Celebrating Life :)

September! Oh how the months have flown by!
I am always excited about beginnings. If you tell me you have got a new job, or started a new project, I am going to blow it out of proportion. If things don’t work out, well we celebrated when we could.
New months are no different. My insomnia helps me ‘watch’ them begin, as the clock strikes midnight. No, no glass slippers, just lots of glass dreams.
I begin the months with hopes of unforeseen goodness. Surely they sometimes backfire, but the glass is always half full. *Goodness, the overuse of this glass analogy must stop* Okay. The mug of tea is always half full 😀
This month was no different. I was chatting with a few friends when I noticed one rare addition to my chats at about 23:58.. Gloria is always in bed and offline before 10:00 pm. I instantly asked her what was wrong. She said she was waiting for September. Caught the bug, have we? I thought. Two minutes later I told her we’d made it to the ninth month that happens to be our birth month. Yaay!
On twitter, I noticed she was replaying some of our conversations with the hashtag #CelebratingEsther. I simply ‘favorited’ and went to bed. The next morning I noticed a few of my friends  were doing the same. Oh well, no one will know which Esther it is. Except, a few quirks were uniquely me so it would be difficult to deny. I hid in a corner and waited for the day to end thinking they were doing it because in was the 1st of the month. Alas! it was not to be. It has continued and it is mostly sweet and bittersweet. Some experiences I actually have no recollection of. The beauty of friendship 🙂

So here I am smiling my way to ‘old age’ because everything that might have made it to my eulogy, I get to ‘hear’ while I am alive. That can only mean at the funeral, everybody will just sing and dance as they celebrate life. Oh wouldn’t that be fun?
Speaking of celebrations, last week I got a message from a gentleman who commented on one of my blog posts. It turned out he wanted to invite a few people, including myself to dinner. This invitation to dinner at Endiro coffee came with some coffee tasting too. Yes, even with my sworn love and dedication to tea, I can sip coffee. I noticed it was happening on a Thursday (which is 4040 meeting day) and almost cancelled on Cody but instead I decided to multi task. I attended the meeting for a bit then made it in time for dinner. That day I got soaked twice by the rain until it just became funny.
The guests were all female bloggers except for one gentleman who works on television. The conversations were engaging and the atmosphere pretty friendly. Being a slow eater who is often slowed even more by ‘kaboozi,’ I was shocked to realise the pork ribs and rice on my plate had disappeared in record time! I looked around and noticed almost everyone was still eating. *high fives self* The food was great, as was the company.

Cody explained that he had called us all to celebrate the positive messages in our blogs. “I want you to know that someone out there appreciates you. That is why I called you here today.” Normally, I would have broken into a loud ‘awwwww’ but I kept it silent. I was shocked when he made reference to one of my blog posts.

To be honest, I started to write because I needed to, hoping my story or those of people I know could touch a life or two. I only just recently changed my theme after a long time and don’t even know how many people follow my blog. I think sub consciously I believe if I put so much effort into numbers and appearance, it will become work. That would take the love out of it. For now though, it is just honest and I am glad someone out there appreciates it.
It was an unexpected experience which I loved. It reminded me of a time last year when I got a group of my female friends and told them we needed to give ourselves a treat. Everyone would buy their own dinner. The only condition was that they had to dress up or make up, generally do whatever else they needed to do to impress themsleves  and then have a good time. It ended up being a beautiful night where we got to know each other at a deeper level and share laughs. It coincided with a good friend’s engagement. She had been proposed to just a couple of days before. We were left swooning as she narrated her love story.
It cost us Ugx 30,000 tops and at the end of the night each one of us hitched a ride with whoever was going to our side of town. Seriously, you need to consider celebrating every milestone even in the tiniest of ways. In the absence of one, create it. “Just because it’s Tuesday” sounds doable…no?

This morning I woke up to a sweet message that ‘celebrated’ my belief in love, in people and kindness. I have read and re-read it and I can’t stop but wonder where it all began. I think it has a lot to do with all the rain and clouds that brought beautiful rainbows at the end. Where would we be without faith or love?
This month I committed myself to write at least one thing I am grateful for every day. I am hoping the 30 days will become 365 days and then life will just be an all-round celebration!
I don’t know about you but I am going to celebrate the life out of September and if you don’t do something about it, I might consume your sun light too.

celebrate

 

Carpe diem.

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Happy tears :)

While I was chatting with Barns last night, after we won the award, he ended with “I will await the blog post.” So..here it is!
For the past couple of years I would see the advert for the NSSF torch awards but I felt we were not ready. We needed to have something to our name and present a good plan. This year, when I looked at it, I felt it was time.
Thankfully, when I shared with the team, one of the members, Benjamin said he had a plan. It was then that a small team came together (virtually) to concretise this plan and send in our proposal. We joked about winning for a bit but then went back to work and ‘forgot’ about it.
A little over 10 days ago, I received a call. We were shortlisted and they needed to visit our offices to shoot a video as soon as possible. I was unavailable and found most of the team was too.  Trying to put  all of it together took the joy out of the News. We agreed to do the shoot that Saturday (18th) We participated in a charity walk organised by Wakisa Ministries to raise awareness for teen moms and then walked slowly to the office (because we had so much energy that need to be exhausted) to await the Nssf team.
When we saw the camera crew, it began to sink in. We asked about the other nominees and I can swear my insomnia worsened from that night onward . What if we win? What will this mean? Can we actually do this?
Fast forward to last night. I was glad we were able to secure invites for everyone who worked on the proposal so they could at least have a nice dinner if we didn’t win. We noticed early in the evening that we were the ‘wohoo’ table. We made more noise for the other winners than they did for themselves.
The past winners shared their testimonies and renewed our hope in humanity. Then came this year’s nominees and their incredible work from making sanitary towels for school girls to providing training for secondary school students left us in awe.

I am a bowl of nerves whether it is a competition or a celebration so you can imagine what was happening. It was so bad that Zindzi, a team member said she had felt nothing from the start but our anxiety quickly spread to her as well. We were leaving no one behind!
Different regions were awarded as we tensed up and held hands, cracked stale jokes and sang along to the band’s music. Anything for a distraction! Finally, they got to Central region and we were NOT mentioned. The young lady who won happens to be called Esther. She is only 19 and working to protect young mothers under her organisation Child care and Rescue Program. I was amazed by this teenager!

We celebrated her while trying not to think about our own disappointment. Only one award was left, the national award and that couldn’t be us. Could it?
There was some suspense and finally they mentioned that the next organisation had impressed the most and would win the coveted Ugx 20 million cash prize handed over by the First lady, Hon. Janet Museveni. That group happened to be…Yes, you guessed it 4040 !
What happened next is still a bit of a blur. We pretty much broke into tears at the same time. There were cameras, people and.. more cameras and more people. Somehow, we got strength to walk up to the podium.
I kept crying and the handshake with the First lady quickly ‘evolved’ into a hug. There I was weeping and she took me into her arms and it was not awkward at all (really?) The team that had gathered around hugged her in turns. *this was all normal*  She handed over the award and dummy cheque (for 20 million shillings!!) along with Hon. Bahati, the NSSF Managing Director Mr. Richard Byarugaba and his pleasant Deputy, Geraldine.

 

gloria hug

first lady
We were ushered off the stage for the guest of honour to give her speech. She spent the first few minutes applauding our work. I can’t confirm this for sure because I was high on emotions but amidst my astonishment, I think I heard her say that ‘Uganda’s future is secure if it has young people like these (4040) doing such work.

This was the exact moment actually. No lie! She is gesturing towards us on the left. Nope. I t wasn't a dream.

This was the exact moment actually. No lie! She is gesturing towards us on the left. Nope. I t wasn’t a dream.

 

After a few photographs, she left the function (before we could exchange phone numbers, sigh)

group
A three course meal was served but you can’t pay me to tell you what that tasted like. I also have no idea what I said in the acceptance speech.

These were all side shows after we saw that cheque.
Breaks into song “It’s not about the money money money, We don’t need your money money, money.” *NOT!*

I kid. That moment itself, in its entirety was really everything.
While at the washrooms, a lady came in and said “Congratulations.” Just as I was completing my thank yous, she added “But you are so emotional!” Neither her tone nor facial expression suggested this was a compliment (Apparently washrooms are not free of judgement) While the other ladies who were with me exclaimed at her reaction, so many thoughts quickly went through my mind. Wouldn’t she be emotional if she had gone through what we have? Does she know how many proposals we have written and been turned down? Could she comprehend the gravity of this win for us? Well, I guess my questions shall remain unanswered and it’s okay because I certainly do not think anyone needs to justify their tears, or laughter for that matter.
We stayed and danced to every song the band played and when they were done, we turned to the DJ’s music. Thankfully, Mr.MD stayed for a while so we had more time to ‘celebrate’ but sadly, every good thing does come to an end. What an amazing Monday it was!
I barely slept and my poor mother has confessed that after we spoke just before midnight, her sleep did not return till much later. I did realise in that moment, as I do now that not everyone gets an opportunity to chase their dreams, have a great support system and also live to tale. It is for that very reason that I will share this story for as long as I can talk, write and breathe.
Unlike many of the previous awards, the public’s vote did not count. A panel chose us from the over 350 applications received from all over the country. However, if it wasn’t for the public’s support up till now, we would never have achieved enough to achieve the level of credibility we can now boast of and for that we are eternally grateful.
Our (winning) proposal *yaay* was for a children’s community library in Luweero because we believe in education and strongly advocate for literacy. Even if this amount can have us complete our dormitory in days (literally) we have to stick to what it was meant for. The good News is, by the end of this year we shall have a dormitory and a library up and running. How awesome is that?
This award means more to us because a Uganda company is supporting us, a Ugandan organisation. This represents one of the core messages we like to share which is that we are perfectly capable of writing our very own happy Ugandan tale, and essentially African tale by supporting our own. It takes a village to raise a child and we have plenty of villages..and children, so why not?
Thank you NSSF for believing in us and other local organisations. I am also grateful to everyone for supporting us thus far and the amazing behind the scenes 4040 team.

To God be the glory 🙂
A luta Continua!

Listen

I do not know what you are going through right now. Quite frankly, no one does except you.

I know this because no matter how much of yourself you actually share, only you can truly feel some things, if you get my drift.

If I had never been rushed to hospital in the middle of the night, in an ambulance, I would not know what it feels like to stare death in the face.

If I had not been raised by parents who opened their doors to everyone, giving would probably be a chore.

Had I not dreamt a dream bigger than me, I may never have had the opportunity to witness the beautiful souls of human beings Vs the extremely callous.

See, a big part of who we become is a result of our experiences. It is simply sad that for many of us, our sad past means ‘punishing’ the world when we ‘make it.’ Moreover, we often reward good with evil.

Like many years before it, I started 2015 with great hopes of a better everything. It started out rougher than I anticipated which made me rethink all my mantras.

When I wasn’t lost in my own little world, I was out there pretending everything was okay. Sometimes, I did both-half day locked up, the other half smiling with the world.

Do you ever have those days when you tell your loved ones just enough for then to feel like you have let them in while still holding on to the details that matter? Do you find yourself more worried about worrying them than about that which keeps you awake at night? Well, it all occurred and then some.

Time did not wait. Life continued.

A couple of days ago, on a dimly lit road, something happened. Right in the middle of nowhere as my ‘chauffeur’ glued her eyes to the front and I sang along to Jennifer Lopez’s waiting for tonight. I felt an inexplicable joy in my heart. Everything was still for a split second and I thought to myself, “I am alright. I am okay.” It was at this point that I started reflecting on the past few months and realising how far we had come. Yes, we. My soul and I.

I thought to myself, perhaps sharing this tale with someone will give them renewed hope, so here I am.

Truth is, not very much has changed but it is also not very easy to achieve complete nirvana.

Something will always come up whether it is trivial like why the sales girl is always dressed better than you yet she earns a quarter of your salary or serious like sitting through your mum’s chemotherapy session wondering how much longer she will be with you.

I have categorised the things that trouble me as follows;

-Things I cannot change

-Things I can try to change, keeping in mind other people are involved (hence it isn’t 100% up to me)

-Things I can change

In this regard, I actively play my part and acknowledge that things may or may not work.

I know it is difficult to keep hope alive when everything around you is telling you the exact opposite, do it anyway. While at it, allow yourself to fall, breakdown, yell,cry, and roll in the mud. That dramatic stuff can scare your troubles away :P. I kid. Bottom line, after all that, stiffen that upper lip and show life what you are made of. Musical interlude: *I am tiiiiitttttaaaaannnnniiiiuuuummmm! *

So, what I really wanted to say is; Listen.

LISTENNNN

Whether you are in an unhappy relationship or unemployed, lacking in motivation or balance; sick physically and/or emotionally. Listen.

The voice of reason will find you if you let it.

That whisper saying “Stop the self-pity and take a few risks” shall be heard. Heck, it may even come to you on the dance floor!

Allow yourself to listen. Allow yourself to breathe.

Live!

 

Fare thee well

Viv sent me a link yesterday. I decided to wait till I was ‘free’ and comfortable before I could read it.

Little did I know that this blog post here, would change everything.

I sobbed pretty much through the entire thing.

It was deep, painful and I repeat, painful.

I don’t know if it was because I could relate to this numbing pain that outwits the mightiest of painkillers or the fact that someone was going through it, in real time.

Maybe it was Mbugua’s unwavering faith and the strength I could feel oozing from him as my shaky index finger scrolled to unveil a new paragraph.

Perhaps it was the fact that I was in a bad place myself and was suddenly guilty of not being thankful or even worthy enough.

Whatever it was, the post broke me into so many pieces and before I could recover, I sent Viv a message telling her all the things that I felt.

Her reply was “I just felt that you could relate and appreciate it. Must have been God speaking.”

I told her she was right and that I planned to read all his blog posts. She cut me short with the heartbreaking news that my newfound hero passed away on Sunday. The horror!

She cut me short with the heartbreaking news that my newfound hero had passed away on Sunday. Oh the horror!

I was almost  mad at her for giving me a good thing, then taking it away. If I felt like this, what about his family, his friends?

As if things could not get any worse, I found out he got better along the way and even proposed to his girlfriend who has been by his side the whole time. Now he was no more. Whyyyyyyyy?????!

“Lucky” for me I generally have trouble sleeping so I had plenty of time to mourn, pray and ponder life in all its complexity.

I was both humbled and convicted by a paragraph within his blog post where he dared to ask the question “Is all this pain worth it?” I have to share this.

To answer the question of whether it is worth it to go through this painful experience: If by this pain I have been a witness to the truth and glory of Christ; if by this pain I have strengthened and encouraged a believer; If by this pain I might have pointed someone to Jesus and caused them to desire a personal relationship with Him, Yes, it is worth it. My body will probably disagree, and it is expected, but I choose to side with my spirit and soul, which vehemently affirm.

Whether you are a believer or not, I am convinced each of us has a role to play, an innate ability, to inspire others even  in the slightest of ways.

We may not all be eloquent or confident  enough to stand tall and speak of God’s goodness but that we are alive is enough. For what better way to testify than to live your life? e have no excuse for simply existing because every minute is an opportunity for us to be a living testimony for everyone we encounter.

We have no excuse for simply existing because every minute is an opportunity for us to be a living testimony for all the people that we encounter along life’s path.

I visited the late Mbugua’s facebook page,  A prayer for Mbugua that has been open throughout his illness with updates and so many uplifting words of comfort and support.

It is evident he touched so many lives through his strength, faith and words.

I might have gotten to ‘know’ him at a time when he was saying farewell but he has impacted my life too.

The hospital bill was cleared as an emergency finance so that the family could leave the hospital in India. If I remember correctly, Mbugua’s body arrives in Kenya today.I got this number from the facebook page 0706551777 for contributions via Mpesa. At least the family can concentrate on mourning, knowing the financial burden has been lifted. Do support if you can.

Death is a thief and it takes those whom we feel most deserve to be with us but there is comfort in knowing that he who is no longer with us gave us great memories, and in Mbugua’s case inspiration too.

I did not know this graceful gentleman who lost his battle to cancer, but from the little I have learnt in the past few hours even I have a story to tell.

Rest easy Mbugua, may your memory continue to inspire and bless the ones you left behind.

verse

Unwritten

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

How do I know that I am out of my zone?  When I can’t write.

When I begin but stop midway-

When I lose my flow even when I know exactly what I want to say, what I need to say.

It is not from lack of what to say, No.

In fact, it is quite possibly the overabundance of things to say.

Perhaps it is that my experiences are not pleasant and putting my thoughts down will make them real(er)

Maybe I am trying with all my might, to get as far away from righteous indignation as I possibly can

All this so that I don’t allow myself to play victim.

It is not a look that I wear well.

It is off season, every season.

“I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.”

sunset

It could be the fact that optimism usually comes naturally. Lately, though, even getting it from other sources frustrates me.

When did a good thing in the very nature of its definition become so repulsive?

I suppose that shall be added to the long list of unanswered questions.

The stubbornness of hope, still manages to creep in though, urging you on every chance it gets, even when your situation tells you the direct opposite.

I suppose if you can muster only a fragment of it, that is one step further away from despair.

 

“When a man is in despair, it means that he still believes in something.”

All I want for Christmas..

Monica tells me she no longer ‘feels’ Christmas the way she did when she was little.
“Back then, all our step mothers would come with their children. There was so many people and the house was filled with joy,” she recollects.
She was too young to think about which ‘wife’ was treated better or investigate why, she of all children rarely got the ‘Christmas dress’ she desired. She simply enjoyed the holiday.
As she grew older, she soon realised that the absence of her mother, who passed away when she was little, meant there was no one to stand up for her. Nonetheless, Christmas was Christmas and she would enjoy it at all costs.
I promised her we would put up the Christmas tree together. I don’t know if it is going to help but I certainly won’t let her to lose the spirit of Christmas on my watch!
Like her, having the family together is one of my favourite things about this season.
Musical interlude >>>

Little Baby, pa rum pum pum pum
I am a poor boy too, pa rum pum pum pum
I have no gift to bring, pa rum pum pum pum
That’s fit to give a king, pa rum pum pum
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Shall I play for you, pa rum pum pum pum,
On my drum?

Mary nodded, pa rum pum pum pum
The ox and lamb kept time, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my drum for Him, pa rum pum pum pum
I played my best for Him, pa rum pum pum pum,
rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum,

Then He smiled at me, pa rum pum pum pum
Me and my drum.

Don’t let them tell you you’re not good enough
Don’t let them tell you you’re not strong enough
Me and my drum we’re gonna change the world

I realise that Christmas has been overly  commercialised and I have encountered several people who simply do not see the fuss.
I say, if Christmas will give us reason to visit our folks in the village, spend more time together, give more than usual, shop for the family and have our city light up, then I can deal with people who have lost the sense of what it is truly about.
Perhaps your calendar does not agree that Jesus was born on 25th December, heck maybe you do not even believe in his existence. That is okay. The one language that should rise above religion, sex, race or beliefs is love. It should not take the festive season to remind us to love, but here I am asking you to be engaged in full gear.
See, I am in the ‘business’ of love and spreading it is my trade. At 40-40, we try to make it ‘Christmas every day.’ Even when it is not, we are spending time planning to make this ‘spirit’ manifest in the lives of the children we support and you, the giver.
Whereas this is not the easiest trade, with most transactions being felt and seen, it is also pretty fulfilling. We get paid in hugs and smiles! 😀
I have a wish list of my own, I am sure we all do somewhere. Some things I may never acquire, others I could even find tomorrow. Working towards this list is not easy but at least I have faith and I have the mind to accept what can’t be.
There is a group of special people I know though, they need to be reminded to believe, to be shown that hope is very much alive.
This year we are asking you to join us and make Christmas memorable for these beautiful children we support. Some are orphans, others were abandoned and a number of them are battling cancer.
When asked what he wanted for Christmas, Daniel did not hesitate to let us know he needed new clothes for church. Sunday is the day he actually gets to go out to the ‘real world’ without wearing a uniform or struggling for space. The blue shirt he often wears is a bit worn out. Also, it is not really his because on some Sundays, Moses wears it. This is his chance to own something that truly belongs to him.
At 15 years old, what is it you desperately wanted?
We want to give Daniel his outfit and make the wishes of 50 other children come true.
Their desires are modest, a pair of shoes here, a football there, some toys and watches in between.
Thanks to the support from our friends and networks, we shall be wrapping these gifts this evening.
christmas morn
To be honest, if 40-40 did nothing else all year round and simply gave these, often forgotten children one beautiful day and that gift they had their eyes on, I would be content. As a plus for me, we are involved in a lot more.
Do join us this Saturday at Akiba for a day of giving, laughter, food, games and pure unadulterated fun.
This Christmas party may lift the spirits of the kids but I daresay, your own life could be changed forever.
santa es+baby
In case I don’t ‘see’ you soon, have a very Merry Christmas and fulfilling 2015!

Cheers to the future

A couple of weeks ago, I started a new year, a new chapter in my life.

Unlike past birthdays, this was the first one where my mindset switched from “Where did all the years go?” to “I cannot wait for what the next few years have to offer.”

This past year was also one of growth and maturity (or so I hope) and I have learnt a few things, noticed others that hitherto silently passed me by but mostly I am grateful for  several things that will probably not all be tackled in this post.

Providence, family, friends

I didn’t think that I would quit my job for my passion and I did not know if I would last. I did it anyway..and here we are.

It is one thing to believe in something so much you will give anything for it, it is completely different to have people believe with you.

I have been blessed by God in countless ways but the most important gifts he has sent have come in form of angels that I call my family and friends.

We do not always agree or even pretend to. Many of them saw what could go wrong with my choices, and continue to remind me how precarious it is, but they stay anyway.

What we all deserve is someone/some people who are willing to put their doubts aside and support us, if for anything-just because it is what we need.

 

The will, the drive, the strength to carry on

 

I am not a morning person mostly because I get very little sleep at night and then actually begin to rest just before sunrise so conversations, phone calls, work that start this early often mess with my system and I avoid them when I can.

Nevertheless, I do them anyway. There are t.v interviews I have had to do which involved getting there before 7a.m, appointments with people who have no time besides those early hours and I can’t begin explaining my issues.

So, that boda has to be flagged down and the cold braced. When there, sense has to be made even if you are there only in body.

The rain has showered me from time to time but I think of them as hazards that come with the job.

What is most challenging is the fact that there are no ‘direct results’ and even if they come, they take a while. Unlike the early bird who will get to his stall and  target those heading to work to increase sales, I will talk till I am out of breath, meet everyone I can to sell this dream and the wait. Simply sit tight and wait.

I am grateful for the patience to wait, and to have something that I believe in- to wait upon.

When it comes to strength, even I have no idea where it comes from. Sometimes 36 hour days occur and you can’t explain to an ‘ordinary person’ what it is you were up to, many times not even yourself.

It is funny how people are so quick to judge based on physical appearances.

Big=strong, Small=weak. What is worse is that they openly admit it.

“You are Esther? I didn’t expect you to be so young and this small.”

Me: I had no expectations of what you should look like but that is just me.

The 40/4o team recently participated in the cancer run.The idea was that we stick together whether we have to jog, walk or crawl, and we did. I had not eaten well for the past few days but I didn’t give it much thought. That was until my stomach started to act up after we reached the 5km mark or so. When my friends would say, let us run downhill, I would gesture that I was right behind them but the truth is I was barely managing.

Somehow, I grabbed one of them and told them the truth on one condition- we finished the race no matter what. We did 🙂

I want to say size is not everything but it would be redundant.

The mother’s ‘motoka’ eh!

I learnt how to drive when I was about 18 and I thought at the time it would be a nice skill to have for the ‘future.’

Driving was easy but road users were not. I got so many insults for being ‘mu kintu,‘ coming from the ‘privileged side’ or simply for being young and a woman. This would mostly happen when stuck in traffic especially next to taxi. I started to always have the window up no matter what or pretend not to understand Luganda.

The skill did come in handy! Before long, I was the go to person to pick that relative arriving at 5a.m or drop another to the bus station at 12a.m. Was this the reason driving school fees were paid? Well played.

No but seriously, I did my duties grudgingly but with a lot of love 🙂

Fast forward to the past year, after worrying about her daughter’s late nights and endless meetings, events and appointments, the mother decided to give her blessing. If I was coming late, I needed a trusted chauffeur or her very own car. That is how the ‘small’ woman above ^^ began to worry less about those constant meetings, pick ups, deliveries and for that I am truly grateful!

40-40 registered, complete with an office and bank account

There was a time when Banura and I would have millions of shillings for a particular projects. We could not bank this money in our personal accounts because, you know and then keeping it was also not the best idea.

When your friend in the UK says they have sent 100 pounds, you run to western union and withdraw it. You get to your favourite restaurant and a menu with scrumptious meals is brought before you. You check your wallet and look at the crisp new shillings you got from the exchange and none of them are yours. So you order for mirinda fruity, with ice instead. Don’t ask about the ice, it is a long story.

Those days are now over, no more nightmares about missing funds that were meant for the children. Temptations are fewer.

As`we hunted for banks, one Relationship Manager told us ’40 days over 40 smiles’ sounded like a forged name. That did bite quite a bit, but when I look at our registration certificate,the office, that one dedicated employee and a bank statement- I am more than thankful. Also, I know that this will make for a good story one day 🙂

Sleep/Rest, when it does show up

I am very thankful for the gift of sleep. It might not always be there but when it is- ooh the joy!

Sometimes I wonder if I had a boss what I would say. “Sorry I came in at 11, the sleep only came to me at 6. You understand, right? Thanks”

My schedule can be crazy but at least it is on my terms, okay mostly it is. When I wear myself thin, it is my choice and oh how I cherish the ability to blame myself for my own bad decisions.

I know who I am

The first thing that comes to me is the gospel song “I know who God says I ma, What He says I am, where He says am at, I know who I am.”

When you really know who you are, to the extent that you are not shaken by what people think or say of you, you are walking a fine road.

I can’t pretend to have got to that level,more so when it comes to people I care about being on the ‘other side.’ However I am comfortable in what is within, knowing that it belongs to me and I am in control of it.

Everything else that is external shall come and go with age and time but the soul is eternal.

In William Ernest Henley’s words, “I am the master of my fate,I am the captain of my soul.”

My Mony

This lady right here came to my heart and never left.

When I get out of bed and the folks are already at work, I first find her, ask how her night was and then my day can begin.

We have whined, prayed, sang, shopped and pretty much done everything together.

When she finds me meddling in the kitchen, she will ask what I need and fix it, especially those days when a meal is the last thing on my mind.We have an inside joke that even if you have had a meal at a 5 star Hotel, you will still come home and have at least something.

She has loved my family and I and all those who have walked through our doors. Quite frankly, I do not know what we shall do without her.

For now though, I must maximise her calm, generous and prayerful self 🙂

There are so many things to be thankful for and beautiful lessons that have not come easy but have come nonetheless.

Your dream won’t let you be still

The most used ‘app’ on my phone is the ‘notes’ because there is always a new thought,idea or reminder to make 40-40 better. This is on top of the hundreds of notebooks I own (each with different contents I might add).
You can’t stop. You won’t stop. Once the dream begins to grow, you want everyone to feel the way you do, the adrenaline, the pain,the passion, if not for this dream- then for something else because you can’t imagine anyone living without at least one thing that makes them momentarily insane.

The dreams and nightmares too:P

It is one day to Hoops for Grace. We have planned it for a while and we hope it will be massive.  We can only do our bit. Some people on the team started having dreams about it as far back as last week, sleep is becoming elusive and of course there is that drama from within and without that will always be there.

It is funny when it isn’t sad. I would love for it to work, to show the dedicated people that even a handful of people can make huge impact and that their work did not go to waste.

Mostly, I want it to work because the children at Akiba Foundation need a home that has no sign of cancer except the meds that shall be hidden in shelves.

This Saturday, come to bush court and change a life! If you can’t, feel free to make a donation to the worthy cause.

hoops poster

What goes around comes around

So many incidents come to mind but the one that I have recently been musing over occurred sometime back.

The manager of a restaurant we were having our meetings scolded me for having meetings where our consumption reduces each week. It was in a good location since the office was too far for most people.

I asked him to let us know if he wanted us out because we would do it.

Exactly two weeks after he called me back. I knew my bluff had been called but alas. “I have realised that you are good at mobilising people. Can you help us get more clients using your networks?”

I needed several moments to recover. A few months later, he was no longer employed there. Perhaps he is in a better place:)

As soon as religion comes to dominate, it has as its opponents all those who would have been its first disciples

How true is that? Replace ‘religion’ with any experience you have and see that loyalty is ranks highly on the the world’s ‘endangered species’

I read a story once of a dog that had been going to the cemetery where its master was laid to rest, everyday for years and the caretaker always waited till it had left before closing the gates.

I might not understand people who leave their wealth to animals. However, I imagine after dealing with betrayal from the human race, a loyal dog or cat may not be such  a bad idea.

The strongest people crumble and fall, the most fickle also have their days of victory.

I have learnt that forgiveness is a gift to yourself. I have also seen the power in silence. When you are wrong, admit, and once you see that you are right, save everyone the ‘I told you so.” The person you are telling knows you told them and so do you. ‘Riyalle’ save that breath for like a Uganda Cranes match.

People will give you 2% after you have invested 100% but if it was never about them anyway, then you march away with your head high and your 100% that they may never find anywhere else!

We have digressed but..we go.

The past year was a good one, even in its bad times-it was good.*We are strongest when we are weak* I mean,even the stone that the builders threw away became the cornerstone 🙂

We ought to be as wise as the man who built his house on a rock.

My birthday month is now gone *tear* but I have beautiful memories to last me a lifetime.

Everyone of you who made my day great and the days before or after, you know I love you and I try to show it rather than say it. The real rebeauty though, is in all the years ahead of us.

Every gift,cake,message, song that I got from those that know me well has a story. Those are the stories I want to build on with each and everyone of you, for a lifetime 🙂

cake 1 es

cake 2

 

cake 3

I might add I didn't sit at the front in school but eh!! *breaks into song...meet me at the river*

I might add I didn’t sit at the front in school but eh!! *breaks into song…meet me at the river*

See you at Hoops for Grace on Saturday. I can’t wait for the blog post when I tell you how amazing it was!! 🙂

Xoxo