Sukuma wiki

It is one of those days. You wake up and check the weather update. ‘4 degrees but feels like 0 degrees,’ it reads. You check your mood. It seems to agree with the temperature. You open up your laptop to try and accomplish the easiest tasks first. Fail. You ever have one of those days? Linda has been going through the same phase. She is barely motivated and feels like she is carrying the weight of the entire world on her shoulder. She is afraid of speaking up because once she gives this period a name, it may slowly begin to think it has found a home. Nope, it shall remain nameless.
She cooks, she cleans, anything to keep busy. She tries to concentrate one more time. Nothing. The words are blurry. She is neither sleepy nor tired but that irritating migraine is trying to come back. She can visualise the exact spot she left her magic painkillers back at home, with the faith that she wouldn’t need them. What to do? “God, you know I can’t continue like this,” she pleads. “Can you hear me? Well of course you can, but you know what I mean,” she muses. She looks up at the sticky note she recently added to her wall. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” She reads it out loud. She plays a collection on gospel music but does not sing along even once. She knows something is definitely wrong, but what and why?

*Change environment* Classes must be have ended by now. She grabs her jacket and goes on a search for human interaction. She will visit Grace and Jacob and talk about everything and nothing, that should help. Grace seems perturbed but Linda is not sure where to start. They talk about school. “The other day, we were taught by a lecturer who is a young girl like you.” Linda laughs. When she is with the rest of the East African team, she is a ‘young girl,’ back at her floor, she is hanging with teenagers. Grace finally opens up. She’d received her bank statement and noticed she only received half her pay at work. Her and her husband had made plans for the full amount. His salary to take care of other bills and hers to pay the balance on school fees for the children while the rest goes to servicing a loan. The 50% was pretty much all going to the loan. She wrote to the school to ask for an explanation, only to be told it is ‘policy’ yet they had promised her full pay before she left. She was distraught and yet she kept smiling and speaking calmly. “Where is this woman from?” Linda thought. She was a mastermind at controlling emotions. They kept talking as she thought of ways to navigate her stipend and send money home. Linda was torn. To hug or not to hug? Is a few weeks not too soon to be in a friend’s personal space? “Why am I over thinking this?” As you can imagine, the moment passed while she played ‘kawuna’ with her thoughts. She made a mental note to do something else to cheer her up.

Jacob on the other hand had been under the weather. He had struggled with headaches too. Linda found out that almost everyone she spoke too had been troubled by the same. It seems the bodies were still struggling to adopt. He was speaking to his little son. Both Grace and Jacob, along with the other Kenyans in the group, continued to lace all their conversations with Swahili. She’d never mentioned to any of them that she understood almost every word they said. However, she wondered what it’d be like to be oblivious of what the conversations were about 50% of the time. Rose joined in and subsequently complained about a nasty headache. Her son was ill and she’d been up very early that day so as to catch him before he went to hospital. Linda could not help but be consumed by thoughts on how everyone in the group had a spouse and/or children to worry about, while her troubles were of a completely different nature.

As she planned to leave, Jacob insisted that she joins them for supper. She resisted for a bit although she knew how depressing eating alone had been for her. She’d still not got the hang of it and often gave up after a few bites into whatever she cooked. How does a Kenyan man cook minus ugali(posho)? He doesn’t! He made ugali, sukuma wiki and warmed some chicken that he’d already fried. When he asked what ‘sukuma wiki’ was called in Uganda, Linda mentioned it had the same name. In her mind, it was just another ‘local’ name for vegetables like Dodo or Nakati. She couldn’t have been more wrong. Jacob explained that the name was from the literal meaning Sukuma-to push, wiki-week. Basically, it is the meal that ‘pushes you through the week.’ His illustration was a casual worker who makes Ksh 100 per day (about Ugx 3,300) and has to feed his family, plan for rent and other bills. He knows that with 10shs, he can get some ‘sukuma wiki’ that, together with the ugali will keep his family satisfied until the next meal. Oh the things you’ll learn!

Ugali_&_Sukuma_Wiki

Yum! Google image

P.s:The English name for this healthy vegetable is ‘kale’ (no, not pronounced like the Luganda word, read in ‘English’ please, thanks :p) and it belongs to the cabbage family

sukuma 1

Although for Linda, ugali is a reminder of the ‘posho and beans’ combo consumed throughout her young school life, she found herself enjoying the meal (all consumed sans fork) and even more so, the ‘family setting.’

As she walked back to her room, she barely noticed the breeze. Everyone was fighting a battle, sometimes similar or completely different from the ‘next guy.’ She simply needed to figure out a strategy to be able to ‘sukuma wiki’ for the next few months and essentially the duration of the course….and life in general.

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Humps ahead

Temperatures are now as low as -2 degrees in London. A normal person would probably succumb to flu or cough at most, but no, Linda had to go and attract some other bugs.

After an almost ‘too good to be true’ fortnight, the universe decided that this lady needed to calm down a bit, thereby sending some ailments her way. Unfortunately, she had sped past the sign so all of it came as an unwelcome surprise.

humps

Google image

Monday was deadline day for an important assignment. 5,000 words can seem like a small novel, especially when it is on topics that don’t exactly include one’s interests.She started to feel sick but could not let herself accept that this was happening at such a crucial hour. Denial it would have to be, until further notice.

All the pain and discomfort was put on hold until she clicked ‘submit.’ “It is just fatigue,” she thought, and went to bed with the hope that everything would be okay the next morning. Unbeknownst to her, she would not be able to leave bed the following day.

It was finally clear that Linda would have to seek medical attention but possibly the next day. She freshened up and went on to fix herself the first meal of the day at 6p.m. In the kitchen (that also serves as a common room), sat the excitable , Jack. “Would you like to sit down and have a beer?” he offered. She declined, trying to seem as ‘normal’ as possible. Upon reaching her room, she realised that more people had been streaming in and music was starting to get louder. She had lost count of the parties these undergraduates held every other day. At first, it seemed like a weekend thing but gradually grew into a ‘when we feel like’ tradition. She tried to watch a movie to pass time until she received a message from her classmate. The list for people who handed in the assignment was out and Linda’s name was not on it. Talk about bad luck! She checked the email and indeed her name was not mentioned. Too disturbed to comprehend the situation, she decided to shut out the noise and find some sleep.

She thought of the people around that she could confide in about her illness but did not want any of them to have to leave work for her sake. She decided to send one message to one of the scholars, her new Kenyan friend, Grace. She hoped Grace would offer to accompany her to the clinic. Plan B, would be to ask her out rightly and if she was busy or unable, plan C would be to find it on her own. After sending this text, she closed her eyes.

Morning came as early as 4a.m,Linda  tossed and turned as she awaited daylight. The plan was to stay in bed till enough strength was amassed. At about 9 a.m, she heard a knock at her door. Still groggy and clad in pyjamas, she opened to find a concerned Grace. “I took a shower and came as soon as I read your message,” she said. Phew! Linda felt a huge sigh of relief. Grace consequently left to make them breakfast as Linda got ready.

They both didn’t know the location of the clinic but it was that much better getting lost as a pair. Linda was dizzy by the time they arrived. It turned out seeing doctors was only on appointment except for walk ins that began at 2p.m. They had over two hours to kill but at least there was comfort in knowing they were in the right place.

Time moved slowly until Linda started to notice the students who were coming in. Those registered needed to only mention their date of birth and the receptionists would find them in the system. One by one they walked in “July 2nd 1995, November 30th 1998…”
“Whhaat?!” The ladies began to muse at all those ‘babies.’ Linda played a game where she guessed the years as soon as they walked in. Some looked pretty young but others could fool anyone as being closer to 30 years than the 20 they really were. Time moved faster with this exercise.

Finally the hour came and she saw a nice doctor who understood her condition. Armed with a prescription, they found a nearby pharmacy. She thanked God she had carried emergency money because the bill brought semi-squints. She made a mental note for the 1000th time not to convert to prices to shillings.

They decided to take a bus back and look out for sites on the way to their residence.

bus

Google image

Grace heated up some food for Linda upon arrival as she dashed to her room to make a call to her husband and son.
All Linda could do was thank her endlessly for sacrificing most of her day to take care of her.

This morning the other two Ugandan scholars showed up at Linda’s doorstep. “We have heard the News,” they yelled. She could only laugh as she questioned their sources. “Bad news travels fast, they replied.” C’est vrai.

Grace later joined with a cup of hot chocolate for Linda in tow. The ladies shared tales of their experiences on this journey so far.

Linda found out Racheal had spent Sunday night crying because she missed her son terribly and kept promising him goodies each time they spoke. The son’s father walked out on them last year. Jane’s bosses were not paying her salary for the period she’d spend in London but she was still grateful for the opportunity.

When they left, Linda was immersed in deep thought about everyone’s journey and how nothing is guaranteed. She was reminded for the umpteenth time, how blessed she was.

Although this sickness had come at a bad time and slowed down the pace of her progress, she knew deep down that a testimony was unfolding before her very eyes. All she needed to do was be patient.

“And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore, I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

I’m running

Don’t you just love the rain? I do! If I could be paid to wear nice warm jackets and boots, sit outside and sip tea, with an assortment of pastries- reading and/or writing I would be rich!
In real life, I brave the rain on boda bodas, arrive looking like a scruffy kitten and try to make up for it with liveliness. Close?
This morning I was up slightly after 5 a.m and like most days, I silently grumbled. Why can’t I just sleep?! I ‘pretended’ to sleep some more, but quickly quit the charades, as I usually do. It was raining so I focused on that. Before long, I realised it was nearing the jogging hour and this rain wasn’t about to halt. I called my partner to discuss this bump in our plan(s) She decided to exercise at home while I chose to try out a new course.
When I got out, the drops weren’t as fierce as I had expected. The first person I met was a little girl, couldn’t have been over 10. She extended a cheery ‘Good morning’ and right there and then, I knew I was doing this.
*****
I ran my first ‘marathon’ around 2009. The marathon is in quotes because an actual one is 42.195 km long and I took part in the 10km race. Nope, not even half! That year, I listened to the ad once and encouraged my roommates to join me.  We weren’t fit but there was still time. We jogged a bit in the subsequent days but were not serious with the training process. It soon came to an abrupt end.

Everyone I told I was participating made a joke about how I would collapse or asked me what I was smoking. This only made me more determined.
At the end of the race, in which I surprisingly did more running than walking, an aunt of mine started a mission to fatten us. Her office’s tent had plenty of bites and for University students who relied mostly on ‘rolex,’ this was heaven. So, uhm, I didn’t collapse. I don’t know if MTN was doing this for everyone but my aunt later send me a printed copy of a photograph. In it, I was running probably at kilometre 9.5 because my facial expression was one of sincere anguish. Good times.
In the years that followed, I took part in some more, halted for a bit and then ran again with the 4040 team at the Rotary cancer run last year.
This time round, I am looking forward to participating in the Hope ward run. While I have no problem with multinational companies extending a helping hand, I have first-hand experience in the struggle of smaller, non-profit initiatives. The Hope ward run is organised by the charity arm of IMG (International Medical Group), International Medical Foundation. Over the years, the Foundation has performed complex surgeries for children, provided cancer treatment and worked on victims of the LRA war in Northern Uganda who required plastic surgery, among others.
The proceeds from the run are used to support the less fortunate through their health complications. Depending on the situation, patients can receive up to 100% discount on the procedures. Having worked with the disadvantaged and seen many loved ones struggle with not just health issues but also a mostly appalling health system, I am more than happy to support this cause.
10 year old Bernard, is a beneficiary of the initiative. He was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of blood cancer. Together with the Uganda cancer institute, he started chemotherapy and was discharged on 10th April. He still receives treatment from the Hope ward.

This year’s run is dedicated to children born with birth defects. Through the funds raised, the foundation shall partner with the Paediatric association of Uganda to provide surgery and/or treatment.
Over 1,200 children and adults have benefited from lifesaving treatment through the Hope ward initiative (I just love the HOPE in that!) since 2006.
Through my work, I have seen what Ugx 1,000, 10,000 or 20,000 from several individuals can do – A LOT!
To participate in the run you only need Ugx 20,000. You can also register as a corporate team for Ugx 500,000 or 1,000,000.
I urge you to save the date November 15th and participate in this marathon.

Hope Ward Run Flier 2015
Overtime, I have heard people say, “these days people don’t want to just give, they have to get something out of it.” I do not subscribe to that school of thought. However, you can choose to make this a day out for your family, a group activity for your friends, team building with the colleagues or simply use it as a training/testing ground if you’re a fitness buff.
Whatever your reason, please come by.
I’m running, are you?

runningSaving live

Free at last! Okay, just the hands.

The past few weeks have been a roller coaster. You get all the way up there, spin around and then come back down. Before you know it, all the excited squeals you let out are but a distant memory. That pretty much sums up life though, no? That oscillation between “Wow, I do not think I have ever been this happy.” and “I can’t believe a human being can actually go through all this.!” Or something like that…
Today though. We are simply giving thanks! 🙂
For the past 6 days, I have had a cannula inside my vein as I received injections through it daily. I have a pretty high threshold for pain so this was not my biggest problem. It was having to be semi-helpless because I could only use one hand.
The first three days were trickier. It was my right hand (which pretty much does all the work) so I  struggled to complete seemingly routine activities like getting dressed. No, this had nothing to do with trying to fix size 8 clothes through a size 10 body. I eventually learnt to adjust and some days I found myself  shaking laughter when things failed. Luckily, on Saturday, I got the cannula switched to the left hand so I could do much more on my own. Freedom! Ish.
I pondered a lot about life, death and everything in between. It is disturbing the things that your mind can conjure up when you are idle. I was more thankful for my situation, knowing there are people who live without limbs ‘permanently.’ What about their patient caretakers who may have to bathe and clothe them every day? How do they deal with it?
This season did not mean that life stopped to wait for me. On the contrary, it probably moved faster. I cannot count the number of times I had to say “ I am not available, but please speak to…” At some point, even the people I was delegating to were getting overwhelmed with my workload. Although I knew this, there was little I could do. Others ensured that I felt their stress despite my situation. Yup, no cushions because life must go on!

Nevertheless, I tried to do as much as possible with my ‘one hand’ as I looked forward to Tuesday(today).
I made plans in my mind for all the things I needed to do when this phase came to an end. Unsurprisingly, the first seven or so are work related. It’s not all work though.
During my ‘break,’ I also got to read quite a bit and stare pictures on fashion blogs that got me shaking my piggy bank as if to estimate what my current savings could do.
There are these cute pumps that might be purchased or simply stared at one last time as motivation for the ‘good life.’ I fancied me a nice long warm bath to ‘wash away all this pain’ (check), I promised myself I would wave my two working hands around just for fun check, check) Oooh and God knows this body needs a massage for all the sores and awkward sleeping positions.
Last but not least, a week (more like a life) of thanksgiving for the gift of life, all my limbs, persistent friends who stick with you even when you ignore their calls and pleas to visit, the one who stuck with me through my hospital visits and my very awesome family that includes a member who just yesterday asked what in the world a cannula was plus another one who seemed pained every time he walked into my room that I wanted to comfort him instead.
Star ta fa! Season 5,678,943, Episode 1 now loading….
To God be the glory!

girl jumping

Putting pain to good use

On any other Monday, I would be as fit as a fiddle, running around trying to do anything and everything that time can allow. Instead, I am lying in bed trying to type this post at an awkward angle.
For the past five years, I have been hospitalised at least once annually for a condition that is yet to be ‘correctly’ diagnosed. It comes in small doses during the year but there is always that one episode that comes prepared to crash and burn. When this happens, I run several tests with the hope of a new, more satisfying response but these efforts are mostly futile. Still, one must keep trying!
Last week when I saw a ‘new’ doctor, I recounted this to him and he asked “Have you been admitted this year?” I happily responded in the negative and he added, “So, is today the day?” I told him I hoped we would find an actual problem this time and treat it so I could go home. Several tests were done and they each came out negative. I left with drugs to take care of the symptoms, feeling worse than I did when I made my way to seek medical attention.
The fact that I know my body sometimes turns against me means that when I am 100% healthy, I have to be 150% active. When I work, it’s like my life depends on it with 2,345 items on my to-do list. When I dance, it is to ‘finish my money,’ never mind that half the time, no money has been paid in the first place 😛

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.”

There’s a positive side to all this and I guess that is what I would like to highlight today. Experience makes you wiser and wisdom gives you insight that can help you ‘save’ others. Let’s see if I can illustrate this.
My grandfather was a humorous man who always had a joke up his sleeve. When he got Alzheimer’s, it was difficult for us to tell because most of his actions resonated with the personality we had grown to love. When he was diagnosed, it all started to make sense, albeit too late. Thankfully, he came to live with us to ensure he was surrounded by love and maximum care in his last years.
One of our family friends whom I shall call George noticed some changes with his own father a few months later. When he shared this, mom quickly recommended grandpa’s doctor. As suspected, he too, had dementia. He began treatment immediately and the gentleman who had looked after grandpa during his illness is now a caregiver to George’s dad. Whereas we lost a loved one, another family benefited from the lessons we  learnt.

The irony is that as I treat my yet to be identified condition, I am constantly dispensing mostly unsolicited advice on the meaning of certain symptoms, which specialist to see and when to seek a second opinion.
My ‘experience’ as a full-time participant in health issues concerning myself, my loved ones and those around me  has ensured that I often make the right call ‘accidentally.’
Recently, I visited a friend’s mother after her surgery and very soon the room filled up with her friends and relatives. We exchanged several ‘horror tales’ of our country’s health system. After a while, her cousin tapped me and asked “How long have you been a medical professional?”
It was sadly funny.

I guess my message today is to encourage you not to let any kind of pain go unused.
This might sound pretty strange but you need to make the most out of it, in any shape or form that you can possibly muster.

Julie lost her job and it turned out to be a great time of self reflection for her. Before long, she knew exactly who her real friends were because the fake ones walked out the door the moment they realised she was broke.
It didn’t matter that she had picked them up during their lowest moments. They quickly forgot that and became instantly unavailable whenever she needed them.
As she starts her new journey, she knows exactly whom she’s carrying along for the ride and those she will happily leave behind.

We all have these moments. They come in form of different experiences.

You break up with Bosco, the love of your life and suddenly everyone has evidence to prove that he is such a low life. *Never mind that none of these friends told you when you were together. * <smh>

Before long, your heartbreak turns into a ‘good riddance!’ and guess what, you still continue to breathe after this failed relationship.

As cliche as it sounds, what doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. The best gift you can give to your current  and future self is to deliberately seek out the lesson in each situation that threatens or even manages to break you. After all, you can’t mend that which is not broken in the first place 🙂
It’s only a matter of time before it is a distant memory and the best ‘revenge’ you can ever get is to take a seat, grab some crayons and draw your little rainbow when it’s all over.

jumping

Fresh start(s)

Today, 2nd July is the date which actually marks the middle of the year. We have completed 182 days and have 182 days to go. Congratulations! If you are reading this then you are alive and well. Well is quite relative so maybe we shall just go with alive. That is an accomplishment in itself, we might not be responsible for it but well, we are here.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” If you lived by this mantra, it would be possible to reinvent yourself and make changes every day. It’s easier said than done, though, right?
Like most people I set out to achieve a few things this year (notice the deliberate absence of that word..that rhymes with solution?) I noticed recently that some of my goals were a trap for me to fail as they were not in my control. What if you want a promotion at work and then you end up losing your job because Boss X brought his wife’s sister’s boyfriend’s son to take your position? Is that your fault? Do you then get to December and put an ‘X’ against this box? That’s a bit unfair. However, even as we made all these plans there was no guarantee we would still be here. It is important to do ones best but still remain realistic. Also, don’t be too hard on yourself.
The beginning of a month, or a week seem like easier times to start a routine. Although if we refer to a certain quote above, you can decide to close your business, withdraw your savings and travel the new world on a random Wednesday after deciding that ‘this is the day.’
According to Maxwell Maltz, who was a plastic surgeon in the 1950’s ,it takes a minimum of 21 days to form a habit. Apparently, the world chose to edit the ‘minimum’ bit and went on with a myth that indeed 21 days are enough. This article explains that after more research was done, it was found that it in fact takes about 66 days. Woah!*Hands on head.* Apparently it was inspired by this study.

Nonetheless, there’s an exception to every rule. Not to mention the researcher didn’t necessary study people living your kind of lifestyle in your city for that period of time. Every individual’s uniqueness certainly plays a role in the result.
Last month, I decided to make some of my year’s  goals a reality by taking little steps. My focus was mainly on health. I made it very simple and achievable. Take a glass of water before breakfast,and as much as possible throughout the day, do a few exercises at home and ensure my diet includes either a fruit or vegetable (or  both) every day. All these were in my control unless of course for some reason  I got ill and could not walk or suddenly there was no water supply. Lucky for me, ‘healthy food’ is usually available at home unless one chooses to ignore it.
I can’t say I formed the habits for sure because I faltered a few times. I missed out on my morning glass of water twice, the exercises I also skipped a couple of times but made up for them by doing double the next day. For the fruits and vegetables, if I had errands out of home, chances were high that I did not care to incorporate them. Thankfully, these days weren’t many and were relatively apart. Not too shabby, I think. The cherry on top is that I have all these things at the front (not back) of my mind and that pushes me to do better. Additionally, I think this is great practice for when I grow my list to include more difficult tasks.
According to ’66 day article,’ this is how to divide your time.
• Day 1-22- Be vocal about your resolve. Apparently, It is more difficult to disappoint people than yourself.(mmhh) It’s easier when you are accountable to them.
• Day 23-44: Look inward. Ask yourself why you are doing what you are doing and remind yourself about the importance
• Day 24-66: Keep moving. You are getting there
• Day 66: Celebrate. Oh and not by doing that which you set out not to do. Yes, they are saying if you were trying to get off alcohol, find a nice virgin pina colada in a colourful glass with a straw and be content 😛

I think these steps are great, if you alter them to suit your personality and routine. I only just read about them and yet I think I did fine-ish. That said, improvement is always an option even if you are at the top.
I think mid-year is a great time to reflect on your plans and even make new ones. I don’t know what works for you but I suggest a journal/notebook, reminders on your phone/PC/bedroom wall. Generally, anything and everything that will get you to where you want to be.
I am going to continue on my quest to make these ‘habits’ stick as I incorporate new items on this list that I hope will outgrow me in my pursuit for a better all-round life.

Go ahead, fly.

darling
My mini-celebration shall take place tomorrow. This is fate, I tell you! As we begin the next part of the year, I am only more determined to do more and better the old me.
My team and I have organised a night of music and poetry dubbed ‘Croak and Rhyme.’ If you are in my circles then this >> #CroakAndRhyme is very familiar and you might even be on the verge of chocking or blocking my team and I. If you do not feel like this, what a patient person you are! Also, ignore all those ‘suggestions,’ they were a bad joke.
This event is different because much as well-known Ugandan Artists will take the stage, ordinary fans and music lovers like you can have your moment of fame. It’s all for the fun of it really, that’s why it is called Croak and Rhyme and not Uganda’s finest musicians.
While you will hear ‘old hits’ performed by great artists like Joanita Kawalya of Afrigo band, the legendary Maddox and Qute Kaye, you will also see several recent favourites.
From Hip hop, to Rn’B and acapella groups, we have it all. Naava Grey, Mun G, Richy Kaweesa, Ruyonga, Benezeri, The Mith, Maro, Nutty Neithan, Shine, Canaan Gents and Sauti ya Africa.
Poets will also hit the stage to give us a dose of their talent. The event will cost you Ugx 10,000 and will take place at the Uganda Museum.

collage
All of this sounds awesome, yes? Well, I am excited even as I type! What’s more exciting is that the proceeds shall help build a dormitory for 30 girls at Elohim Children’ centre Bombo. These children also have a performance actually so you get to see them for yourself.

Please note, they are quite talented so you might leave your wallet, visa and car keys with us 😛

Elohim kids
If music and poetry don’t tickle your fancy or you are unable to make it, contact us on other ways to support the cause. Email info@40daysover40smiles.org or call 0704816607/0777499991
Good luck forming new habits, you have 6 months to go. Scratch that. You have the rest of your life. 21, days, 66 or even 10? Whatever works for you, go for it! Let me know how it goes? Also, see you tomorrow 🙂

Finding Joy

I found Joy over the weekend. The best part about her is her story.
I thought I would share ‘my’ Joy with you.
Joy is a 40 something mother of three. She is resilient and beautiful.

She is Joy 🙂
Twelve years ago her husband and then sole bread winner got a stroke that left his paralysed. Everything changed instantly.
While she had to nurse him and cater to his every need, (and I mean every need) she also had young children to raise. The couple’s savings quickly ran out as you can imagine.
Most members of the family became scarce, barely checking in or providing any support. I suppose they were too busy worrying about their own problems. Joy knocked at a few doors and then stood still.
Fast forward to today. Her eldest son is yet to join University and the two daughters are in Secondary school. She has managed by doing odd jobs from being a porter, working as a supermarket attendant to selling second hand clothes.
The ‘bigger’ bills have been taken care of by good Samaritans. Speaking of, the gentleman who was paying her son’s school fees recently had to relocate to Europe. He is quite mature and as such may not easily find work let alone continue supporting them.
I met Joy a few months ago and this was her  biggest worry. How in the world was she going to pay tuition for her son, Mark?

The Lord will provide

Her, my mum and I were actually together when she raised the issue. Her son was keen on studying law. The UACE results weren’t out yet but she was secretly hoping his grades weren’t good enough for the (more) expensive law degree. At least if he did something like Business Administration (his second choice). She didn’t know where the funds for that would come from either but it was a shorter, more manageable course.
Well, it turns out BBA was not in the cards for this young man. The results finally came out and he had done well, not the top grade but well enough.

Still, there was the issue of Pre-entry examinations.
Joy comforted Mark in advance. She let him know even if he failed, it would not be the end of the world.

He listened and kept his eye on the prize.

81% of the students who sat for this pre-entry exam failed. Mark was not one of them.
The joy! The fear of being inadequately prepared!

Let your will be done Lord

The list of students on Government sponsorship was released soon after. Mark’s name shone bright on this list.
Would Joy’s husband stick it out with her if tables were turned? I have no idea. Would I be as strong as her in those shoes? Would you be?
I don’t have the answers but I am glad I found Joy.
You can’t tell by looking at her that her heart has patches and her soul is bleeding. This makes her an even more magnificent sight.
Have you found ‘your’ Joy?

 

joy image