War room

I had it on my to do list to watch the movie ‘War room’ but the opportunity did not present itself until last night. I am glad it did because I have an uncanny talent that leads me to watch movies several months or even years after their release *SOS*

From the on-set, you can tell that it did not cost an arm and leg to shoot this movie. The actors were unknown to me, which was both a good an bad thing. Good because you get to discover new talent and bad because there are scenes in which I had someone in my mind who I thought could have given a stronger performance. Nonetheless, the message was brought safely home and that is the most important part.
P.S If you have watched Courageous or Fireproof, the brothers behind it; Stephen and Alex Kendrick produced War room. If you haven’t, I recommend them 🙂

Without giving away too much; In the movie, Elizabeth is married to Tony and they have one daughter, Danielle. Elizabeth is unhappy in her marriage mainly because her husband does not listen to her, verbally abuses her, is drawn to other women and has no time for her or their daughter. When Elizabeth meets an elderly lady, Clara during her rounds as a realtor, she is introduced to ‘The war room.’ This room is a small room that was once a closet but Clara turned into a prayer room to pray for her husband and family. Here, she spends quiet time with the Lord and articulates her needs while crying out to him.  She tries to encourage Elizabeth to do the same. Elizabeth is adamant at the beginning but later submits. It is when she (Elizabeth) is fully immersed in faith and belief in the power of prayer that her life begins to turn around.

If you are a Christian or a spiritual person watching this movie, it presents moments of conviction, learning and reflection among other things. If you are agnostic or even an atheist, there will probably be moments when you’ll roll your eyes till you can see your brain. Hopefully though, after the eye roll, you can appreciate one or two messages therein.

On a personal level, I could relate to this movie in many ways. I actually remember a time a few years ago when the phrase ‘I’ll pray for you’ sometimes rubbed me the wrong way. It is not that I did not believe in the power of prayer, it is that I wanted it to be backed by some tangible support. If hypothetically I told someone we are trying to raise money for a loved one who needed an urgent operation. I expected them to either offer support, ideas, ask me how they could help or at the very least offer to/spread the word. If there first reaction was ‘I’ll pray for you,’ I felt cheated for lack of a better word. However, I have come to realise that if it the prayer is more than just a promise, if someone is actually going out of their way to pray for you, prayer does indeed change things. Fast forward to the ‘current me,’ I am now the one ‘stressing’ people with my I’ll pray for you. I am very much still an advocate of backing prayer with action. After all, faith without actions is dead. So, for example, while I pray for my unemployed friends to get job, I shall also send them links for jobs, offer to proof read their applications and then provide as much moral support as possible. You need not restrain yourself from going the extra mile, in prayer or action.

prayer

In the movie, the underlying theme is prayer so you might think, “If my spouse is abusing me, should I just go into a closet and pray?” There are obviously many other courses of action but I believe the writers/producers saw the need to remind us that before we should not involve the world or fight battles alone when we can begin with letting it all go and submitting to the Lord. Once you know that ‘someone’ stronger, mightier and more capable than you is taking care of your business, it is easier to worry less and sleep more.

sin

Last week, I had my own rock chasing me downhill. I was not able or willing to reveal its full intensity. One night,I decided to seek out to a few friends whom I knew would pray with/for me even when I failed to myself. I mentioned exactly what I wanted and then I went to sleep. The next day I woke up with that “I believe I can fly” attitude. I was singing and dancing in my room like I was being paid. Had all my problems vanished overnight? Not at all. Did I believe that they would? Yes. Did reminding myself that I was incapable of fighting alone help? Yes. Did my prayer and that of my loved ones change things? Oh yes!

faith

I am no expert in these matters, far from it. However, I have seen what suffering does to people. I have seen what it does to me. I know what it is like to feel like there is nowhere to turn, like God has forsaken you. Except, that is when he is working overtime! He allows trouble to pursue you and I. Through these troubles, he leads us to discover the gifts in darkness, the lessons from tribulation. I can’t reiterate enough what joy there is in learning how to wait, to be still in anticipation of his next move. While me may need to wait for him sometimes, other times he calls us to leap. To leave everything we know and love and go on a journey. Think of all the faithful men and women in the Bible. Now begin to meditate on the trials each of them overcame. Did God test them because he hated them or did he allow their faith to transform them? And so the learning continues…

John-1010

Overall, it was a good watch, with many learning points. It would be nice to watch it with your spouse and is suitable for family viewing.

Recommended music from the movie

Shake loose- Vickie Winans

Press on- Mandisa

Warrior – Steven Curtis Chapman

Crazy faith- John Waller

To know you- Casting Crowns

Healing begins- Tenth Avenue North

What were your thoughts when you watched the movie?Do share 🙂

X

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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!

Giant Killer*

“You’ve got to understand the anointing.”

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

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

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

His name is David.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saul said, “Go. And God help you!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

David

This could be you…

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

Did you prove them wrong? Are you ready to?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Shall you kill a giant today? 🙂

Life-Precious (Part II)

If you do not remember or did not read what part I was about, it was basically a summary of events that occured a fortnight ago as I battled ill health.

I left out a few of the other parts so it would not be so crowded.

The day I git admitted, a gentleman who knows mum came to my room. It was filled with my friends and we were chatting away. “What are you sick of, he asked, Is it malaria?” By then I hadn’t even been told the diagnosis so my response was unclear. This sparked off a one-man conversation that I had not anticipated. “What would a young girl like you be suffering from?,” he mused pondered out loud. “If it is not malaria, it must be issues related to men.”

The mother burst into laughter and would not ‘recover’ for the next 24 hours. Of course my friends began to joke that I was love sick, hysterical or heart broken. All this while I was thinking but the near-stranger in here has guts.

Poor Uganda. The only disease we ‘accept’ is malaria? How sad. This guy also laughed himself into a stupor till he left. It was hilarious. Mum later told me he is a driver for a company that makes deliveries at her office. She barely knows him. The fact that he was that cheerful around people he barely knew amused me even further.

Later that night, I asked mum to go and get an update on my lab results. I heard her laugh a few minutes later. It is so distinct, you can’t miss it. When she returned I asked what was funny. She was shocked it had ‘reached’ me.

She explained that she had met someone who asked her why she was in hospital. When she told him I was sick, he asked. <drum roll> “Is it malaria?” I am sure he thought she was insane because she laughed at her inside joke and left. See,  the entertainment for that first night was covered 🙂

The less you know…

The next evening, another patient was brought it. There were two non-practicing journalists(mum and I) in there so we found out he spoke Swahili. A few pleasantries were exchanged and then we went on about our lives.

On day 3 however, as we spoke to a nurse, we found out the patient had no family or food. He had been dumped at the hospital. Mummy dearest went over and obviously returned with full details.

This Congolese National had been ‘hired’ by a Pastor and was working with a church in Kampala. He too did pastoral work. When he got ill, the Pastor dropped him, left 20,000 shillings and disappeared. What can 20,000 shillings even do? Being admitted obviously comes with extra costs but by the time we left, the nurses had promised to treat him with or without payment. *They asked him to go to Mulago before but he declined*

Mum began to give him meals until we left but one can only imagine what became of him after.

I would like to begin a rant which focuses on Christians and our lack of compassion, hypocrisy and other related issues but I shall save it.

My little testimony here is/was, laughter and a short conversation that begins with “how are you?” can be all it takes to make someone feel better 🙂

The day after I left hospital, I found out about two breakthroughs that had happened in lives of friends I was praying for.

1. Liz(not real name) graduated on 1st November. This should not be such a big deal ordinarily, except it is.

See Liz is about 34 years old. She decided to pursue a degree against all odds, cut her hair short and shared a class with 19 year olds who downloaded I phone apps while she raised her 3 children and juggled coursework and wife duties.

As if this was not enough, her husband was diagnosed with Hepatitis B, a disease that is 50-100 times more infectious that HIV. His treatment was costly and now more than ever the children needed her.

While all this was happening she got mugged after lectures, twice. One time it was so bad she literally crawled home. After such a dreadful year, she graduated with honours.

How many people do you know who have had everything given to them on a silver platter and still collected more retakes than awards?

She is super woman and she does not even know it 🙂

2) Jenny is a good friend who is quiet but somehow surfaces at the right time. Our friendship isn’t conventional and sometimes we go a month without speaking. Nonetheless, we mourn and laugh together.

About three months ago I was in a rut. I took her to lunch because I had been procrastinating. During the meal, she broke down in a crowded restaurant. I was crashed. I would later find out her family was losing their family home to the bank because of one mistake and Jenny had also been recently cheated on by someone she thought was her soul mate.

All my problems became inconsequential and I felt terrible for being so helpless.

For all the time I have known her, she has been unhappy at her work place and constantly getting so close to getting a good job but only managing to come in second place.

Well, on this suddenly cheery Monday she let me know she had finally got a good job and was to start right away. She would then move her mother to a nice place and begin to save, something she had been unable to do in all her un fulfilling yet demanding positions.

All things work together for the good of those who love HIM!!

Why is life precious? Well, we are granted second chances, sometimes even more and it is up to us to utilise them, over and over again.

Are you the only one who is suffering? No! In fact, your misery pales in comparison to the ‘happy’ smart lady in your office. She smiles because she is out of tears.

What can you do?

Treat life like the miracle it is and your loved ones like the precious gifts they are 🙂

 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

xoxo

suuun

Life-Precious (Part 1)

At exactly this time last week I was doing what seemed like fighting for my life. It is for this reason that I have since put myself on pressure to get busy and be completely occupied at all hours for fear that still moments shall create an avenue for an episode..

How?

I had been feeling ill on and off for weeks but I simply took medication and carried on like everything was normal while my system silently crashed. It eventually gave in.

The Irony

On October 29th I received a Vocational service award from Rotaract for work done with 40-40.

Needless to say, I was surprised and excited before, during and after. I knew that this would do a lot for the team’s morale and also serve as a reminder that we are on the right track. I hope it did because on my part, I am still amazed.

Anyone who saw me that day realised I was as bubbly as always but perhaps a little more laid back because this experience humbled me even more.

Coincidentally, three years ago on that exact date, I was hospitalised and missed my graduation. This time, I was receiving an award. Weird,right?

I told a friend later that night something within me did not feel right. I later felt selfish for ‘whining’ when I should have been celebrating. After a silent prayer, I ‘forced’ sleep. I was to wake up at 4 a.m with the mother of all stomach pains. This was the beginning of a week long series of not-so-exciting-events.

The worst bit about experiencing pain over and over again is that sometimes you begin to think you deserve it and that it is ‘normal.’ This dim thinking is what got me to spend the day at home ignoring the fact that I was weak, nauseated and generally far from fine; this and the fact that my parents were unavailable and I had no ‘safe’ means to leave home.

When mum called later that afternoon, I told her I was ‘a bit sick’ but would await her return.

She got home and we drove to the hospital. Hardly had we arrived when I was drenched in drips and medication. I did not sleep that night.

Let’s get back to Thursday. I did not want my friends to know. In fact, I am still getting angry messages and calls from those that got the news after the ‘drama’ was over. It is difficult to explain, but once you have lived a certain life, you stop alarming people each time you have an ache. In many cases, they are fighting a different battle and you just want to let it be. Sometimes though, you want them to keep the image of ‘smiley you’ in their memory while you take care of the fight on the other side.

The friends who made it to hospital that afternoon did not head back to their offices.Two even left but found me in a bad state then decided to camp with me a little longer. I know that my condition scared them and if I could rewrite the script, I would have them sit in  a beautiful room as I battled with the devil alongside medical personnel who see such hurting often.

On the other hand though, I am glad they held the mantle as mum rested because she was to experience many other troubled nights that week on my account. Their presence made it all easier.

The Wonder

Through all my pain and anguish, these guys sat and prayed for and with me, sacrificed time and threw in a few anecdotes that just kept me going.

At some point I broke down not only because of the pain within but also as a result of stupid self pity, self loathe and several other emotions that I can’t quite expound in writing. It was not a new experience. In that moment though, I felt I had had enough.

I eventually calmed down.

Throughout my stay at the hospital I got no less than 20 drips and about 15 injections. I did not eat for 4 days and had to get supplements through the drips. When I would see the doctors cringe, I would think ‘Please smile so I can get some reassurance,’ but their reactions were simply natural. It is this stuff that moulds you munange. One day I will be a rock inside, oba diamond? 😉

Light moments

I had to search for sleep amidst sounds of Radio and Weasel, Mafiki zolo and Konshens at nearby bars between Thursday and Saturday. I often laughed at myself.

On Friday night, I actually heard a lady scream ‘woooooo’ when ‘her’ jam played. That could very easily have been me on any given day. I often scream or sing along when songs I love play. Instead, I was trying to stay in one position so that the drip would not move. It was a sad kind of funny.

Other dramatic events gave us hosptal peeps good laughs, from random guest’s conversation, ‘made up’ tales to mum’s laughter. I got me some good memories in there 😉

Each night I prayed to sleep, then prayed to wake up. My prayer was answered every time.

Now

I got discharged on Sunday morning. I had been told I would leave from Friday but each time, I got worse and had to stay. This time, together with my friend Zindzi, we began to pack the ‘migugu’ and take it to her car even before we were told. We forced LOUD laughter each time the doctor came in so he would see how FINE I was.

Eventually, it worked 😀

As soon as I got into the car, the lyrics ‘Though I ain’t good <Lord> HE still loves me’ welcomed me. I sang happily. Mum joked about me seeing the outside for the first time. I was genuinely glad to be out of that room.

Just before we got home R.Kelly’s ‘storm is over’ was on radio. How timely! How perfect! “I can see the sunshine; somewhere beyond the clouds….heaven is over me….” As in!!! Sound tracks to my life.

So here I am, running around to ensure the Charity bazaar is a success..but every moment I get, I sit and thank the Lord. He saved me and I shall use all the energy I have and don’t have to praise and glorify his name.

I have to thank my amazing friends who stayed with me and those that kept ‘the secret’ so I would not worry others; those that insisted on visiting anyways, the ones that called and sent messages even if I had mini phone fasts so I could recover, my family, the staff of AAR that constantly popped in and withstood the thousands of questions from my friends and I when the drips had honestly become TOO much. I am eternally grateful and can only ‘revenge’ with prayer.

I encountered a few other testimonies while I was in hospital but I shall save them for a part two.

Here is a short story within a story though. I like to send ‘Happy new month’ messages but this time 1st November found me indisposed. The funny bit is some people sent texts to ask why I hadn’t wished them a good month, and others happily ‘beat’ me to it. I didn’t let most of them in on ‘the reason’ but it was funny.

I can’t end this without some mushy clichés even if I know the lessons have been evident from reading it already.

However, I just need anyone reading to actually believe ‘Life is short’ because it is, however subjective this said length is. In essence, a 90 year old loved one is still mourned after his/her departure. That said, may we always remember to show those we love that we do and take care of them and ourselves. Goodbyes don’t quite come with a timeline but when you are ‘threatened’ with one, you begin to realise how precious this ‘unfair’ thing called life is.

 heaven

Each second is a new lease on our existence.  Mehn-let’s make it count!!

See you on Saturday at The 40-40 Charity bazaar and family day, I will be the girl looking like nothing ever happened because star ta fa! 😉

xoxo

 

Life has to end, love doesn’t

I have been unable to write for a while now, not for lack of time or words but mostly because many events that have unfolded have turned out to be more than I can take. Everything begins with a step so here I am trying to get my ‘groove’ back.

Last week a couple of friends planned to come over and visit mum on Independence day. I was happy when I heard the idea at first but of course I secretly worried about the financial implications that would affect all those concerned, mostly because I have a fairly good idea how the wallets are looking and uhm…it is not very encouraging. When I told ‘Chief Afande’ the plans, she had 21 questions. I asked her to just be available and leave the rest to me. She reluctantly obliged.

Monday morning had me in high spirits as is usually the case for me when a new week or month begins. I went to have breakfast and Monica told me to call mum ASAP. I did. She was sad. We had lost a family friend (who later turned  out to be a relative) and he had passed away shortly after being rushed to hospital that morning.

This Mzee was  my late grandpa’s close ally and I had met him countless times. In fact he was seen as the last remaining male elder on mum’s side of the family. He had lived with my aunt for several weeks but only felt ill in the wee hours on Sunday night. He was rushed to a clinic close by and later moved to Rubaga hospital because the condition was critical. It was there that he breathed his last. Coincidentally, my grandpa had also been ill at our home for so long but also left this world peacefully in the same hospital.

Independence day found us on the road to pay our last respects to this gentleman. I could go into details about the journey or the conversations before and after but I would like to focus on the eulogies.

flowers

His family was(is) mostly estranged so much so that the burial happened at mum’s village. Perhaps the Lord wanted him to be laid a few metres from his confidant. It could also be argued  that the cost implications and complications that would have been involved for the body to  be taken to Rwanda were immense and therefore this made more sense. Either way, it happened as it did for a reason.

The daughter: She tried to hold it together for a while. She explained that she had got a strong sense to check on her father for about a fortnight but kept ‘believing’ he was okay and being taken care of. She shook the feeling aside. She heard about him from the sister, first to explain that he had been admitted and a few minutes later to announce his departure from this world. That is how her story ends.

“Two weeks. Everything you love, own, and cherish, can be gone, liquidated, and lost forever in two weeks. Give or take a day.”
― J. Lincoln FennPoe

The son: He lives in Rwanda and came for the burial as soon as he heard. I had noticed from the moment I reached the village that he was shaken and needed support. In fact, I doubted that he could speak. The MC even gave him the option not to. Obviously broken, he profusely thanked my aunt and husband who had taken care of the deceased and the family for extending their welcome so his father’s celebration of life would be memorable.

What struck me the most, however, was his next statement. He had planned to take a trip and let his dad know he had found his soul mate and planned to spend the rest of his life with her. Sadly, he did not get to share this News.

My own father was sitting next to me in all this. I wept for a family that lost their superman but mostly, my heart went out to children who had left so much unsaid and were now empty and unable to turn back the clock.

“Have you ever lost someone you love and wanted one more conversation, one more chance to make up for the time when you thought they would be here forever? If so, then you know you can go your whole life collecting days, and none will outweigh the one you wish you had back.”
― Mitch AlbomFor One More Day

So here I am, a few days later, contemplating life and all its intricacies. More questions than answers, praying for those with us and those that have departed, I guess all I can say is, live when you can. No differences should be so strong as to be left un forgiven, for to hold a grudge is to die slowly.

“Life has to end,’ she said. ‘Love doesn’t.”
― Mitch Albom

You are ‘enough.’

Every time I have an ‘interesting’ encounter with  a boda boda rider, I document it, it can be in form of a facebook status, or perhaps a note in my book or phone that I shall probably look at in the future and smile.

From the perverts to family men, engaging them often leaves me yearning for a longer journey that would in turn mean the conversation can carry on.

Over the years I have found that the one thing they usually exclaim about before we become acquainted and begin to swap tales is my ‘genuine’ interest in talking to them at the same level. The more shocking bit  for them is that I am female and ‘young.’

I will share the most recent experience. It was at the beginning of the week and I had to take a boda boda so I could hitch a ride home, after the few pleasantries and no bargaining, (This particular route, I have a standard fee, take it or leave it) I sat on the bike and started to make small talk. Before long we were speaking about the economy and believe it or not, the power of God!

I had had a particularly long week and it felt extremely comforting to pour out my grievances to a stranger in the ‘dark.’ He would probably never recognise me and vice versa. Mid-conversation, however, he asked me where I come from. I shall try to translate this.

” Where do you come from? In all my years as a boda boda rider, I have never had a passenger who is a ‘girl’ speak so politely or even speak to me for more than a few seconds. They are always so rude, showoffs (bepanka, how do you better translate that?) and sometimes they even take us to places and disappear without paying”

The mere fact that I have heard similar remarks meant I did not have to linger on this issue so I mumbled a thank you and quickly moved on to another subject.

He later blessed me and said he hoped things work out for me as I want them to. You know what? That was the highlight of my day even after a ‘fancy’ meal and several laughs.

Ndi ku Digi

Ndi ku Digi

I certainly don’t think highly of myself because of this incident but it got me thinking.

When I was younger and probably to date during moments of weakness, approval from the people I value(d) the most meant success, no matter how small but we need to know better (berra :P)

You do a piece of work to the best of your ability and then after the boss scrutinises it, it ceases to look like something you even worked on. Several changes later and your time might as well have been spent watching paint dry.

On a different occasion, after you have clearly done a good job, said boss just thanks you for sending the report on time and moves on to distribute it and use it as the default template. No, you will not get an applause. If you think that is too much, you shan’t even be commended for a job well done, not verbally at least. You know what? Deep down you know that the layout was superb, you need to teach yourself to accept that your thoughts and dedication are ‘enough.’

This works for so many other aspects of your life. You pick out that smashing dress that you got during the week. The one that made everyone in the boutique compliment you and almost drool when you finally got out of the dressing room. With just the right amount of makeup and comfortable heels, you get to that dinner. You expected your friends to ‘woo’ like they usually do  to show appreciation but no, nothing. Daisy even helps you pull a thread from your hair,quietly; Janice asks if those are the earrings you bought together but that is all you are getting that night.

Wait, no, that is not all. The men seem to love the outfit, they can’t get over it but because you believe they have ulterior motives, or you just wanted your friend’s approval, suddenly you do not feel ‘hot’ any more. What changed? You were gorgeous when you bought it, you accessorized it perfectly as you smiled at your reflection in the mirror. Suddenly, you are not beautiful?

You certainly are!!! You just DON’T need to hear it from friends who might  be jealous in the first place. You simply need to be comfortable and accept that you are ‘ENOUGH,’ with or without the consent of those most important to you.

Who am I kidding? This is impossible. Well, you know what? It isn’t, in fact nothing is impossible. *ignore all cliches, will you?*

Whereas opinions should matter, they should not constitute 100% of your decision making or esteem for that matter. Love of self begins within and ends…within.

I have grown to accept compliments or criticism from strangers or near-strangers a lot more than remarks from people who are ‘supposed’ to know and understand me the most sometimes. This isn’t to say that I do not listen to their advice, it is just that you can’t know what their ulterior motives are and in some cases, they do not even realise that they are toying with your feelings.

Our sad selfish lives have made it even worse, now because we are unhappy, everyone else should be? NOOO!!

Mum told me about this ‘friend’ she had in college. She picked on the girls who hadn’t fully discovered style or self worth. She convinced them to trash their clothes which she then wore and went on to ‘eat life’ without any remorse.

I have met this lady. I would hate to link her current state to her ‘antics’ from back in the day but it gives me more conviction, to give credit where it is due and only share discomfort with genuine reason. Of course I stumble and fall but hey, what are mistakes if we do not learn from them.

I realise now that my themes have gotten jumbled within this story but I hope there is some sense left.

*Your opinion (and God’s) about your life should be at the very top. Bosses, nosy neighbours, over achieving guardians, unsupportive spouses, relatives or friends are all secondary-

* Listen and speak to people from whom you expect nothing . It is quite possible they will leave you with nothing indeed but when they ‘give back,’ it counts for a lot.

* Oh and boda bodas are very dangerous but when you do take them, make a friend 🙂

I had more to say or rather write, I know it..but let us stop here for today.

You are beautiful

You are beautiful

xoxo