Home is where the heart is

Do you really know what your brother/sister/uncle/aunt (insert other relatives) does for kyeyo in ‘outside countries?’

Have you ever asked or are you content with simply receiving the fashionable clothes and turning to them each time money is ‘scarce?’ I have always had great admiration for people who leave their home country and start a completely new life with meagre  resources. I am even more awed by their resilience, accepting that despite being away from their loved ones for a long periods of time, they shall be in better position to provide for them. It is a difficult decision to reach given what you have to sacrifice. Lately, I have heard many stories of people in these situations and while I feel like I’d find it difficult to ‘survive,’ I also know that desperate situations call for desperate measures. Sometimes. you just have to learn on the job.

Linda will soon mark two months since she left home. Everything has changed. Everything has remained the same. She has experienced all the ways life can humble one and learnt how to deal with the agony that distance can sometimes turn into. Birthday parties have been ‘attended’ on skype and whatsapp, new jobs and promotions have been celebrated with an array of emoticonsshe has only been able to commiserate over the phone with loved ones who are mourning and in a couple of weeks shall miss a wedding where she was meant to be a maid of honour. She will not be able to hold Juliet’s hand as her momma undergoes surgery next week and there are many more moments that will sail by as she watches on, helpless. An  ‘adulting manual’ would probably have a chapter on this. Any writers ready to embark on this project?

While being away from everything one knows and loves can be difficult, it also presents so many opportunities. Linda decided to create new moments. On Tuesday night, at exactly midnight,her skype showed it was Jacob’s birthday exactly midnight. She made a mental note to talk to the other scholars about doing something to celebrate the day. The next day, while at the library, when she mentioned it to Milly, she found out the day before had been Norah’s birthday too. The more the merrier, she thought. She only had a few hours to plan a small do. The easiest, most practical thing would be to purchase a cake and have them cut it. When she mentioned it to Nadia, she was quite astounded by the response. “There are cakes at the supermarket at 2 pounds, which can be heated in the microwave then shared.” Quick calculation, approximately Ugx 10,000, for a birthday cake? Linda thought out loud before she could catch herself, “I’d definitely not want a microwave cake on my birthday so I shall not buy one.”  Nadia quickly remarked that if she wanted expensive things it was up to her. Linda had already decided she would not ask any of the group members to contribute as it’d prolong the simple process but this moment reaffirmed her resolve. She found a restaurant and luckily they had a chocolate cake that already had the words ‘Happy birthday.’ She had about 4 hours to get everyone together and ensure they kept the little secret. As you can guess, it was dramatic. If it is difficult to get friends together, imagine how much harder it is for near strangers. From people showing up late, to the the ‘guests of honour‘ failing to fall for the lies while everyone hid in a dark room waiting to scream ‘surprise!’ It was a pretty funny experience. Eventually it worked. Jacob and Norah couldn’t have been more clueless! Vanessa carried some drinks and it all made for a nice little treat.

Owing to the fact that there is a difficult, yet important assignment that they all have to hand in soon, there was a shadow over everyone’s head. Sadly, this shadow was spoken about for longer than Linda would have liked. During the toast, Lillian mentioned the assignment more times than celebrating life or happiness which were essentially the ingredients for the little do in the first place. Linda decided it was probably her who was ‘unserious’ enough to put this time out above all else. Nonetheless, everyone was quite pleased as they had not met in one place since their first week in London. Before long, they were asking Linda to organise more meet ups and tours for the whole group. She laughed at herself later that night when she reflected upon the habits she had carried with her all the way to her ‘current home.’

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While Norah and Jacob were elated and couldn’t stop thanking her for the surprise , Linda knew her own joy was up there with theirs.

 

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Just because..

“If you were born without wings, do nothing to prevent them from growing.”

This morning a random memory crept up in my mind and I thought to share it. Yup it perturbed me all morning and I thought, perhaps someone needs a pick-me-up. Here goes.

Last year, I was invited for an interview and given several weeks of notice (that always helps) I accepted, saved the date and forgot about it. On D-day, I woke up to the reminder. That week I had decided to stay indoors to reduce on unnecessary expenditure and concentrate on some work with deadlines closing in.Amount of cash in wallet=Ugx 5,000. I contemplated backing out. I could explain that I was busy, which wasn’t entirely false.

By an hour to the do,I’d decided to go. I just made a mental calculation of what I’d need to get there and consoled myself with the thought that one listener would, perhaps, be inspired.

The interview was alright. It was for a much younger audience than I was accustomed to. I honestly couldn’t keep up with some of the slang. I remembered that when I was a teen, some of the (now) teenage listeners were not yet born and that gave me all the perspective I needed.

After the interview, I had a short meeting with the producer and tried to pitch other ideas for a broader partnership. As I was leaving, she said “Pass by the accounts office on the left and pick a small transport allowance.” Pardon? <You know when you have heard exactly what someone said but ask them to repeat because you just need to make sure,just in case? That was me> She repeated the statement.

“That was you Lord!,” I thought to myself. I walked slowly to the office, knocked at the door and asked for the person in charge. She smiled and handed me a form to sign, along with Ugx 50,000. That morning’s ‘5K’ had rapidly multiplied by 10! I thanked her and walked out of the office.

I walked for a while towards town. I did not immediately get into a taxi or a boda boda. I walked slowly as I mentally examined the gravity of what had just happened. It was less about the money and more about what it represented. I could tell that in the future, that moment would represent something on this journey to dream against all odds and withstand anything and everything life decided to serve. You just never know what awaits you in this unpredictable life but chances are, if your intentions are good, eventually you will begin to reap fruits.

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Your miracle, your moment,your breakthrough..they all await you. Now, leap!

“Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.

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