So this past weekend, on Saturday evening to be precise- tragedy struck in Kampala town (I think it was Mukono actually). A boat carrying about 120 passengers capsized along The Victoria and many lives were lost, some people still unaccounted for (it is Monday as I write this) while a number of lucky people made it out alive. I am completely saddened by this incident, especially since majority of the lives lost were young people (under the age of 35). I have friends who lost friends on that boat also and so I feel a sense of loss because people close to me are grieving and no one ever wants to see a friend hurting.
I was reflecting on this whole incident the whole of yesterday and a number of things came to my mind. The first thing is that life is short and we must learn to value the people we have in our lives enough to make peace with situations. Never allow your self to end a conversation, to go to sleep, or to simply part ways with someone when you’re mad at each other. Clear the air, voice your concerns and just let everything off your chest because you never really know when the last time will be. The second thing is to never ever give your self the illusion of time. So many times we shelve our dreams or put them on hold for a later time because we’re simply afraid to start or waiting for “the right time”. The sad and brutal truth of the matter is, however, that we never really know how much time we have so we had better start that thing like yesterday. There’s no better time than the present (although I just made reference to the past lol). Pick that dream up off the shelf, dust it off and begin.
Anyway, those were just a few things that popped into my head that I thought I might share as well but aren’t actually the main point of what I came here to write about today. One of the bigger reflections that came to my mind from these unfortunate events is the importance of rules and regulations and more importantly- the importance of following these pre-set rules. From what I gather (and I am not writing as a news professional or a witness-just thought I’d put that out there) the boat was overloaded and from the pictures I saw the life jackets were not worn for the entire duration of the boat ride. I saw pictures from the start of the trip where almost everyone was clad in their bright orange life jackets and as the journey went on they slowly started coming off. Here’s the thing that occurred to me about this whole thing. As Ugandans first of all, we have this terrible habit of not wanting to follow rules and thinking we’re above the law (I’m not excluding myself from this equation, we all have our moments). We always prefer to do things at our convenience not considering whether it’s lawful or not (it might just be a human thing actually, let’s not castigate Uganda). We like to have a good time and live our lives to the fullest without taking into consideration what the possible consequences of our actions could be. Yeah, I know, where’s the issue with all that? Well, here’s the thing. Usually when people put rules and laws and whatever you want to call it in place, it’s because they have foreseen certain circumstances (which we may fail to see) and are taking preventative measures against the possible negative outcomes of these circumstances. A person or people usually have taken the time out to analyse a situation and look at all the positive and negative possibilities and protect whoever might be at stake from any tragedies. And then here come us stubborn beings just looking to have a good time and going ahead to completely ignore all the precautions just so we can “live our best lives”. I mean think about it- by the time someone came up with the capacity load for the boat, they had thought all these things through (or at least they should have) and knew that it would be a high risk factor to have beyond a certain number of people on the boat because of things we (humans) can’t completely control like the tides and proper balance. I’m not blaming the people on the boat for anything that happened, all I’m saying is that as people we need to start learning to take precautions more seriously and not look at them as deterrents to a good life or a good time. Someone much wiser than us who actually had the time to, thought about everything beforehand and put measures in place to protect us. When we refuse to follow rules and regulations we choose to not protect our lives and the lives of the people dear to us. Just imagine if all the people on the boat had insisted on being the right number that was expected to board the boat and had all insisted on wearing life jackets (all the way through)- the chances of a tragedy this grave would have been far less. Think about it- really! Don’t trade a lifetime of fun and purpose for one quick thrill by not following safety precautions. That’s all I’m saying. Even the Bible exists to guard us and protect us against different battles and circumstances in our everyday life. I’m learning this now, more and more with time. I find that usually the times where things are going well in life are the times where I’m reading my Bible and actually following the counsel that it bears. And usually when I think I know what I’m doing and decide to do things according to my own will and feelings is usually when things end up going awry and ironically I end up agitated and unamused.
For the longest time I believed that “if it’s your day to die you can’t escape it, no matter what you do”. I’m not so sure I believe that anymore. Many a time it is the rules we don’t follow and the situations we get ourselves caught up in that land us in trouble actually. The Bible mentions that, “With a long life I will satisfy him And let him see My salvation”, meaning God’s promise to us is long life, of course going hand-in-hand with all His counsel for us. It also mentions that “If you walk in My ways, keeping My statutes and commandments, as your father David walked, then I will prolong your days”. Not that this is meant as a threat, but it goes back to the point I’m trying to explain -people much wiser than us foresee certain circumstances and protect us from them. And then in we come with all our stubbornness and excitement, do the complete opposite of what we’ve been asked to do, and then blame the world around us when things go wrong. Think about all the rules your parents set growing up and the trouble you landed in by choosing to go against their rules. I think you see my point now.
We need to learn to start heeding authorities and trusting their counsel if we want to protect ourselves from tragedies as much as possible. We can still have fun while following the rules. We can still live our best lives within certain confinements. (If anyone knew me a few years ago they wouldn’t believe that I am speaking these words. I still don’t believe myself sometimes lol, but yeah). I just thought I’d share some of the wisdom that came to me as I was reflecting on this tragedy. Have a blessed day as you read this and remember to do what is asked of you by authorities, it could save you a whole lot of trouble.