Say it as it is..

Thinking out Loud, just saying….

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I recently watched a clip, of a Ugandan comedian in Canada, he was talking about our friends who come into the country with the aim of “helping”, this poverty-stricken country as they see it, and it brought back a lot of feelings toward the subject. Okay don’t get me wrong, people saving their money and fundraising to be able to come and help the different areas in our country is selfless but the notion that they are better than us is perplexing to me.

Please, please, some are definitely better than us but not all, so for you to come and treat people like they are less intelligent is definitely not of God. We would appreciate to know you and learn from you, become long life friends, but please don’t treat me like a mission, I have already been saved by the grace of God.

It’s so funny, a couple of us volunteered for this organisation, you know it’s exciting to help in aiding a change you want to see in your country but the problem came when the international volunteers came, we were excited and many of us made great friends. Keep in mind that in order for us as national volunteers to qualify to be part of this program, we had to have college degrees in relation to this work.  We were put in groups of nationals and internationals mixed, but we went through the program like bystanders unable to air out our views and voices, yet we all went through the same training. Again we are not of little intelligence.

In our Ugandan culture, a lot of things are private but Facebook came, lord it came. What am I trying to say, you don’t have to post every little deed you do for people here. Yes, your intentions could be good but please respect our culture and its people. I mean if you helped a man back to his feet by giving them a job to save and help their family, you could omit to post that because men are primary caretakers to their families and their ability to provide brings a sense of pride, they will forever be grateful and they themselves should share the story. Just saying…

When all you post is hungry, sad children and all the bad that you see in our country, people out there may appreciate the work you do more but seriously there is also good, we are a blessed country  and we are proud to be Ugandan, why don’t you post about all the free Wi-Fi, great food, happy and loving people amidst our struggles God is still faithful. Let the world see the good too. We may not have it all figured out but we are happy, with the little we have, we help those around us as much as we can. Just saying…

I love meeting new people and learning from them, different cultures and over the years I have made a lot of meaningful relationships with different people, genuine relationships because they appreciate me for me not from which part of the world I come from and they don’t see me as a charity case, a soul that needs to be saved but just me. These people are truly interested in learning about my country and its people and appreciate it, these are my friends.

This is not meant to offend anyone, don’t get me wrong, my spirit just thought I should let, some of my opinions be heard.

From an African girl.

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life, what about it.....

Celebrate Uganda

IMG_3793There is an old Ugandan saying, “okutambula kulaba” not exactly sure, am saying that right, but the point is in direct translation, travelling is seeing. Of course, many Ugandans do not see the logic in which our un-Ugandan friends save, fundraise or borrow money to come to our country. It’s when you, a native of Uganda start travelling to other countries and districts beyond Kampala and your hometown that you start seeing what they see. Gods masterpiece, a country so beautiful it brings hope and joy to many hearts, just looking at a few amazing, breathe taking features.

I mean people cannot invest millions of dollars every year to come to your country and you do not get it. I love travelling, meeting people and seeing things. But of course, my first reaction was a country out of Uganda. Well, I have not travelled much out of Uganda yet, but lately, God has put me in a place where I experience life in different communities around Uganda and I must tell you, I am being blessed by what I see and experience every day.

To see places with more than 10 big and small waterfalls, where water flows everywhere, in every corner of every road. Places where crops are not prompted to grow but just monitored. You know its funny when you have an exotic friend who wants to see places and is amazed at everything they see and they keep pulling out their camera to take pictures and you keep thinking these are normal things. That is what I kept doing, I felt like a tourist of course omitting some of their reactions to their different discoveries.

Imagine sitting in a pizzeria right next to a couple of tourists, where pictures of the pizza are being taken and a teenage girl gasping throughout the meal, about how they cannot believe, its real pizza in Africa, it made my day.  Anyway experiencing life in different parts of the country has made me realise how much I should appreciate it and not only the beauty God has blessed it with but the people too. Families in the village with almost nothing, but are happy with their little life, as long as children go to school and they can feed their families.

imagine sitting in a pizzeria right next to a couple of tourists, where pictures of pizza are being taken and a teenage girl gasping throughout the meal, how they cannot believe, its real pizza in Africa, it made my day.  Anyway experiencing life in different parts of the country has made me realise how much I should appreciate it and not only the beauty God has blessed it with but the people too. Families in the village with almost nothing, but are happy with their little life, as long as children go to school and they can feed their families.Therefore, as we celebrate our 55

Therefore, as we celebrate our 55th independence day, let us forget for a moment, all the chaos and everything that is failing to add up and just take a breath to celebrate our beautiful country. Let us celebrate all that we should be grateful for, that others have not been privileged to have like peace, I mean our families can meet up without difficulty, God and freedom to worship, access to even the smallest commodities. The things to be grateful for are too many but let us be thankful and gracious on how far the Lord has brought us. Happy Independence day, go out and discover the beauty that is your country and celebrate the good in one another.

life, what about it.....

Value of women in society today

Placeholder ImageAm currently doing an online course on women’s health and rights. I knew that it would be interesting and all, but nothing prepared me for the reality that women face in the world on a day to day basis.I mean you have to forget the maybe 5% of women who have defied the odds to be where they are today. Being passionate about women, a lot of the topics shocked me, that even in the 21-century women are still so far from reaching their potential and just merely surviving to take care of their families,.

It’s painful to think about a woman in the rural areas of Uganda here, with six children, the youngest about six months old and one on the way. This lady is struggling to feed her children, giving them fruits like mangoes or jackfruit given as payment to her from peoples gardens that they are privileged to work in. meanwhile, her husband has two other wives with a latter of more children, in other words, her children and her are not a priority. On a good day, he gives her 500 shillings to buy sauce and expects a balance of 300ugsh. I mean I head this lady s story and wept a little inside. Her husband hates contraceptives and would beat her if he knew she was even thinking about using them.

Unfortunately, her story sounds like a lot of stories around the world, in a world where women have been forced to bear with so much. Women whose destiny has been chosen for them before they were born. Women whose stories have been written before time and cannot bear the shame to disappoint their families and traditions that set their paths. Sad stories. So I keep asking myself, who fights for these women, who will defy the odds. how can the norm set in motion be defined?

Did you know that women in the working industry around the world are paid 50% less than men on average, yet statics also show that they work longer than men and still have to take care of their children, in-laws, and extended families but are ironically paid less? Did you know that in Africa close to 90% of the food people eat is produced by women, yes people women are doing more digging and taking care of families? A new trend in rural areas today in Uganda is men meeting to actively participate in games of ladle, card games and drinking local alcohol as a day’s work as their wives, carry a child on the back, go digging for most of the day then return

In town centres men leave home for work, leaving their wives with 1000shs for food, go work for about two hours and play board games amidst hitting on every skirt that passes, eat lunch comprised of meat, pass by a local fish or pork joint to spend the rest of the money and return home claiming they had had a slow day at work, didn’t make any money, therefore, are not in the mood to eat, the “mukene” (silver fish) the wife prepared and drag themselves to bed.

Some of us were privileged to be born in spaces where we were valued and celebrated and wanted, it is truly a blessing considering the reality of girls who never get to live. In India, a large percentage of women are hated by their in-laws for giving birth to a girl child and in extreme cases, they are killed in unknown circumstances or beaten and acid poured on to them, to get rid of them. In some cultures, parties are held for the birth of a male child and pity is thrown at the woman who gives birth to a girl. an alarming percentage of abortions and child mortality are girl children. with technology like ultra sound, the rates are even higher. The realities of our growing society are definitely in lacking.

The realities of our growing society are definitely in lacking. You would think that after all this time, a woman would walk into a room and she is not judged based on her gender. It is our place as women to change these realities for many others, if you raise a boy child educating him on the value of women, he, in turn, will respect women and not see them as weak or as property. But the rising trend of modern women today is leaving the men in even less respect for them. I mean there is a reason why a country is called “her”. Because women by default are the backbone of the nation.

 “If you educate a boy child, you educate an individual, but if you educate a girl child, you educate a nation”

let us pick a new identity and change the fate of many others out there without a voice, through advocacy, lifting each other up instead of pulling our selfies down, encouraging one another. Join forces to support each other. it begins with us. people only respect you and value you according to the value you place on yourself. if you keep thinking like a victim, you will be treated as such.

Just a few thoughts…from a woman who wants the best for women.

life, what about it.....

Human Opinion, hindering progress?

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I always knew that people’s opinion usually influenced how and why I did things, but the realization of the extent to which they do is alarming. What if I was to tell you that human opinion is your road to failure and un-fulfillment of your God-given purpose. Just imagine for a second, all that you could achieve if you did not care or mind but others thought about you and what you did.

I was very much bent on pleasing the people around me that I often forget to have an opinion or care about what I really wanted. And what follows as a preacher recently put it, is dancing to a song you hate your entire life. Image all the dead dreams in graves, the under fulfillment of potential and un-utilised resources.

I was recently reminded that God cannot take me where he knows I can sustain myself but where he will sustain me. In other words, all the bizarre dreams and aspirations that I have and think I cannot fulfill, that is the lie. Just by the virtue of him giving me all these dreams, he is able to see me through. I just need to block that voice in my head that is always telling me that am dreaming too big, I cannot do it, it’s impossible and rewrite my story surrounding myself with people that I know will believe with me, the impossible and reminding myself of what God says I am and the purpose he has put in my heart.

Imagine the difference it would make, if we trusted God like children do, their parents. If you told a child whose parents told her every day that she is a beautiful girl, telling her that she is ugly. What do you think would be her reaction and reply? I think she would think you were joking, she cannot believe you and she might even reply and tell you, “My mummy and daddy say am beautiful, so there”.

Anyway, the point I am making is that we need to realize and decide sooner than later the opinions that matter to us and will build us. Half the people who comment on our lives, don’t care, some don’t even really know what we are doing, others are jealous of our progress and many, especially those closest to us are more scared we will fail than succeed. Well boo-hoo, I mean I thought these people are there to catch you when you fall, see you through the hard and impossible. So why not let you get there first.

So the lesson I learned is to surround myself with at most three people who am not only accountable to but, are my friends. I will not follow or comply with the script of the lives of my ancestors, it is not my path. Am rewriting my story, am excited and now I know, the sky is only the beginning. I will not be limited by where I am from, born, country or color. Time to change the perception that limits African minds. I am destined for greatness. See you at the top.

Food

The vice, that is service in Uganda…part one

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Someone once told me, that all we can sell is service, not food. And after a series of encounters with different Ugandan restaurants, I have surely come to believe the truth in the statement.

You know, a predominate number of Ugandans have a tendency to accept the situation around, no scratch that, ignore the situation around them. This goes for food and restaurants too. Ever wondered why “local” restaurants in interesting locations, some called “tonyinyira” survive and have very loyal customers compared to a number of fancy restaurants around. It’s the service that a one mama Nakamaki gives her customers, that leaves an impression and keeps them coming back even when they cannot disclose to their peers, where this amazing local restaurant they go to is.

Last week I went to one of my favourite restaurants, I mean their food is great, and to me, that’s a priority. But it was not the same. As I walked in, hoping my meal would take as little time to make as possible, I was approached by a smiling waiter, who welcomed me and handed me a menu. As he stood and waited for me to make my mind about my order, I gave him a signal of, “give me some space, so I make up my mind privately” with a smile of course, which thank God he was smart enough to understand. I knew what I wanted and I quickly made up my mind and called him back.

As I waited rather impatiently for the meal, I started to notice everything around me, the place was dirtier, less organised than I remember and the tip of the cake was a lady sited on a table in front of mine, yelling someone’s name in the kitchen, rather louder than civil. By the air around her, I knew she was probably the manager. Right next to her was a pile of forks and napkins that she was trying to organise in an unprofessional way, I was bothered by her folding of the napkin and I murmured words like, you are doing it wrong. Any way to get back to the point, this was a table in the sitting area, where we the customers are sited too, it was even more alarming as a waiter who was probably from the same village area approached her, and she laughed loudly and they had a loud conversation giggling. It looked like a market place like it was her homestead or something, I thought to myself and said that I would say something about it.

So as my waiter came back with the order, I told him that this was not a kitchen area and that table putting things together can shift to a back room or something. His expression quickly turned from shocked to embarrassed. I went on telling him that the food being good was not enough to sell them and some people will walk in, look at the place and leave without even thinking twice. He of course apologised and told me that the lady was a manager, in a torn of scared more than respect for her. We continued the conversation and I asked him to inform her, as I walked out.

So people please say something about a situation you see, we have guests that come to our country and are shocked at what we settle for. We deserve the best of life and great service and ambience are a few of those. Am yet to get back to the restaurant and see progress.

 

all things Good

I want more…

I want more to life than the status quo, than just an African gal whose only ambition, is to go through school (now that we are in the 21st century) and only allowed to dream of marriage as the ultimate goal in life. Why should it be like that. That while having a conversation as a current graduate, 90% of these questions are about a man in my life or about my husband to be, or the guy am supposing  staying with, and an addition a true concern and disbelief that am single. Don’t get me wrong, a husban or boyfriend is not a bad thing, these come at God’s timing, but isn’t there more to life? Rarely do people ask me, “what are your aspirations in life? what projects do you want to do? and my favorite, what are you doing to change the world?
Because of some of the norms in our society, girls don’t dare to dream beyond people’s expectations and we also grow up knowing this is the ultimate peak in life. I know girls who were genuinely worried and sad because they are graduating without a stable relationship or one that would lead to a marriage, whose dreams are to graduate get a husband, own a boutique a good house and car. I used to be angry and mad at them that they would not want more to life but released that this is all they choose to know, all they have known, from parents, brothers and friends and this is sad.
We cannot ignore the fact that more than half of our population as Uganda is female, therefore if we continue to put women in a box of what they can achieve then we at a loss. Raising little girls showing them that your job as a woman is to give birth, raise children and take care of husbands and homes. Again don’t get me wrong, this is not bad at all, on the contrary, to me its instinct, the way we were made as women, default settings, so giving birth taking care of a home, children and husband is something normal that brings joy, a beautiful thing but what about more, helping other women out of poverty, raising leaders in communities, raising the money to feed millions of starving children, finding cures to diseases and mentoring young girls to be more, dream more that the sky is only the beginning. Instead, we are living mediocre lives either struggling to feed our children or bragging to our peers on owning latest phones, handbags and hairstyles and how we don’t work but have all these things because our husbands can afford them. I refuse to be defined by what you think I am, because of who you think I am and how I look like. To think for me before I say a word, to judge me with your eyes and not hear what I have to say, to refuse to give me a chance to go beyond your expectations. I choose to walk in the finished works of my father, in my new identity that I have been given everything patterning to life and Godliness.
I want more, to be an agent of the change I want to see in my country, if we keep complaining about what the government should do and forget that the government is made of people like us, repeating the same mistakes generation after generation, again we fail. I choose to find the purpose that God has placed in my heart and live an intentional life, someone told me that however much pressure society puts on you, at the end of the day it’s your choice, change starts in your heart. Embracing the identity that God has graciously given to you and reminding yourself of what he says about you every day. So here is to all the women, girls and husbands who choose to see more, fathers and brothers that encourage the women in their lives to have purposeful and intentional lives. The people in my life have guided me and reminded me of all that God says about me, that am beautiful, am brave, am intelligent, am patient, caring, innovative among so many and taught me not to settle for the middle but always aim for the highest, keeping me accountable and I truly believe that I can be part of those women that change not only my country but the world.

Uncategorized

my expression of worship

I would not say, per say that am a very emotional person, I would rather think of myself as “Martha suck it up” .of course compared to an average gal ,hereby saying my  sister, let’s just say the gal is too emotional ,so I base on her  most of the time to rate myself. okay so I cry at a few movies and TV shows like undercover boss when the boss and the hardworking employee with three jobs are both crying, or that old show extreme makeover , when they rebuild homes for well deserved people, They feel me with a lot of emotion so I join the cry party, so one of those random days when an episode of undercover boss was on TV , and I was alone, I wasn’t embarrassed to cry and it so happens I had just gone through my first real heart break and it was still fresh and yeah painful, the crying was more, my elder sister walks in on me and she rushes and hugs me saying my  heart will heal and I would get over that boy, I accepted the hugs although the irony was that an episode of undercover boss was on, she didn’t know that when she is not home every one cries at these episodes , the gals I mean and my brother is always just in owe of our misplaced emotions as he calls them. Anyway stay with me, am getting to the point. Above all these things, music moves my emotions most, I love music and I learnt that music is not only an expression of worship but a spirit that can move even the most solidified hearts. I just break down and sing listen, let the music feel me up.

In the past being a Christian I had struggled a lot with keeping up my time table for reading the word but my relationship with God was growing, then I realized that it was the music, I sang songs to God all the time because as much as I loved singing I also realized that I always felt better and I was declaring God s word in my life. Someone once said that music is meditation explaining that ‘WORLDLY MUSIC” as they refer to it,( funny term) is not necessarily bad but what is the song saying, as a person you may not think anything to it but what we declare by month spoken or sang tends to actually reign in our lives, saying that how can someone think of being faithful to one person and respects them listens and sings music that idolizes women as b### and other words saying you cannot  have just one, and expect them to act otherwise, that’s word for thought.

Anyway my expression of worship to God is through music, that’s where I feel am close to touching him, if that’s a feeling, I feel un judged, safe, peaceful and home. So when I get up on stage on a Sunday morning, it doesn’t matter what am going through, all of a sudden my insecurities and fear fade and I let go, I sing so that others can also experience what I feel, experience a piece of their father. Sometimes my friends that come to church joke that up there I look like I smoked something, that am overly excited. well dah, to me music is my safe place and sometimes I like artistes and their music by the emotion I feel through the music or what they are trying to tell people whether they are in pain, experiencing amazing love or happy, I feel there spirit…I think. Anyway find your expression of worship, a place that keeps you sane and grounded.