Cuban Doctors and Middle Income Status: Museveni addressing Ugandans at the Labour Day celebrations held in Sembabule.

Addressing Ugandans that had gathered in Sembabule for Labour Day celebrations, the President- Yoweri Kaguta Museveni strongly defended the Government’s idea to import doctors from Cuba amidst all the backlash and comments from Ugandans. He claims that he decided to call them in after the recent strikes by our own Ugandan doctors, saying, “Some of our own behaved badly”. He went ahead to call them “selfish” medics with “crooked behaviour” and said that this behavior that consequentially left patients abandoned is what forced him to think of another option.

Since Cuba is well known for its reputation of having one of the best health systems in the world, he saw it best to import a few of their doctors. The Caribbean island nation provides more medical personnel to the developing world than all the G8 countries combined, according to reports. The issue of importing Cuban doctors has been a divisive one, with critics vehemently voicing their resistance to it – predominantly from the financial viewpoint.

 

Earlier in the day, NOTU Chairman General- Usher Wilson Owere, speaking on behalf of the Workers’ Union, expressed his disagreement with the idea of importing medics from Cuba. Owere said they had seen no need for Government to bring in doctors all the way from Cuba yet Uganda had her own with the argument that “what the local medics need is to have their salaries enhanced.” In response to that: ‘I get sh3.6m for salary’. The President mentioned how he persistently went on to do his job in spite of the low pay and said that the doctors should not use that as an excuse to go on strike. He went on to refer to the doctors as “selfish and unprofessional people” and “enemies” of the people of Uganda. “You cannot lecture me about working for Uganda. I don’t want to hear that nonsense. We, the freedom fighters, have been working for Uganda for about 55 years now – for either low pay or no pay.”

Museveni said while he gets a salary of sh3.6m per month which is far less than what many a public servant gets, he remains with authority as the Head-of-State. “I have authority although I have a low pay. I am the President of Uganda. So, don’t bring those nonsensical arguments.”

 

During the same Labour Day celebrations held at a rain-battered district grounds, medals were also awarded. The five Ugandan athletes who won medals at the recent 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia were the first to be awarded a medal each once the medal ceremony was underway. The athletes Joshua Cheptegei (two gold), Stella Chesang (gold), Solomon Mutai (silver), Mercyline Chelangat (bronze) and Juma Miiro (bronze) ensured that Uganda finished 15th overall at the Gold Coast in the games that brought together as many as 71 nations.

 

Several other people also received Labour Day medals in different categories like creators and drivers of jobs. While talking about the private sectors of commercial agriculture, industry, services and ICT as being the creators of jobs, President Museveni also said public service is equally key. He urged that the two sectors work together to generate the volume of jobs required to steer Uganda to the often-emphasised middle-income status. “The Private Sector cannot create jobs if the public problems are not solved first,” Museveni said.

According to the statistics that Museveni read out on Tuesday, there are 530,000 registered companies in Uganda – indicating a rise over the years. Of this number, 180,000 companies are in the Services Sector, employing 4.7 million people. The Industry Sector accounts for 8,200 companies and is employing 1.3 million people. In terms of employment, Commercial Agriculture is providing jobs for as many as 3.3 million people but that is twice as less as what subsistence agriculture is employing: 6.9 million people.

While praising the Operation Wealth Creation Programme for their work done so far, President Museveni urged officials handling the initiative to work even more to encourage and inspire more people into commercial agriculture.

The middle-income status seems to be well on its way basing on these facts, or at least there’s some sort of progress. Will Uganda have achieved it by 2020 though? That’s a topic for debate.

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Map of Divisions of Kampala

Hey followers,
Hope all is well.
This is just a public announcement that I will be posting stuff that is out of the usual element of my “normal” blogging stuff. I’m currently sitting an exam for one of my uni courses- New Media and the Digital Age and everything that is to follow is a part of my exam. I will inform you when the normal progress of my blog resumes, or you’ll figure it out(hopefully the latter). So yeah, just letting you know.

To my lecturer,
embedded on my site is a map of all the Divisions of Kampala District 🙂

“>Divisions of Kampala Map

Who You Tryna Impress?

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So I’ve had this thing on my mind for a while, so I figured I might as well write about it. It’s one of those where I feel like I have so much to say, yet nothing at all- all at the same time so bear with me if I’m a little incoherent. I just have something on my mind that I’d like to address because it seems to be a problem that a lot of people are battling – the need to “impress” people with your life and the things that you do- it could be material things, or achievements or things of the sort. Like? How? Why? Why are you trying to impress people that will probably never be impressed? Why are you doing things for people who have nothing to do with you rather than doing things for yourself? Tell me why? Why?

I first noticed it with a few people I know, but I’ve also heard other people share stories about people they know and so I know it’s kind of a thing now. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t strive to achieve success or to acquire any material wealth, but it’s a question of why you’re doing it. Is it for you or so someone else can think a certain way of you? Now, it’s important to understand and remember that we are given this life to live for us not for somebody else. The main goal and purpose is to create significance and leave legacies behind in the things that we do, places we go and people we meet. Each of our legacies and successes are tied to us and not to other people. The reason that we do these things is so we can look back in our later days and say “wow, I lived a good life, I did well”, and to be proud of the decisions that we made. I have a hard time believing that you will be able to do that if the reason that you make most of your decisions is because “so and so will think I’m cool”, “they need to see me and think I’m doing well”. To tell you the truth, half the people that you’re trying to impress and are making your decisions based on, don’t really care if you’re doing well or not. Yes, they may talk about you when you’re doing well and say all sorts of things but even when you mess up and fall down they will talk. There are just people who have something to say about everything and everyone, whether it’s good or bad. They’re called journalists (haha, I kid). Anyway, for real, there are people that will have an opinion about anything and everything and there’s nothing you can do about it.

It breaks my heart to know that there are people who make decisions based on how it will make them look to the general public or to certain members of the general public. More-so, to people who contribute nothing towards the betterment of your life in any of the five capitals- spiritual, financial, physical, intellectual, relational. The people who know nothing about the battles that you’re secretly fighting; people who would not be among the first to raise a finger if you were struggling with something and you really needed outside help. So the question is, why cater so much for people who would clearly not do the same for you. You can’t make crucial life decisions based on how it will look to the outside world. You just can’t! (Well, technically you can- but you shouldn’t!). I know people who have endured through abusive relationships because they convince themselves they can’t leave. “Everyone thinks I’ve got it all together, how can they know that my relationship is falling apart.” I’ve heard stories of people who take debts to purchase stuff so they can keep up appearances and uphold a lifestyle that they can’t even afford in real life (I know that’s also real life but you get my point ). I don’t think it’s fair on you to subject yourself to all this suffering, debt and extraordinary expenses you can barely manage just because you’re afraid of how the outside world might perceive you or because you’re scared to mess up your oh-so glamorous appearance.

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Can I let you in on a little secret? Everybody messes up; everybody makes mistakes. So don’t be afraid of making certain decisions because of how it might make you look. The people you’re trying to impress also have their own secret internal battles to fight, they won’t mind your business forever. And can I tell you another secret? Nothing lasts forever- rumours, gossip, failure. It eventually fades away. So don’t make crucial life decisions based on how it will make you look in front of people that don’t even know you and people that won’t affect you in any way. You deserve so much more than that for yourself. If you’re scared to leave that abusive relationship because you can’t let people see you divorce or break up, re-evaluate that decision. Who is suffering more from this relationship? You or “them”? Act accordingly! If you are in debt because you had to buy a car so people could think you’re making it, re-think your decision. Are any of those people going to help you clear your debt? Do the smart thing! If you have to constantly borrow the finest clothes from people so you can take pictures in different outfits everyday and people can call you a fashion queen, re-analyse what you’re doing. (Unless of course you’re a fashion blogger and you’re helping different fashion houses market their stuff). I guess my point is, don’t put yourself through trouble or in compromising situations so you can hold a certain glorified image of yourself which isn’t true.

If you want to be seen a certain way and held in a certain light, that is completely fine- ambition and goal setting are truly important in this life. All I’m saying is actually work hard or work smart towards those goals and let your actual success do the talking. Let people talk good about you for things you actually have and actually did rather things that you’re in debt for or opportunities you manipulated people into giving you.

Any time you feel like you might be about to make a decision that may be more “for-show” than it will be useful to you, any time you feel like you might be stuck between a rock and a hard place and you’re trying to evaluate and weigh out your decisions, here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself;

1. Will I still be happy about this decision a few years down the road? When I look back at my life a few years from now, will I be able to understand why I made this decision and actually be proud of it?
2. Is this decision logical? Am I doing it because it makes sense and it is what will work best for me right now?
3. If I knew no one was watching me, would I still make this decision?
4. Do I absolutely have to make this choice/decision? Is there another option I can choose from?

Maybe these questions will help you to know if you’re making the right decision for yourself or if you’re really making a decision for/ because of others. I wonder even, who these “others” are. Who you tryna impress huh? Really, who?

Resilience and Perseverance with Grace and Fortitude (A Tribute to My Grandmother)

Early last week I lost one of my Uncles from my father’s side of the family. As expected, there was a general gloomy and sombre mood in the air but there were also many feelings of gratitude and love as everyone looked back and reflected on his life. For me, it was probably one of the saddest yet most humbling and enlightening moments of my life. Now, before I get into this story further I think it’s important to note that by my grandmother I mean something of a grand aunt, but this is African culture really so that phrase is not in our vocabulary. (Actually that may have not been completely necessary for the purpose of this story but now you know something a little more than just the story tee hee.) Anyway, back to business, in his life, and even in his death my Uncle brought a lot of people together and taught an immeasurable number of lessons to every single individual that had the great pleasure of being around him. And the most striking thing about it all is that my Uncle barely ever spoke. And when I say that, I don’t mean it figuratively to express introversion of some sort. I mean it quite literally; that in all his 46 years of life, my Uncle never really had a formal form of verbal communication. You see, he sustained brain damage at birth and I guess that greatly affected his ability to speak as well as other things. I’m told that growing up he had excessive bounds of energy—so much so that he even once tore a door down. Yes, a whole door. All by himself! But as he grew older, age and medication slowly started to take a toll on him. Anyway, I feel like I’m getting ahead of myself here and completely missing the point. The point is about the lessons he taught people through his sinless, speechless life and the true expression of love and what it means to be loved that it has been and of course about the people closest to him and how they have all managed to come out stronger from this experience.
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Dealing with a special needs child or a child with mental or physical disabilities can be quite difficult as you can imagine (or can you?). But I must really salute my grandparents (grand aunt and uncle really) for looking after him in the best possible way that they could and doing so with such grace and fortitude. I live right next to these grandparents of mine (I hope by now you’ve caught on and I don’t have to keep mentioning the whole grand aunt, grand uncle thing) and so I visit them kind of often (though probably not often enough, but I mean you know, sometimes life just gets in the way). Visiting them is always delightful and cheerful and they’re such fun people to be around generally. I always have a good chat infused with many a good laugh and they’re just generally a hoot (do millenials even use that word? Eww I’m old). Based on the testimonies and speeches that a number of different people gave at the vigils and funeral, they are actually pleasant characters everywhere they go. (I know that sounds obvious but there are some people who change faces and moods depending on where they are, so no it’s not.) Everyone gave their fair share of lessons they’d learnt from being around him for the time that they were and the lessons they’ve learnt from the people close to them. There were also a number of congratulatory remarks to the parents of the deceased- my grandparents (well, you know) thanking them for a job well done in looking after their child to his dying day.

Many of us in this world deal with difficult situations in different ways. But there are people who literally walk around looking like their problems (some even dress like them). And I can tell you that these people are most unpleasant to have to deal with. They make it seem like they are the only ones with problems or with problems worth worrying about. Truth is though, that we all have problems and our own silent battles that we’re dealing with and the strength actually lies in those who can handle them enough to not walk around showing everyone their woes. My grandparents are the perfect example of this- resilience and perseverance with grace and commendable fortitude (although really, all fortitude is commendable. I just wanted to sound funky and like I know a lot of English). To live 46 whole years looking after someone that cannot fend for themselves or even communicate what they might need is definitely quite the task! I really commend my grandparents so much. You must be wondering why I said ‘Tribute to my Grandmother’ and not ‘to my grandparents’ instead, in my title. Well, in most homes (at least here in Africa anyway) a woman is the one that is considered in charge of the home and the children (very traditional views I know, but in the generation my grandparents were raised, this rule applies). Both parents did the most they could to ensure that their beloved child never lacked but a mother’s love is really like no other. Nothing in this world could ever compare (well maybe God’s love but God’s not of this world, at least his love isn’t). A love so incomparable and almost completely unconditional (I’m back to talking about a mother’s love now, stay with me). That is the love of a mother and that is the love that she showed to all her 5 children. Aside from looking after a disabled child, there was also the tedious task of looking after fully functioning children through all the stages of their childhood; terrible twos, inquisitive tweens and the oh-so-dreadful teens. And to be able to raise children of substance and great moral standing. That is even nobler! I feel like it could have been easy to focus on one or the other but not both. Very easy! Either the focus could have been to focus on the disabled child and leave the able-bodied children to somehow raise themselves or she could have focused on the children that are easier to communicate with/to and neglected the poor little uncommunicative child. (It really is true what they say- that God gives you the grace to go through every tough situation you are faced with.) This was not the case however, she was able to look after all these children and groom them all well. Of course with the help of several other people (you know what they say– it takes a village…), all the while, never once showing on her face or in her actions that she was going through the burden of looking after an uncommunicative child. I feel like when I say ‘burden’ I make it sound like it was a terrible experience no one would ever want to relive but that’s not what I mean. Burden in the sense that it was difficult to go through and that it was of course not the most ideal situation.

While my grandmother was giving her speech I was even more amazed and humbled by her level of gratitude for his life, the life lessons she herself had learnt from him and the incredible strength she showed going through such a difficult time [the loss of the child, not his life]. One of the most important life lessons that she said she had learnt from looking after her Tim-Tim was gratitude. She learnt to thank God for all the little things and the big things alike. She thanked Him for water to be able to feed and wash him because there are so many people going through similar situations with their children that don’t even have the access to running water. She thanked Him for provision- that Timothy never lacked what he needed whether it was medication, a comfortable air mattress to sleep on or just pure love. Of course there was great need to be thankful for the fact that he never knew a bad care-taker; that all the people that ever looked after him loved him, fed and cleaned him well and really just looked after him in the best possible way that they could. Finding a reason (or even a couple) to be grateful through difficult circumstances is not the easiest thing to do and yet she did. The other thing that she was grateful for was for a husband that is such a family man and who was and continues to be very supportive. There are many stories in this country of families that are broken because a husband has decided to abandon his wife after her giving birth to a disabled child claiming generational curses on her part or that she has been bewitched or something crazy like that. Many of these “husbands” will even abandon the poor woman with all their other healthy children. My grandfather however, never once left and never even thought about it I’m sure. So all in all, in celebrating his life, there was a lot to be grateful for.
In the last decade or so of his life, my Uncle has been unfortunately falling sick quite often and as you can imagine from a person that can’t talk for themselves, one would only notice by the time the symptoms start to show which usually is a few days later. As a parent, seeing your child go through such pain and turmoil ever so frequently must be one of the highest forms of torture one can face as a parent. But to be able to go through this experience all the while still showing so much joy and happiness on your face (and not even pretentiously) is some sort of unsung heroism in my opinion.

So I guess if you’re going through a difficult situation I’m using this story to encourage you that you can get through it in the same way that my grandmother did- with grace and the utmost fortitude. You don’t have to walk around looking (or even dressing) like your problems. Every time you feel like you’re losing hope I want you to remember that this lady had to look after an ailing child for 46 whole years and she never once went around looking like her struggle. In fact, if ever you met her you’d probably think she was one of the happiest people in town with like zero problems. The next time you feel really agitated by a situation and you feel tempted to put your frustrations out on someone remember that there is someone out there who wore a smile on her face every day despite the struggles that she was dealing with at home.
My prayer for you today is that whenever you go through difficult situations (because it’s almost guaranteed that those will come) you will be able to go through them with as much grace and fortitude as my grandmother did hers (or even more).
Kaka Sheba- I salute you and admire you for your enduring spirit and unending gracefulness during very arduous times. I admire you, Jaja Matthew and Kaka Robina a lot more than I did before and all I ask in this life is that God gives me even half the strength he gave to you whenever storms may arise.

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Do It For The Gram

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Greetings greetings! It’s been quite some time. I hope you missed me as much as I missed blogging (well, and you ;)). I am here today to talk about a vice that’s eating away at our generation, slowly by slowly. I like to call this little vice ‘doing it for the gram’. Doing it refers to ‘stunting or showing off’ and the gram in this case is all of social media- Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, you name it! So basically I’m talking about the people that go out of their way to stunt for Social Media. And no I’m not talking about people that are constantly posting their achievements and giving you little snippets of their day. That’s totally alright. (Isn’t the whole point of social media sharing and interacting anyway?) I’m talking about the people that will go out of their way to live a lifestyle that isn’t really theirs just to impress people or look good on social media. The people using borrowed iPhones to snap their lavish night, eating expensive food at a fancy, five star restaurant followed by a massive turn up at the dopest club, popping bottles in the VIP section yet back at home they left a struggling half-inch piece of soap and a completely squeezed-out tube of toothpaste because their priorities are in making their life look good not making sure it actually is. People that don’t live according to their budget in the name of social media. When the parents give you pocket money for the week all you can think about is which place will look good on Snapchat and Instagram so you can spend your money there.

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Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to eating out at fancy restaurants all the time (heck, if I had it my way I’d probably do it everyday). And I’m not complaining about the aspect of popping bottles often either. Live and let live. I’m all for people doing what makes them happy. But I mean if you can’t really afford it and you’re not doing anything in any way to build some sort of future for yourself is it really worth it? The people you’re showing off for on the gram are sitting in silence building a stable future for themselves. Just because someone doesn’t show you everything that they’re doing and doesn’t go flaunting it in your face, doesn’t mean they’re not doing anything for themselves. Silence speaks volumes sometimes. Remember that! What people don’t realise is that we’re still quite young. We’re at the age where we’re allowed to make countless mistakes and try all sorts of new things. This is the age to start building and setting up our future and it’s totally okay to be broke now. Trust me. No one’s going to judge you or mock you for being broke, chances are, everyone around you is probably facing the same or a very similar struggle. This is is the time to try and fail things; projects, businesses, jobs or ideas, until you find something that works for you. Don’t be afraid to try and most definitely do not be afraid to fail. It is a part of life. What matters is how you pick yourself up after the fall, not how you fall. Live simply now so you can live well in the future. That’s how I think it should be. Do your work in silence, set yourself up and I promise you your efforts will be rewarded in due time. You’d rather be broke now while you’re young and it’s expected from you rather than be struggling financially when you’re older. You don’t want to be that 50 year old living in your parents’ basement wondering how it all went wrong. Get up now and do something your future self will thank you for. Instead of showing people you’ve got it going for you when you don’t. Using your parents’ money to live the life all your followers dream of is not goals. Your parents money is not your money. I repeat, your parent’s accomplishments are not yours. You can totally be proud of them and appreciate them but don’t expect them to look after you for a life time. Adulthood means independence. It’s their obligation to care and look out for you but you can’t make it a life long obligation. There comes a time when the tables need to turn, the favour needs to be returned. Don’t make your parent’s support you financially for the rest of their lives. They also have other dreams for themselves and other responsibilities to take care of. If you can’t work hard for yourselves, do it for the people who looked after you and raised you- your parents, guardians, whoever. As a token of appreciation, as a sign of respect. Instead of living large now and struggling with money in the future, start something now. Invest, save up. Build yourself the great future you deserve. Because the truth is, most of the people you’re stuntin’ for on the gram don’t care if you’re actually doing things with your life or not, you’re only doing yourself an injustice. No one is going to slow down their life so you can catch up with them. So save yourself the misery and regret. Get up and do something more with yourself. If you’re out there living a fab life and showing off actual accomplishments, I salute you. I’ll be joining you soon. But if you’re out there stunting for the gram and not actually doing anything great for yourself, start now. We can’t always know for sure who’s actually stuntin’ and who’s showing us reality. At least not right now. But time will surely tell. I hope all the people popping bottles every night and traveling luxury every weekend will still be doing it in a few years; showing us daddy’s dollars and throwing money around like it ain’t a thing. We’re watching you closely, hoping, for the sake of your dignity that you succeed. But for now we shall continue to watch you stunting on the gram. It is entertaining after all.

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Happiness and Gratitude: Life Lessons Part 2

Before I get into the details of this post I’d like to start by saying Happy New Year. I hope that this year is everything you’d hope it to be. But I also want you to remember that nothing ever comes from sitting around waiting for it to just happen. You have to get up and pave the way for the success you wish to see this year. Now, previously before 2016 ended I talked about how gruesome it was (a very unimportant detail at this point) and I talked about everything that 2016 taught me or just life in general taught me. So here I am in a new year (hopefully a brighter one) to share a few more lessons I’ve learnt about life. To share with you new ways to look at or deal with things that could potentially make life a little brighter and more worth it.

  1. Be happy. Always. Laughter is food for the soul and a smile is the best thing you can wear. So if you care anything for healthy eating and fashion these are the two greatest tips you should follow along those lines. They say every minute you spend angry is 60 seconds of your life you’ll never get back. So why not spend those 60 seconds brightening the world with that beautiful smile (related yet unrelated note: I think laughter is the most beautiful thing in the worldJ). I know life can get hard sometimes but there’s always a reason to smile so look for one in every situation. Plus it takes far less body muscles to smile than it does to frown (I don’t know if that’s an actual fact but you believed it so you might as well adhereJ).

 

  1. Make sure you do what you love. A life spent doing things you do not love is a life wasted according to me. We only have one life to live here on earth but if we do it right once is enough. So make sure you do the things that bring you absolute joy and the things that you do well. Spend your time learning new things and improving on the things you already know but most importantly doing the things that you love to do. If you have to wake up every day to go and do something you love it feels a lot less like work and more like going out to have fun somewhere perhaps. So make sure you do what you love. The last thing you’d want to do is be sitting on your death bed thinking of all the things you love to do and wishing you had had more time for them while you were still fully able.

 

 

  1. Always be thankful. For every situation that you go through, good or bad there is always something to be thankful for. Don’t focus too much on the negatives it only drags you down and weakens your spirit. It doesn’t matter how bad you think the situation is. There will always be someone that wishes they had your life and there will be someone who has a better life than you alike. Don’t compare yourself to other people and use that as a standard for how much you should achieve. Live your own life and always be thankful for even the little things. Once you start to pay more attention to your blessings you will start to live a more contented life and happiness will come naturally. Positivity will just start to grow on you.

 

  1. A resolution I made to myself this year is to “worry less”. It might sound a little over-reaching or like a strange resolution to make but that’s my resolution for the year. To worry less. You know why? Because there is no actual reason for worry and studies have shown that it has no real benefits either. I mean think about it. When you worry what changes about a situation? Nothing. Not even in the slightest way. Joyce Meyer said “worry is like a rocking chair, it moves you back and forth but it doesn’t get you anywhere.” And I must say I completely agree. So this year I’m going to make it a point not to worry about the little things. After all that doesn’t really change anything. As humans it’s in our nature to worry; about things and people so I’m sure it might not be as easy as I’m making it sound. And it’s probably not completely avoidable. But I did say I’d try,no? And I’m sure it’ll only get easier with time. So how ‘bout this year we worry less about the little things especially if it’s things we can’t change.

 

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  1. Have you ever heard of emotional intelligence? Basically it’s the ability of a person to be able to understand their own emotions and those of the people around them and to know how to deal with them. Trust me it sounds WAY more complicated than it actually is. The main idea is to know the people around you and to be able to learn how to deal with them. Everyone you come across in this life is different and has different values, ideas and behaviours but we can all get along if we only just understand each other. So what is my lesson here? Learn something unique about each of the people that you deal with. Be it a friend, a colleague, a customer or even a significant other. Find out what makes them happy, what gets them upset and learn how to treat them according to their dislikes and preferences. It will save you so many arguments and mistakes and mishaps, you can be sure of that!

 

So as I conclude this episode of lessons, here’s some Food for thought: If you were to wake up tomorrow with only what you were thankful for what would you have?

Assignment: (Sorry to take you back to school but it’s something I found interesting and I’m looking forward to doing so maybe you could try doing the same.) Buy a jar (or if you’re a creative like me you can make one) and every week write on a paper everything you have to be thankful for and drop it in the jar. Whenever you’re having one of those really bad days where you feel like you don’t have the strength to go on, refer back to your jar and look at all the things you have to be thankful for. Do the same at the end of the year and re-count all the blessings of the year you just had. See if that doesn’t make your life a little brighter. J

Life Lessons Part 1: Life is Short

I don’t know about you, but for me 2016 has been one of the coldest, cruelest most depressing years in the history of ever. Like I don’t even know how to begin expressing my disdain except by saying I’m glad the year is drawing to a close and I hope that 2017 is a lot brighter. For so many reasons this year has been hard for me and difficult to face. But one of the many reasons this year has been cruel is death. I’ve lost 3 people this year that I held quite dear and I’m still having a hard time coming to terms with any of it to be honest, but I guess that’s a part of life too and we have to learn to deal with the unknowns and unexpected and cope with them. It’s quite baffling- this thing called life really. That one minute you could be talking to someone and then the next minute they’re gone. That one week someone is the happiest, healthiest human being you’ve ever known and the next their life is in critical condition. That one day you could wake up and this someone is no longer there and all you have is a bitter-sweet memory to hold on to and perhaps a picture in a frame. And the craziest thing about it is you could never see it coming, no matter how much you wished or tried. You never know when your day is, or anyone else’s for that matter. So I say make the most of the life that you have for as long as you have it, make every day count and try to create memories that will linger on long after you’re gone.

A lot of people usually interpret things like this to a sort of “live fast, die young” kind of notion (at least people in my generation do). Also some people take more of a “do whatever you want, you’re going to die anyway” approach. But that’s not what I mean when I say ‘make the most of it’. I think it’s great to have fun (we most definitely need it in this dullest of lives) and it is very important for people to live a life that they’re happy with. If there’s anything I’ve learnt at all this dreadful year, it’s to value all the people in your life. Every single one of them. Because everyone is a part of your journey for a reason even though they might not all make it to your destination. So I have decided to run a short series on some of the life lessons I’ve learnt so far and how to value the people in your life and to be impactful to the people around you. Here is the first set of things I’ve learnt and insight I’d love to share;

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  1. Always do good and be nice to the people around you, even though you feel like they might not deserve it- your reputation does. Let that be something that you are always remembered for. No matter how much you feel like someone doesn’t deserve to be treated nicely, do so anyway. Never compromise your good manners because of how someone else is treating you. If you are a good person, be good always. The universe has its way of rewarding us for good even though it doesn’t always come right away. It will surely come. On top of that- everyone you meet is fighting some sort of battle or facing some sort of challenge that you may or may not know about and kindness actually has the power to bring so much healing. Imagine if you were having the crappiest day of your life and you encountered a stranger who showed you so much love and genuine kindness that you suddenly didn’t feel so alone and unloved anymore. Kindness has the power to do that, you have the power to do that. In short, be the kind of person you would want to be around. (This is going off of the assumption that everyone wants to be surrounded by love and positive vibes. If you like to be surrounded by negative energy, then in that case you need to re-evaluate your life choices and try to spread positive vibes anyway).

 

  1. I’ve spoken about forgiveness and I’ll highlight it again. Forgive. Let stuff go. Never let yourself go to bed angry. And if someone has done something to you or said something to you or about you and in a few days it won’t really matter or it won’t really affect you, then why bother over-reacting? Don’t let it affect you to begin with. And if it’s something big that will probably affect you greatly, just move on and let it go for yourself so as not to be bound by mishaps of your past. Imagine if someone died and you were angry at them or if you died angry at someone, how tragic that would be.

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3. Check on people. Spend time with the people you care about. The worst thing that could ever happen is for someone to die and you are left feeling like you should have spent more time with them or should have checked in more. Let’s save ourselves from a life or even a few moments of regret. Surround yourself with people that make you happy and do your best to do the same for them. I feel like time and effort is way more valuable than money in so many ways and I appreciate the simplest things in life like just spending time with loved ones. Spend time with those you love, check on them often, talk, laugh, whatever it is that makes you happy. Because if one day one of you should leave the earth before the other you will at least be able to appreciate all the time you shared and have beautiful memories to hold on to. Even though you may feel like you are making more effort than the other person, do it anyway. Always play your part. Your effort will always be valued even though sometimes it won’t be talked about or appreciated out loud. Never hesitate to show those you care about that you do.

In general, appreciate those around you and only surround yourself with people that make you happy, feed your soul and add value to your life. Always check in on people and remind them constantly that you care. Never let anger cloud your judgement about your opinion of someone. And lastly always do good and see the good in others as well. I think these are important lessons to live a happier and more valuable life.

There are a couple more lessons that I’ve learnt and some more that I’m still learning on this unpredictable journey that is life. I will share some more lessons in some more blog posts to come but for now go out into the world and remind everyone you care about that you do and show them love every day or at least every so often.

Forgiveness

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Forgiveness. If you ask me I would say it is an act and a sign of complete strength and maturity. It’s easy to look at someone and remember the pain that they’ve put you through or the mistake that they made that cost you something be it a job, an opportunity or a couple cents. Anyone can do it. You can, I can. It’s easy to look at a person and remember all the wrongs they have done by you or that one wrong that totally blew up in your face and to spite them for it. We’re all human and it’s in our nature to remember these things. And as humans we seem to have a tendency to remember the bad things that people do to us and the pain that they’ve caused. Thing is, as we do all this we forget that they too are human just like us. We all have the same capacity to make mistakes, to mess up and to let people down. All of us! So as you stop someone from getting a job anywhere else because they stole 500 shillings from you or as you trash talk someone for letting you down and disappointing you always remember that you have just as much in you to let another person down. Now I’m not writing this to be cynical or to remind us of our imperfections and failures but I think it was necessary to point out. I think forgiveness is a decision to forget something ever happened and to completely let go. And I know in the journey of forgiveness (yes, I think forgiveness is a long journey) the biggest obstacle is forgetting, at least for me it is. I think that one has not completely forgiven until they have forgotten whatever the incident is. If you can look at someone and still see pain, still remember the deal you missed out on because of them or be reminded of the time that they let you down then you have not completely forgiven. Because that situation still has a hold on you. In the journey of forgiveness you have just turned the corner and hit a smoother road where you can no longer see what’s behind you. You’re not quite at your destination yet. To be able to say that you have forgiven someone means that you can look at this person and not be reminded that they once hurt you or let you down. To look at them as though nothing happened and treat them the way you would anyone else who has never broken their loyalties. Forgiveness means another chance. Another chance to redeem themselves but also quite possibly another chance to mess up again. The hardest part comes in when it seems to be the order of the day. You are constantly forgiving this one person and yet they continue to mess up or let you down in the exact same way. Bloody humans right?! Chance after chance, mess up after mess up. See, as humans we are so quick to judge other people and call them out for their wrong-doings often time we forget that we too make mistakes. Calling someone out for the wrong that they’ve done will not make your blood blue nor will it lift your feet half an inch off the ground. True story. So before we think of holding back on that second chance, think of all the people that have given you second and third and fourth chances even when you may not have deserved it. The funny thing is we almost expect people to forgive us for our wrongs and move on from it or at least we hope that they do. But if you cannot forgive the one who wronged you why do you expect the same from another person?

I’ve been let down by people in my life (as has everyone) and the hardest part for me is the forgetting what these people have done. I always pride myself on being a forgiving person and I should because it’s a great trait to have. But now I’m asking myself if I really do forgive because as much as I say I’ve forgiven I never forget the wrongs that have been done and yet expect those I let down to forgive me and move on. (We humans really are an interesting species!) I still look at these people and remember that they once hurt me or let me down or betrayed my trust, whatever it may be. And that is not forgiving in its entirety because in some ways the past still has a hold on me. I’ve not completely let go. But from today I’ve decided to let it all go and you probably should too. Whatever it is that is keeping you where you are, robbing you of a stress free life, let it go. Because every time you look at someone and are bitterly reminded of the past you are robbing yourself of happiness. As I write this post I am liberating myself from all the pain and disappointment of my past. Today it shall not have a hold over me anymore. I choose to move on from it completely and never look back. Letting go of old painful memories. That is the finish line of forgiveness. Once you have completely freed yourself from the past and everyone that let you down. Then you have come to the end of the journey. You have reached your destination. I guess I should also apologise to all the people I may have hurt in anyway or let down (although I’m pretty close to perfect so that’s less likely :P). And I hope that this post has liberated you and awakened you as much as it has me. Always remember that to move on to a better and brighter future you must leave all the darkness from your past behind. So whoever it is, whatever it is. Forgive them, let it all go. If not for themselves, for you. So you can be free from the mental slavery that is anger, pain and scorn.

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My Uganda

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Today marks the 54th Independence Day for my beloved country Uganda. I woke up this morning and decided to celebrate that by going to church to Thank God for my dear nation (that’s a lie, I went to church to awaken and recharge my faith for the week, and because I hadn’t been in a while. It completely slipped my mind that it was even Independence Day). I did however, leave church more patriotic than I ever expected to leave any church- EVER! Or more patriotic than I ever thought I’d be. I always considered myself fairly patriotic. For me patriotism meant being proud enough to admit that I’m Ugandan no matter where in the world I was or no matter what was going on in the country. Perhaps naming all the presidents that have been in power since I was born (the simplest of all tasks). And that’s about it. I mean how much more patriotic can one be right? Well today I learnt the answer to that question- extremely. Now you’re probably wondering what type of church I go to that preaches politics instead of love and talks about patriotism instead of our father in heaven. Not mine. The main point of the sermon was basically to teach us and encourage us to be proud of our heritage and of where we are. God did not make us Ugandan by mistake or place us in this country by mistake. We have a purpose to fulfil and that is why we are where we are. Every time I attend this church I always leave feeling better about myself and wanting to go out into the world and be a better person in whatever way that I can. And today I guess I left with the same feeling in just a slightly different way.  I left wanting to tell the world about the beautiful country that I’m from. I always knew Uganda had some greatness about it but I never knew the full extremities of its goodness and beauty. So here are a few interesting facts to broaden your knowledge of my beloved nation if you didn’t already know.

Did you know that Uganda is the second youngest population in the world? That’s right, in the entire world! With about 80% of its population under the age of 35 and (get this) 50% of the population under the age of 15 and a half. Now that’s young! It used to be the youngest population till about last year. I guess we grew a bit over the last year, or another country out-younged us ;).

It is also the most entrepreneurial country in the world. Bet you didn’t know that! I know I didn’t. It’s pretty easy to start a business in this country and anyone from the 50% of children that make up the country to the other grown 50% can and/or have started businesses at one point or another.

Now get this- Ugandans have been ranked the happiest people in East Africa. Where other East Africans call us slow, we like to think of ourselves as easy-going, what matters is that the job gets done in the end. We are definitely a very hospitable nation and for that reason a lot of people that come to just visit or for temporary jobs end up getting attached to our beautiful people and wanting to stay longer or come back as often as possible. Take for example Caribbean artistes; Konshens or Shaggy. Lord knows how many times Shaggy has been to Uganda.

Uganda is among one of the top 16 holiday destinations- IN THE WORLD!! While some of you are thinking of island destinations like Fiji and the Bahamas you’re forgetting the plenty of tourist attractions we have in our own country. Murchison falls, Chobe and Bulago Islands, Bwindi forest, to mention but a few.

And do not get me started on our cultural diversity that we have in Uganda (no seriously, don’t let me start, I won’t finish. That’s a different blog post for a different day). I will just mention though that in Uganda alone we have 40 different ethnic groups and there are more than 54 languages spoken in this, our nation.

There are so many more facts about this country that I have not mentioned that are definitely worth being proud of. I know it’s in our human nature to criticise things and people more than we praise them but how bout we start now by loving our beloved country for all its beauty and wonder. There are so many things going wrong with our country but all that doesn’t negate the fact that there is so much beauty all around us. We should never let ourselves forget that fact. So please, fellow Ugandans I urge you, let us be flag bearers of our country wherever we are. Let us be true reflections of the wonder that is Uganda. Speak greatly about it, speak of its beauty and do whatever you can and whatever you must to ensure that the beauty remains and that it becomes a greater country. Let’s all make this country the best that it can be. It may not happen today, not even tomorrow but if you become the change you wish to see in this country, if you pioneer the change that you can make, one day our children will live to tell a greater tale than ours. So how ‘bout we start by being patriotic. Love our country, appreciate its beauty, speak of all its wonders. We may not be able to change the state of our country this very instant but we can at least change the way it is seen around the world.

From today forward I will speak greater things about my country and not constantly look down on it. I will speak of its beauty and go tell it to the world. A country of freshness, beauty and fertility. A country of innovative, hospitable and happy people. That is my country. That is My Uganda. #MyUG #CelebrateUganda #UgandaAt54 #TheUspokenWonderOfTheWorld #ThePearlOfAfrica.

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