Jambula

I have not been able to write in ages. I know why, but at the same time I don’t.

A few minutes ago, I found this little book in my memories; one of the sweetest, most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. I got it one year ago today and I am sure there is a reason I had another look at it today. I have read it over and over again, and it feels like someone is giving me a warm hug, telling me ‘every little thing is going to be alright.’

It is the beautiful sunrise, the middle-of-the-night rain,the cozy couch, that favourite song, all in one.

I am archiving it here because it is just sooooo good 🙂

Advertisements

Silver linings

24

Yesterday I made some follow up calls again, to potential sponsors for our anniversary dinner. Indeed, some people avoided them-again.
Cathy picked up.
She knows who I am but she let me go through a lengthy introduction. That was fine.
Finally, I reminded her that I had been following up and needed to know when the best time was for me to check in for the verdict.
Her: Don’t call me. I am the one who will call you!
Her tone! Gosh,not even the tinniest ant was bigger than me in that moment.
I said thank you, hang up and looked up to the heavens like ‘WHY, God, WHY?!
It seemed like for every two steps made, I go back 10.
A few hours later, I went to the 4040 meeting and we discussed our plans. The memory was fresh in my mind, along with all the disappointments that seem to occur daily. Then during the meeting, I had a moment.
I looked around, I was in the company of 4 friends, two of whom had their babies back at home.
Each of these individuals could have been anywhere else but here they were brainstorming away, past 9pm on a work day. The staff of the restaurant started to clean up as a hint, but there we were planning away.
Them,together with several others have sacrificed a good chunk of their time,resources, skills,emotions and so much more to make the dream work.
Some have come and gone but their impact is still felt and they made their contribution.
In the beginning, I did almost everything single handedly because I couldn’t bear to be let down by another;to have someone else to blame. But here we are, 5 years later; still meeting weekly;bonding over that black tea🍵 and doing whatever it takes to stick together like the family we now are.
I do not take that for granted.

 


So, of course these ‘worldly disappointments’ will knock me down now and again..but I hope I never lose sight of all the little miracles that have come my way along this journey. One of these miracles at the very top, is this amazing team that I am proud of, now, always.

Originally posted on 24th March

Celebrating Super Women

8

Women’s day is here and I thought I would give a number of related stories about some of the women who have been on this journey from the beginning, from the middle and everywhere in between.

I got to know *Belinda in 2012 though I knew of her earlier because we shared a mutual friend. I was amazed by her energy, a woman of steel. She never shied away from tasks and always went the extra mile. Belinda doesn’t wait for praise or acclaim, she does what she can when she can. She became my right hand woman by default especially during the tough times at the beginning. I couldn’t have chosen a better partner. She is also a great ‘rant partner.’ Many times when things weren’t going well..we would sit and rant then leave refreshed..like it was a therapy session.

Rachel* is a darling to children and I am not saying it has anything to do with her bossom😝
There is no one I have encountered who has overcome their terrible past experiences by spreading love over bitterness or vengeance like she has. Sadly, she didn’t have the priveledge of having her parents on this earth for long enough (bless their souls) but fish has she kept their love alive through her huge heart.

Vivian* was in my life at a distance long before she joined the team and when she came, the rest was history. She took on responsibilities even when she had several other commitments and delivered with zeal. She has a creative mind and it helps that she believes even in the impossible. Whenever I am away, she fills in for more in every way possible.
Her energy is infectious but don’t mess with her or those she loves, she WILL bite.

Christine* also came into my life through mutual friends. She quickly warmed up to our activities and put in the work. She is such an awesome 4040 ambassador to the extent that if ever she was fired, it would be because of the time and energy she puts into our work behind the scenes. The company she works for has sponsored us before thanks to her connection, many would shy away from mixing their work with uhm..other work.

Vivian and Christine were both extremely handy during my time as an M.A student. This is a story I will properly tell another day..but they saved me so much money in printing fees. They have often crossed the line sacrificing for 4040 visa vis their jobs which scares me and I don’t take it for granted.

Faith* has been a friend since we were pre-teen girls and I can only say she gets finer with age, just like wine.
Her heart is in the right place at all times. She is quite reserved and you can tell her your life story without even knowing her middle name but her generosity knows no bounds. She has involved her family and (former) work place in our work. She has volunteered at events and when she can’t give time, she sacrifices financially over and beyond.

Tina* is bowl of fun and a free spirit. She also is the kind of girl whom you tell ‘let’s go’ and she asks when..as opposed to where. She will later remember to pack her bags. She worked upcountry for a while and still made the time to attend events, work and even catch a bus back the same day. Even when isn’t around, I meet her friends who attend our outreaches and let me know they are representing her.

Janice* is just the same. She has literally been posted from one district to a further district. Still, she will show up whenever she is expected. Her family has gotten involved and I mean beyond the ‘nuclear’ family. They helped consume most of our remaining beer at an event last year after their team lost😊

Linda* was there from the beginning and her family got looped in in stages, including one of her elder sisters who was among the first people to contribute, and generously too back during those 40 days in 2012. She also involved her (former) colleagues in a drive to #BuyABrick and goodness did they give generously!
Linda has a sound mind and often pulled me up when my legs began to shake back in the day. She has been a great cheerleader and sounding board. She initiated a program that Nina now runs, whose potential is limitless.

Nina* is a radiant fireball. You can be fooled by her silence but when she speaks, it is with purpose. She is hilarious too, you just need to stick around to know her. She broke her leg and went out of work for a while. It was a tough time. She decided to use that time to work for 4040. I couldn’t afford her even if I tried. When she later joined a firm with a somewhat flexible schedule, she still have plenty of time to develop a program that had stalled because of the absence of a full time coordinator. It is currently out flagship program.

Peace* is a calm spirit whose kindness and compassion is enviable. She also got on board from the beginning and was especially close to the children at the orphanage we first worked with. She is constantly hounding ‘her people’s when we have campaigns and many have supported no matter where they are. She is one of our ‘drink-selling-gurus.’ If you have been to our events, you know this is no easy feat. May Golola one day come and save us.

Matilda* ‘tomunyigila mu tooke’ (aka no-nonsense woman) She is unafraid to speak her mind and is as loyal as they come. While she works and lives way out of town, she is a regular at our weekly meetings. She is also always linking people up with 4040 and giving of her time. She works weekends but whenever we have weekend events, she heads to the venue right after work.
She is also another guru when it comes to selling drinks

Nadine* has been in my life and part of the team for less than 3 years but no one would be able to tell. From her hard work and dedication, it feels like she has been there since inception. This hot mama of 4 is a doer. She doesn’t like excuses and walks her talk. She has shown me a good example of how possible it is to be a great wife,mother,career woman and still have time for your passions and party like a rock star while at it. ‘Unfortunately,’ this also means I find myself sub-consciously comparing most people to her when they slack. I have to remind myself that we are all different.
One of her mantras “You don’t have to like someone to work with them” often came in handy when little disagreements threatened to affect the quality of our work.

Prudence* and I come from way back, primary school to be exact. She was in a lower class. High school brought us together again and 4040 made us closer.
When we asked for time, she gave it, resources, she offered, a car to run errands, she availed. Generally, whatever is in her power, she will do. Her family supports us even when they’re in the diaspora. Her brother even became an expert ‘shirt folder’ under our watch though university has borrowed him for a bit. You can hear Prudence’s laugh all the way in Madagascar and her love runs just as deep.

Irene* always says her first reaction to of the 4040 group was “Why is this chic (that would be me) adding me?” The rest, as they say, is history. She has given of her time for the communication bits, for events and being a ‘middle man’ when we need favour from her bosses.
I vividly remember one Christmas season when we were struggling to raise money for the children’s Christmas gifts. She suggested restaurant that we could use as a drop off point, went ahead to speak to the owner and even find a piggie bank (box) all on her own. That is the colour of initiative.

Allen* is a silent volcano waiting to erupt.
She is also the one you run to when you need someone to help you hate on person X who is frustrating you.😂 One of her standard responses is “I always knew that bigger was shady.” Smh.
Did I mention she got into a fight with David Obua when he refused pay entrance at 5 aside and forcefully got in? “Good times!”
All her jobs have pretty much consumed her but she is there when she can. She was our afande link for a long time, often doing the rounds at Police stations, getting us permission before events.

Lisa* is a classic case of a friend of my friend who is now my friend. Confused yet? She is happy to lucky and was quite active before she took on some parenting roles. Nonetheless, she still gets her tropps together to support our campaigns and has involved the company she works for, in our work.

Angel our (now) summer/winter rep was ‘borrowed’ from us but we can’t wait till she returns to pothole central with all the knowledge and skills she has acquired as part of her M.A. Angel worked with us for a short time but her presence was felt. I will tell you a story of how she rode with one of Uganda’s most popular musicians out of town so they could discuss how to get us Maddox and when her phone for off..we were sure she has been kidnapped. Smh.
Angel is always looking for ways in which we can do better and best of all, we pray together.

Hope has been in my life for a while through mutual friends. She was always sharing info about our events and showing up to participate. 4040 has a subscription platform where you can make a monthly contribution. When Vivian sent her a message to remind her about her contribution last year, Hope was abroad. She said she would send it. She eventually did. She sent Ugx 1 million! We had had a series of events that consumed our savings and had been clueless. I cried for most of that night and failed to share half of what I wanted to say when we spoke.
Recently she returned home and told me she had some time to spare for 4040. Naturally I welcome this news with enthusiasm. She has already handled her first duty excellently and we can only hope (get it, hope? Not working? Okay..moving on)
What was I saying? We can only hope it gets better.

This is longer than I thought (as usual) The list could also be much longer but let me stop here.

To you beautiful women I say, thank you.
You have been my rocks, my prayer warriors, my supporters, my shields, my sources of comfort, laughter, light and love.
I can barely articulate everything that I wish I could say to you. I hope to give you all that you have given me and then some.
I love you so

 

 

 

I celebrate you today and always.

Do unto others

Part one (story number 2)
Some months before the 4040 journey, my friend started a company.
Let us call him Frank.
He invited 5 other friends, including myself, in different positions. We all had other ‘hustles’ and met once a week.
During these weekly meetings we discussed the vision for the company. We also contributed financially to a ‘fund’ during each meeting.
One of the issues to tackle was climate change and we were planning a symposium. That was 6 years ago so you can imagine how ‘current’ the themes were. We would probably have accomplished quite a bit by now.
I speak of it in past tense because one day we were up and running and next day…we just weren’t.
Frank is quite ambitious, a go better who had a clear vision of what he wanted. Some of his friends were either less interested in this particular venture or just weren’t in the place Frank needed them to be. They missed meetings without apology and generally had a laid back approach to work.
I do not like to start things if I have no intention of seeing them to the every end and generally frown upon unprofessionalism so I was bothered by their laxity. I mentioned this to Frank a few times but I could also see they were friends first, even closer to him than I was, so it remained one of those things I couldn’t do much about.
I decided I would do my part. Another friend, Sophie who was in charge of accounts also took her work seriously. We would balance it out. I hoped
We started setting up meetings to rope in partners. We weren’t going to fight global warming on our own, now were we?These 20 something’s were ready to take on the world.
I even got shares in this company..Whaattaabout?!
Along the way, without so much as a goodbye, the company went into oblivion. I can’t quite say how or when..but it did.
Maybe the time wasn’t right or the team wasn’t ready; perhaps other life commitments took over. I will never really know.
This week two things happened to remind me of Frank’s company. I got a notification about a Facebook like (as I am an admin on the page) and I took a boda boda that rode past one of the organisations I had approached to partner with us.
I smiled.
Fast forward, 4040 begins and I give it my best. I have a team made up of friends so there is a line that should or shouldn’t be drawn. It’s a conundrum.
I look back at my work with Frank, there may not be much to show but I do not regret giving my time and resources.
I was supporting a friend, when he needed it and I would like to think I accomplished that.
do-unto-others
Part two (Story number 3) *You will notice that this is like 5 stories in one so please allow me to combine , and count them as two-yes? Yes. Thanks
Later on,Frank gets a good job as the right hand man of a prominent C.E.O. Circa early 2014, we are in the process of building a dormitory and we are Ugx 5 million (approximately $1,500) away from meeting our target. We have run campaigns, organised events and used up all the ‘public’ avenues to raise funds. I pray for a miracle and make a plan to ensure anyone who dares to ask “how are you?” gets the real truth.
Stuck is where I was. This dormitory needed to be completed and short of a miracle, there was no other way.
Around that time, *Ruth and Frank* get in touch. Ruth was coming into the country for a short while and wanted to have tea..Frank was just casually checking in on me.
I told both of them about my struggle.
Ruth immediately offered to contribute Ugx 1 million. I wept!
By the time Frank checked in, my problem was less by a million shillings. I told him we needed Ugx 4 million.
He also immediately suggested his current workplace and asked me to draft a letter.
In our conversation he told me to consider it done. Given how close he worked with the CEO. I believed him, without a doubt.
The next day, I trekked to town armed with a soft copy of the letter, an empty purse and a grateful heart.
I went by Frank’s office after printing the letter. He suggested changes. I went back to the printery, edited and brought the ‘final’ copy complete with attachments.
I walked to Ruth’s with a spring in my step and told her about my miracle. She was excited. We had our tea and she handed me the 1 million at the end. This was the work of God and I was honoured to be a servant.
A week went by and I contacted Frank.
He said I would have feedback the next week. After one week I got in touch. He mentioned his boss was away.
Next time, the boss was ill.
Then, no reply.
Suddenly,all  my messages and calls were being ignored..
I was confused because all he needed to tell me was that the request was rejected..or even come up with some story about the organisation only taking part in a certain kind of CSR which we didn’t qualify for, blame it on global warming. Anything.
Instead.
Radio silence.
Finally I got a clue and decided to look for the balance from scratch. It was H.A.R.D!
I blamed myself for counting my chickens before they hatched. I was the only fool in this equation.
The thing that confused me the most was I did not see why Frank had to treat me this way. It made no sense. We were friends. I had spent two years hustling to build 4040 and he knew it. I mean, I could see why someone else would do this and have experienced it from several people especially on this 40-40 journey but him.why?
I was perplexed but I had to let it go, grudgingly.
For a long time I thought I would not be able to look at Frank or speak to him. I felt he had treated me like awfully and I didn’t think I deserved it. When I confronted him, I left feeling patronised and had to accept an apology than I never did receive. He literally acted like nothing had happened while I nursed my still-very-fresh-wounds.
In case you were wondering, we managed to raise the Ugx 4 million balance. It was not easy but we somehow did.
The story wasn’t over.Yet
About a year later, 4040 starts another campaign to raise funds for a second dormitory, for girls. Lo and behold! Frank asks me to draft a letter so he can talk to his boss about funding.
I read the message and all my frustration and anger returned. I felt sick to my stomach.
It felt like deja vu except I knew for sure it was real and not the brain playing tricks.
I decided to take a few deep breaths and then I called Sophie.
Now in case you don’t remember, Sophie had served with me at Frank’s company..and was now volunteering with 4040.
The conversation went something like this
“Frank has contacted me about contributing for the girl’s dormitory. If he is serious, I don’t want my pride or feelings to get in the way of our girls getting a home. I don’t trust myself not to have an outburst or say things I will regret so do me a favour and take it on from here.”
She understood. I later drafted the letter and send it to her. She did the follow up while I remained present only remotely.
In a couple of weeks, the payment was approved and an EFT made to our account.
I generally like closure and would have wanted to know what changed this time round. It would be nice to understand why my calls and pleas were avoided like the plague. Was this second attempt penance?
However, none of these is as important as the girl’s dormitory that finally became a reality because hundreds of people contributed, including the company Frank works for.
dorm-main

The complete dormitory for girls in Bombo, Uganda

What would you do?

Note:
This is my second and third installment in what I hope will be 40 stories about the 40-40 journey spread out during these 40 days of lent.

Drop of sunshine

The other day at dinner my brother said to me, “You have some really good friends.” I smiled and nodded, nothing I would say could fill that space sufficiently.

Last month after 4040’s annual fundraiser, 5 aside UG, Vivian* called me up. She had seen the surplus we made from the event and decided to round off the figure. I was really pleased by the offer because we had not made as much as anticipated. Vivian and I planned to meet for lunch that day but our schedules failed to match so I went by her office instead. She handed me the money casually while I sat there wide eyed and grinning. Heavy on my heart that day was the situation my friend Bridget was going through. She has been unemployed for a while and countless job applications later, the hunt seems more and more futile. We talked a bit about her qualifications and Vivian agreed to keep her ears open in case of any opportunity.

Fast forward to later that month, during one of my whatsapp chats with Vivian, she asked me to remind her about ‘something’ on the 22nd of July. I did not ask questions because it wasn’t the first time she had been sneaky with information. I always let her be no matter how curious I am. I made a note to remind her and even forgot about that conversation. On Wednesday, 20th July, I sent her a message reminding her. I was sure it was about a conversation we needed to have although I had no idea what she needed to tell me. We agreed to meet two days later.

That Friday I got up with a to-do list for days and spent the better half of the morning trying to figure out what I could cancel. It turned out everything was important. I decided to take a stroll to Vivian’s work place just before heading to Kibuli for 4040’s weekly literacy sessions. We took a short walk instead and it was then that she gave me the most pleasant surprise I have had in ages!

She handed me an envelope and asked me to pass the money on to my friend Bridget. “That can be her upkeep as she looks for something to do.”

What?

How?

When?

Where?

Which?

These were my follow up questions as I picked my jaw off the pavement where I had stopped to stare at this creature. She downplayed it in true Vivian style. I can’t cry. I won’t cry I thought to myself. She gracefully assured me she would deny me and walk away if I made a fool of myself. Smh.

I gave her a huge hug and we soon parted ways. My legs could not move fast enough. I needed to go to a mobile money point to send Bridget the money and call her to give this testimony. I finally found a spot on Dewinton road, started the transaction and called her before it was completed. Poor girl was in shock and started to cry. The mobile money agent was probably eavesdropping because I could see her face light up as the conversation continued.

 

kindness

Vivian and Bridget have never met. They probably will one day but Vivian saw a need and from the goodness of her heart, decided to bring some sunshine into a ‘stranger’s’ life. By now, I guess you know where I am going with this so I will go ahead;

You probably know someone who is stuck in a rut. Maybe even several people. Each time you think about helping them, you convince yourself that the world isn’t yours to save or that there is only so much that you can do as an individual. I urge you to do that ‘small bit’ whose impact you are undermining.

Perhaps it is your friend, a colleague, member of the family or even a stranger whose story you have heard about. Whether it is an anonymous donation, a phone call to check how they are doing, a month’s worth of grocery shopping or a simple visit that will leave their spirits lifted, just do it. Do whatever you feel compelled to do in your capacity.

Chances are high that they may not be able to repay you for it. Chances are also really high that they will pay it forward, probably not now, but eventually.

Lately the news is even more frightening than horror movies, but oh! there is also so much good in the world- be part of it; make it known.

Farewell Selector-Angel

Dear Julie, everything has been a blur for the past few days. One minute Patra called me to ask for your cousin’s number to inform him you’d been in an accident and next thing I hear, is that you didn’t make it. How?
I can’t imagine the pain and shock of your friends who saw you last as you parted ways, certain you’d each be home in a few minutes. You left for your heavenly home instead.
We braved the day and went about 5 aside UG which was a few hours later. As you know there can be a lot of background drama. It was all there, it was frustrating but it paled in comparison to the pain of your absence. How could we accept that you wouldn’t come and we’d not have you to talk, sing,dance, laugh with us anymore?
We’d last spoken a few days before your departure. You wanted a host for snap chat 256 at our event.
I told you I couldn’t think of a better person than you. You’d definitely bring your charm and humour to it. You agreed, no questions asked because that’s just who you were. Are, Were? Arrggh?! I can’t believe this is in past tense!
Sadly, our last happy messages were followed by this message that will now always haunt me. It was a message informing me that the owner of the phone(you) had been involved in a terrible accident.
You were many things to different people, Julie but that you already know. How your heart managed to contain all of us, I do not know but I want to thank you for giving us the wonderful opportunity to know you. You were such a delight!
I can’t even remember when I met you because you fit right in and left people feeling like they’d known you their whole lives.
I am smiling now thinking of our conversations in which we became award winning music critics, comparing past albums, musicians’ talent and their growth as if it was our career. It was from this shared love of music, especially Ugandan music that I started to call you my selector. From the music we exchanged, to staying up chatting about the songs on SNMS as we both listened in, you always oozed life and humour. This was the most used emoticon when chatting with you.

whatsapp

 

Face to face, it is rib cracking laughter that replaced it.

Julie, you were not the life of the party. You were the party.
I know so many things have been said, written and many more are in people’s memories. You touched so many lives and even people who didn’t know you now have an inkling of your awesomeness. Wharragirl!

I wish everyone could share as much as they can so that we can keep seeing you everywhere we turn. Not that we are planning to forget you, that’s impossible but I think it’ll help us deal and walk towards the healing process. We know you wouldn’t want us to be sad and whiney. <P.s: Right now, we can’t help it>
Oh, I am grinning again, because of your fat jokes. Remember when I called you to grill you for being late to an event at Akiba yet you lived close by? You covered it up as always and left me laughing.I even needed a favour so that didn’t help matters. I’d messed my top and asked you to carry me one. Your silly self started explaining how your clothes would be 10 times my size. Sheep. I’d later ask you to give me the ‘worst’ weight remarks you’d ever heard because I wanted to write a piece about Ugandan’s obsession with weight ‘kaboozi’ whether one is ‘big’ or ‘small.’
My favourite was your colleague who said “You have a big stomach, is that all yours?” I was so mad on your behalf but you explained that you never let any of them get to you. That is who you were, forgiving with such a light heart, patient and true.

You always created ‘FOMO’ for our events, online and offline. You contributed financially and with man power when we needed it. You didn’t wait to be told. You showed up for the fun times as well as the ‘working’ ones and gave all of yourself in true Julie style. If we needed a boost, we’d start up a dancing competition and guess who was always willing to open the floor so others could join in? Only you.

 

J dance
I remember after croak and rhyme last year you told me you’d twisted your neck having fun and it was worth it.  How does that even happen? Again, only you.
After the fundraisers,you always asked if we’d made raised a considerable amount. You were quick to console or applaud and that meant everything. You made a big deal of all our achievements or appearances and just knew how to make a little person feel like a star.
I thanked you when I could, I really hope it sufficed and that you knew how much your presence and support meant to us.

J 1

Did you see all the people who came to bid you farewell? Now add those who couldn’t make it. You’re good with numbers, you can do that instantly, yes? They love you and they miss you. You did good in your 25 years, you did more than good. We couldn’t have had enough of you.
Of all the hundreds who showed up, all of us combined do not come close to the pain of your dear mama. Oh gosh,if only you could come back and give her a big hug.
You heard her speech, when she said you were her right hand? We all felt it, and her pain cut through my heart. She’d later fail to say much more as she wept for the loss of her beautiful daughter. Please make a plan with God to speak through her soul daily and comfort her. As your friends, we will also keep the fort here.  You are irreplaceable our Julie. She’ll need all the strength in the world and then some.
After we got back to Kampala last night, I got a boda boda home and took ‘our’ route. I spent the whole trip talking about you and the rider was very understanding. He rode slowing, listened and only interjected with words of comfort. We agreed that it was your time, no matter how difficult it is to accept.
It is agonizing to accept or understand but we know you and we figure the Lord must have a massive plan for you in heaven. You belong to him so his needs obviously come before ours. You’ll remain with us in all the things that remind us of you. You will remain in our hearts. When words fail, we shall laugh, or maybe cry but above all, we shall celebrate your life.
Last year as I did a piece titled “What if you weren’t afraid, ” you told me one of your greatest fears was ‘not living a fulfilled life.’ While we are devastated it had to end so soon, it was definitely fulfilled. In fact, you helped others live a fulfilled life as well and boy did you do it well!

Pain demands to be felt and we are certainly feeling it. You wouldn’t want this but we need to get closure then move on to celebrating you; sometimes it happens concurrently. Other times it takes longer.

You taught us many things and I hope that we can emulate you in the remaining time, before we meet again.

You’re too amazing to bottle up in few words but we want you to know anyway. You are an enigma, a firecracker, and now, an angel.

We love you Julie. We always will

J2

Making memories

“Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.”

Two months ago, on this day, Linda was all nerves and bags; the former because of the anxiety of living in a new environment, the latter carried all 30 or so kilogrammes of the possessions for the next few months. If feels like just the other day she was waving goodbye to her friends and feeling quite proud of herself for not getting emotional. The more she thought about this lone trip, the more she realised that ‘adulting’ was going to happen whether she liked it or not; the best she could do was embrace the situation and hopefully, even enjoy it.

First forward to two months later and she has actually acquired a rhythm. There is no real routine because each day comes with an almost unique schedule but Linda can now comfortably say she is ‘okay,’ many times, even better than okay.

The routes that she could not take without a chaperone in the first few weeks, are now a walk in the park, she can actually get to the school in several different ways. She knows whom to talk to when in need of a good laugh and whom to avoid when stressed because they will only aggravate the situation. She still smiles and says hello even when the grumpy ‘robots’ ignore her, but she’s often pleasantly surprised when the humans approach her instead, with lit up faces.

Linda has a favourite bookstore that she wishes had a discount on their discount and the other day she discovered a shop aptly named “Peace, love and tea.” Isn’t that all this world needs? Much as she had a class that day, it will probably be one of her go to places for whenever she needs to smile. Their tea varieties and packages got her jaw to drop. Their tea cups and sets are also to die for.
tea 1

ea 2

Linda has learnt to appreciate solitude and discovered things about herself she probably wouldn’t have without this experience. For one of her modules, she had the entire “UN” in her class. During the introductions, the diversity was a tad surreal; Taiwan, China, Japan, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Argentina,U.S.A,Scotland,Namibia, Kenya and of course Uganda. Look at all the options for holiday destinations where she’ll know at least one person! As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for her to use a train or bus and not even hear one person speaking English, it’s like music listening to the different languages. Indeed, her solo bus rides will be one of the things she misses the most when she leaves.

What started as a daily countdown to get back home has gradually grown into a bittersweet predicament where she finds herself appreciating the experience and relationships she has formed more than she expected.  It is indeed true, that most things simply need time.

Her current mantra is to seize every little moment and savour what will make for great memories throughout her life.

travel

Google image