to push their faces out there too 😉 Whether I like it or not, it has to be done.

It is a price that needs to be paid (as minimally as possible when I can help it) but it does have its advantages. Perhaps the next time we walk into a corporate company, they will recognise the name or a face and need little to no persuasion 🙂

I have met a few ‘strangers’ since then who were responsive. Last Friday a gentleman met us just before we went for a meeting and said he had planned to seek us out anyway. It was fate that he had bumped into us.

He mentioned three areas that 40-40 is passionate about and said he would be happy to help.

The truth is, whether he does or not, I have learnt to find joy in right now and put hope in the future.

Some promises might never materialize but at that point when you hear them, it might be all you need to keep on.

 

 

 

“Winning isn’t everything, but the will to win is everything.”

The baby is 2 :)

Time check: 10.55pm.
It was on this night two years ago that I made an independent decision to have my first child.
I didn’t give it much thought then. It was one of those impulsive things that felt right.
I didn’t think to plan.When the idea crept into my mind,I thought “Why not?  I am here and I am ready”
The next day, I got busy.
The baby needed a home and several caretakers.
I needed to book them in advance,they would certainly make the time.
This home was facebook, the caretakers were my friends+family and the baby…well you know
40 days over 40 smiles Foundation.

Whereas I can’t compress this entire journey into a blog post, I can attempt to make some ‘loud’ observations.
You win some you lose some
That first Easter weekend,we visited two orphanages.
Friday had about 35  friends of mine present as did Saturday.Along the way some have dropped and others have joined in.I have extensive experience in what it means to have people in your life for a season and a reason.
I have some insight about those who will be with me for a lifetime but this journey has given me enough wisdom to know that even those can change with time.
Love and loss
My first heartbreak occured during these two years.I didn’t lose my knight in shining armour-even worse, I lost angels whose broken wings I wasn’t done fixing.
I think of and dream about them. The simple yet most beautiful part of it all is that I kept their memory far from anyone’s reach but my own-deep down in my heart.

Not all that glitters is gold
The team does all it can to spread the word,locally and internationally. We don’t do it for fame or fortune but sometimes we do it too well-albeit unknowingly.
The outcome?
Some organisations don’t want to work with us because we are “rich enough” others would love to associate with us when it is convenient and walk away when it doesn’t benefit them.
Individuals claim responsibility for successes they didn’t contribute to and tiptoe to the back seat when things go wrong.C’est la vie

Everybody is somebody
Over 60% of our biggest donors are friends of friends,random acquaintances and curious observers.
The lady who eavesdrops on a conversation shows more support than the friend who has seen you at rock bottom.
Bittersweet but also plain amazing
Start small

No one envisioned two years. I know at the time my eyes were set on just a successful Easter weekend. After it happened, we got to thinking and look where we are now.
We are not a household name like coca cola but we are who we are, the best change agents we can be. You haven’t seen our label? We produce t.shirts, wrist bands, mirrors and so much more- order now 😉
Small minds discuss people
Without meaning to stereotype, a good number of people in this country spend valuable time discussing/analysing none issues with the sole purpose of destroying what others have built.

Before they even know what you are about, they want to bring you down.It’s not good enough-what are their ulterior motives?-I can do better-That car must have been bought using the charity’s money- That was my idea,how did they steal it?-The list goes on. It gets ‘funny’ after a while. Your life is made a lot more interesting than it actually is.

uhm,how about we each water our own side of the fence?

Hope even in its false form can be exactly what one needs
There have been days when a project has stalled or the account is dry. In your anguish,you mention it to a person or two. They assure you that they will carry your load for you. You sleep better,dream more and wait patiently.
After weeks you realise the promises may not materialise. You also quickly notice that this hope kept you going nonetheless. Silver linings 🙂
Growth finds you
You can plan your entire life,doesn’t mean it will go according to your expectations.
No job,literature or school prepared me for the experiences thus far. None of them could have molded me to this extent either.
It is a phoenix situation-several times over. Cheers to being reborn.

Patience pays

On this one, I could go on for days on end. I have been tested more times than I can count. I thought I was a gracefully patient person till I learnt that I just hadn’t been pushed hard enough. Now I am just learning all over again, that people change, things fail, mistakes happen. Nonetheless, you get up, show up and work.

Never lose your sense of purpose
It’s been 730 days since that first facebook post which I unearthed >>> “During Lent, as you fast or choose to stay away from certain treats, I urge you to save up a little so we can share Easter with the less fortunate.
We shall bake cakes, buy toys and get clothes to distribute at orphanages and paediatric units of hospitals.
Let us join hands and give all we can:-)”

We have several ‘anniversaries- The day the page was opened, the first Easter weekend when we spread love to those children, the day we got registered.I maintain this one as the most special to my heart. A simple thought grew into a great revolution that is only beginning to bloom.
Long days and sleepless nights have surfaced since-ridicule,disappointment and betrayal often cause palpitations but the victories,little thank yous,compliments from ‘strangers,’ innocent hugs and special bonds bring deep satisfaction that no one can take away from you.

There are people I have never met, others are barely speak to and acquaintances that have shared their love and resources-
A large pool of friends and family who have supported at different stages and continue to be with us
A team that has seen the good bad and ugly but still stuck around against all odds
The overall master who brought us this far and continues to go before us.
All these combined have culminated into 40-40 at 2 years- my baby, my reason to get up everyday, my source of pain and comfort but most of all-MY PURPOSE.

cake 2

Step by step

Recently the 40 40 team and I had an opportunity to spread the word about our cause and sell some of our branded merchandise that helps us raise funds.

It was one of the most difficult crowds we have had to deal with.

Below I share some of the highlights and ‘low lights’ of the evening.

Team work

I got there a bit early and didn’t see any face I recognised so I started to make some calls.

In a short time, I had the merchandise delivered, found the table we were to use and was joined by a friend to help with the set up. Company just makes t all a little easier.

Good Samaritans

The sun was blazing and if you have been in Kampala lately, you know that is a bit of an understatement.

My friend and I camped under a tent with some ‘strangers’ and tried to get comfortable.

Before long we were joined by some familiar faces. In a short while, we had a gazebo lent to us and could start to set up with some smiles.

We hadn’t carried our banner but when a Good Samaritan gave us some manila, we improvised. It was given a personal touch with….*guess what*….lipstick! Cool friends, yes? Yes.

Panic

When we thought we were ‘ready,’ some of the merchandise mysteriously disappeared. Thorough searches and a police dog later and voila- the badges, mirrors and wristbands re-appeared! Phew

Bloopers

This is the ‘fun’ part. We tried to attract as many people as we could to our table as they passed by or generally share info about the cause. Some were polite, others…not so much.

  • This gentleman walks towards our table at a point when sales were pretty low; serious face, wearing spects and looking pretty sure.  We immediately prepare ‘the speech.’ He leans over and asks “Where is the bathroom?”  It was so sad and extremely funny.
  • This other not-so-gentleman came by and picked a badge. We told him it was 4,000 shillings. He threw it and mumbled ‘I thought it was free.’ Believe it or not, several other people thought like him or at least pretended to.
  • Two members of my team were engaged in a conversation when I noticed two guys peeking over them. I sent them away, told them to find someplace else to talk. They obliged. Then the ‘customers’ asked  “Is this where we buy the cocktails?” Hahaha, really? Right behind the t.shirts and wristbands, we were mixing cocktails according to these guys?

Not over yet

Just when I thought we had seen it all. Someone I shall call Peter came over to our table. He seemed to be tipsy, with a lot to get off his chest.

I began to tell him what we had on offer and that is when the outburst began. “You must be millionaires by now. How did you even manage to get into this event? You are such a business woman Esther.”

Me: Uhm, all the proceeds go to charity, We simply wanted to reach more people.

Peter: Shya, you are just getting rich. I heard you built a hostel and are now building classrooms.

People take years to do those things and you have done it in such a short time. Do you expect me to believe you?

At this point I realised defending myself wouldn’t help.  I simply listened and tried to smile.

His banter lasted longer than I wished. When he left, another member of the team told me she knew him from a past event. He had given her trouble because he didn’t want to pay the 3,000 UGX entrance fee and kept swearing unnecessarily.

I am not sure if this made me feel better or sorrier for him.

At the end of it all, this evening had so many lessons for us to learn from.

I was particularly pleased with the team effort and how everyone withstood the tough crowd to actually make sales and network while remaining pleasant through it all.

We exited after midnight but the learning shall probably go on for a lifetime.

step

 

 

The Pressure!

I went for a job interview once. Years later, I happened to get access to the evaluation form that had been used as I spoke.

I had scored highly on confidence. I laughed so hard! How was that even possible?! I had been a total nervous wreck. All my clothes looked like rugs, my vocabulary was at 2 on a scale of 1-10 and my heartbeat could have been at the level of a marathon runner. Somehow the facade worked.

Fast forward to this week, I am supposed to receive a Young Achiever’s Award, “Heroine of the Year.”

It is an honour I couldn’t have foreseen at the beginning of this year or even dreamed of.

When I checked for the dictionary definition of ‘hero,’ this is what I found “a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.

For a heroine, it applies and just changes to ‘woman.’ Who am I that I should be considered one?

40-40 first got honoured by the Rotaract Club of Kampala South in October this year, we went on to win a Social Media Award last month. As if these pleasant surprises weren’t enough, there is one more in store just as the year ends.

This week’s award shall be an opportunity for my team to get great exposure and possibly have more ‘influential’ people listening and joining in. I am excited at this prospect but shaking like a leaf at the thought of that large audience. Woah!! :O

Despite the fact that I have known about this day for several weeks, it is still surreal. I have been getting nightmares even during the day and it doesn’t help that these past couple of weeks have been extremely trying.

The obvious thing is that I am being given an opportunity to speak about something I am passionate about, that is my life, not some random theory that a genius came up with hundreds of years ago. This should make it easier, right? WRONG! The pressure is even rising with each letter I type here.

For fear of sounding like a drama queen, I shall henceforth compose myself. If we meet and I can only nod or shake my head, just go with it. I have warned you.

Did I mention the cold that decided to attack last night? As in on top of tripping at the Serena, stuttering as I pronounce the dignitaries names, now other thoughts of ‘achhhooo’ after every sentence have began to fill my imagination. Over 600 people shall see this, in 5D :O. Isn’t life grand?

nervous

Drama aside, I have only ever attended one ‘Young Achievers’ event. It was three years ago and I got an invite for my friend and I from a pal who was part of the organising committee.

The event was so big; we barely saw or heard anyone. Instead we chatted and giggled for the most part of the night. I remember clapping for a few winners and when my friend was commended for assisting the team. The rest is a blur.

Everyone left with a ‘Young Achievers Awards’ bag and a magazine among other things. I have used that bag to carry snacks to work and sometimes a laptop or reading material since then.

It only occurred to me recently that this bag is actually symbolic of a dream that I never even dreamed coming true.

Whereas I am still overwhelmed by “Heroine of the Year ,”title  and everything it represents, I am also honoured that anyone would think of me this way, let alone have an award dedicated to this sentiment.

However, one of the most puzzling bits of this state of affairs is the fact that I am convinced what the team and I are doing isn’t extraordinary. Not only did Jesus teach us to love our neighbours as we love ourselves, it should also be natural that as human beings we look out for each other because we are ‘One.’ Notwithstanding belief in God, race,tribe,level of income or any other ‘barriers.’

Our successful events, accolades and attention are just an added part of the package but really all we are doing is fulfilling our purpose, as we should.

That said, I am extremely proud to represent 40 days over 40 smiles, this award is acknowledgement of all your hard work and perseverance plus proof that HE who started a good work in you shall surely see it to the very end. You chose to join a good fight without any coercion and have remained vigilant despite all the toils and snares. I need you to always remember that I am eternally grateful for each prayer, helping hand or donation; the team’s long days and nights when we have an event, never ending meetings and constant call for sacrifice; everyone who has followed or supported in any way. It is not something I take for granted.

To my amazing family and friends who have accepted to dream and believe with me, I can’t even begin to try and repay you for I shall fail miserably.

To the organisers of the Young Achievers Awards, thank you for the recognition, not just of our work but youth in Uganda generally. It is no secret that our time is now, and we need every platform we can get.

To the Lord, the author of it all, we can only try to ensure we colour your pages with grace.

In case you hadn’t noticed, this is my feeble attempt at some closing remarks so that if I am dumbfounded on D-day, you can refer to this blog post 😉

Bless you!

Giant Killer*

“You’ve got to understand the anointing.”

This simple phrase is from one of my favourite gospel songs at the moment, ‘Giant Killer’ by Pompi. If you haven’t listened to it, slap yourself then run and find it ASAP.

I have listened to it over and over again, sometimes numerous times in a single day. The message is simple really, no matter how small or insignificant you think you are, the truth is you are a giant killer.

Let me take you to a story of a giant killer that you may or may not be familiar with.

His name is David.

David was the youngest son of Jesse. While the elder ones joined the army, his duties were simple; to attend to his father’s sheep and go check on and feed his brothers.

On this particular day when he went to take them some food, he started to hear some talk about Goliath. Who is Goliath you may ask, only a 10 ft giant (picture that height with massive weight)

David wanted to know what was in it for the man who killed the Philistine(Goliath).When Eliab, his older brother, heard David asking the men nearby about this, he lost his temper: This is how he reacted;

“What are you doing here! Why aren’t you minding your own business, tending that scrawny flock of sheep? I know what you’re up to. You’ve come down here to see the sights, hoping for a ringside seat at a bloody battle!”

“What is it with you?” replied David. “All I did was ask a question.” He ignored his brother.

Why? Well, I will tell you why David ignored all the negative energy.He understood the anointing.

He was determined to fight Goliath even if he was deemed young and inexperienced.

When he was second guessed by Saul, this was his response. “I’ve been a shepherd, tending sheep for my father. Whenever a lion or bear came and took a lamb from the flock, I’d go after it, knock it down, and rescue the lamb. If it turned on me, I’d grab it by the throat, wring its neck, and kill it. Lion or bear, it made no difference—I killed it. And I’ll do the same to this Philistine pig who is taunting the troops of God-Alive. God, who delivered me from the teeth of the lion and the claws of the bear, will deliver me from this Philistine.”

Saul said, “Go. And God help you!”

Sometimes we look at our dreams and feel ‘inadequate,’ yet this teenage boy saw a challenge and knew with God by his side, he was going to overcome it.

I have heard countless times that one can’t have faith and then fear at the same time. I have tried to ‘balance’ the two, now and then, albeit sub consciously but in the end, one has to tramp the other.

Like everything else, it can take some sort of ‘practice’ to get accustomed to. If your immediate reaction to a crisis is “I will get through this” even before you know what that entails, chances are you will battle every ‘giant’ that gets in the way of your happiness.

When David came face to face with Goliath, he could have ran, but no!He assured him;

“You come at me with sword and spear and battle-ax. I come at you in the name of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel’s troops, whom you curse and mock. This very day God is handing you over to me. I’m about to kill you, cut off your head, and serve up your body and the bodies of your Philistine buddies to the crows and coyotes. The whole earth will know that there’s an extraordinary God in Israel. And everyone gathered here will learn that God doesn’t save by means of sword or spear. The battle belongs to God—he’s handing you to us on a platter!”

You can’t speak like this unless you believe in the force behind you, and in this case his was the strongest of all, the spirit of God.

This teenage boy who was uncomfortable in armour given to him by his father took it off and fought off the giant with only sling and stone!

David

This could be you…

Think about a time in your life when you did the same; teachers said you were not smart enough, boss equated you to a failure, doctor said your loved one’s cancer had been caught too late for them to make it, your friends called you a dreamer, your family a time waster…The list goes on.

Did you prove them wrong? Are you ready to?

As long as your assignment is heaven sent, I assure you, it will pay off.

You have to be prepared for the persecution but oh that just makes the victory so much sweeter!

See, we are all offered a kingdom, and that kingdom is our life. This kingdom has enemies from within and without. Yes, you may be your own enemy, telling yourself you are not good enough, making yourself easy prey for the ‘outside’ enemies. You have a kingdom and you are in control!

What have you always wanted to do? How can your skill glorify God’s name even in the smallest of ways. You need to search for that anointing and once you have found it, start over new.

Just this morning I read a tweet from my friend Raymond, about a taxi driver in Wandegeya. His first route every morning is to Kitante Primary School, taking pupils for free. He probably didn’t dream of being a driver as a child, but now that this is his kingdom, see how glorious he has made it! What is our excuse?

You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practice.

Have you ever looked at a peer or superior and felt so much admiration it almost bordered on envy? They seem to effortlessly have it together.

Alternatively, they may perhaps have this great ambition you feel you may never be able to attain. They are constantly looking for ways to improve themselves either academically or professionally and almost always succeed.

Do you know what they have that you don’t? Nothing really, except they have chosen to fight the giant head on.

Not even God wants you to be the one who constantly follows, he wants you to lead. He wants you to rise up, say “I don’t need armour but I am going to be a giant killer.

Maybe you won’t run your company, but you can be the best salesman they ever hired. You will become so indispensable the boss easily considers you his right hand man.

Can I add that this glory does not have to be public? If you choose to love your spouse, like a man after God’s own heart, your compensation will not come in form of a raise or an award.

However, it is the best gift you will ever give your loved one, your children and all those who know you. If those who know you are trying to emulate you, and the father in heaven is nodding in approval, I know not what can top that appreciation.

 

And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.

Shall you kill a giant today? 🙂