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To Queue or Not to Queue

I was walking towards Sabiti’s shop. The entrance was crowded. Many shoppers – each one yelling out their order – with hands stretched towards the shop keeper. Using my height advantage I also stand patiently. As he hands out items to the buyers, someone walks past me and squeezes in – yelling out his order, ‘I want bushera’. I wondered why he overtook me when he found me (and many others) there. Didn’t he see us? To make things worse, the shop keeper attended to him before us!

This and many other incidents have led me to ask the question – why is it so hard to find a queue in Kampala? Even in places where you find them, there are people who try to overtake others. I won’t forget this case in a bank where someone was trying to overtake me at an ATM queue. As if we didn’t matter and his urgency could not respect the people he found in line. I had to quickly step in front of him – just a reminder that there were people he found in line.

If you’ve ever boarded a taxi from the taxi park during rush hours (7 – 8 pm) you’ll agree with me that jungle law governs. It’s survival for the fittest. When an empty taxi approaches it is rugby time as passengers push each other to get in. If you are a queue person, you might die in a stampede. Men and women, young and old, dignity is pushed aside and everyone wants to get his or her way.

A few days ago I paid one of those visits to the bank. We had lined up and I was the next one to be served. The guy ahead of me seemed to have some issues to sort out with the teller. I was trying to follow their conversation when someone tapped me from the back saying, ‘you can go and get served’. I was puzzled – this was too impatient to see that all the tellers were engaged. Impatient. Intolerance.

There are still a few good men. I was glad when I received some good customer service at a small shop in my neighbourhood. The money had left my hands and I was giving the shop keeper my instructions when someone came interrupting, ’I want waragi’, He demanded. I was just about to give the intruder a piece of my mind when the shop attendant (firmly yet respectfully) explained to him that he had to serve me first since I was there before him. I smiled with glee as I saw embarrassment engulf his face.

As I come to a conclusion my resolve is to be different. I have commanded myself not to push others just to get my place in the available taxi. Not to step on someone’s toes just to get my needs met. The end does not justify the means. I choose to esteem others (I’m still working towards esteeming others beyond myself – I’m not there yet, so help me God). As Mahatma Ghandhi once said, ‘I have chosen to be the change that I want to see in the world’. It starts with me.

I’m not too busy to wait. I can go after you.

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Iron Sharpens Iron

One of the main reasons why you are reading this post is because someone pointed out to me that I needed to update my blog. It was then that it occurred to me that it’s been ages since I last wrote anything. In those simple words, that friend sharpened me. Just like iron sharpens iron, so does one man sharpen another. Earlier this morning I posted a quote from Leo Burnett.

When you reach for the stars you may not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either.

I found it to be quite inspirational. Little did I know that someone would read it and share an even more encouraging speech. The RogueKing shared a speech from Leo that I found very astounding. It’s the kind of speech that will make you hate mediocrity and average. It’s a creed of excellence. It’s the kind of stuff world-changers are made of. By now I’m sure you want to read it. Here’s the link to the speech.

What am I saying in all this? In each one of us, there’s something to encourage and spur someone to greater heights. We sharpen one another. Let us not look down on anyone, unless when we are bending down to pick them up.

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Happy Belated New Year!

Happy New Year! By now you are well over a month into 2009.

For me it has been a long silence. I was so excited about starting my blog last year and had so many ideas until all of a sudden I just failed to write more posts. Was it a conflict of priorities, failure to manage my time, inconsistency? I’m still wondering.

With the new year I see a new dawn. More opportunities. Another chance. For this I choose to put the past behind me and reach out to the new. Some one once said that you can never get on in life by dwelling on your past but by working on your future. Decisions determine destiny. I choose to become a winner. To learn from my mistakes and move on.

In the past I’ve made several goals and new year resolutions. It has also been common practice that by the middle of the year I no longer remember my goals (be patient with me now – I’m not yet perfect, remember). This time I’ve decided to start with a simple goal, ‘go the extra mile’.

Happy new year!

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Change Has Come!

The 4th of November 2008 will go down in history as the day America elected their first African-American president. I found his speeach on the BBC website and decided to share it with the rest of the world. Below is his speech to a huge crowd in his hometown of Chicago.

If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

 

It’s the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voices could be that difference.

 

It’s the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been just a collection of individuals or a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

 

It’s the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

 

It’s been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

 

PARTNERS IN THE JOURNEY

A little bit earlier this evening I received an extraordinarily gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he’s fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine. We are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader.

 

I congratulate him, I congratulate Governor Palin, for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation’s promise in the months ahead.

 

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the vice-president-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

 

And I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last 16 years, the rock of our family, the love of my life, the nation’s next first lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both more than you can imagine, and you have earned the new puppy that’s coming with us to the White House.

 

And while she’s no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure. To my sister Maya, my sister Auma, all my other brothers and sisters – thank you so much for all the support you have given me. I am grateful to them.

 

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, the unsung hero of this campaign, who built the best political campaign in the history of the United States of America. My chief strategist David Axelrod, who has been a partner with me every step of the way, and to the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you’ve sacrificed to get it done.

 

VICTORY FOR THE PEOPLE

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

 

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn’t start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

 

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give $5 and $10 and $20 to the cause.

It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation’s apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; it grew strength from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organised, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from the Earth.

 

This is your victory.

 

THE TASK AHEAD

I know you didn’t do this just to win an election and I know you didn’t do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century.

 

Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us.

There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they’ll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor’s bills, or save enough for their child’s college education. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

 

REMAKING THE NATION

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even in one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

 

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won’t agree with every decision or policy I make as president, and we know that government can’t solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.

 

And above all, I will ask you to join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it’s been done in America for 221 years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

 

ONE NATION, ONE PEOPLE

What began 21 months ago in the depths of winter cannot end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you, without a new spirit of service, a new spirit of sacrifice.

 

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it’s that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity.

 

Those are values that we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours: “We are not enemies, but friends… though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection.” And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote tonight, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your president too.

 

AMERICA IN THE WORLD

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand.

 

To those who would tear the world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you.

 

And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.

 

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

 

A HISTORY OF STRUGGLE

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She’s a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

 

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn’t vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the colour of her skin.

 

And tonight, I think about all that she’s seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can’t, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes, we can.

At a time when women’s voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes, we can.

 

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes, we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbour and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes, we can.

 

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that “we shall overcome”. Yes, we can.

 

A man touched down on the Moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes, we can.

 

THIS IS OUR MOMENT

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

 

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment.

 

This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism and doubt, and those who tell us that we can’t, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people: yes, we can.

 

Thank you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.

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The Power of One

How many people do we need to change our circumstances? What does it take to change the past? Who will change the status quo in our generation? All it takes is one person.

My heart has been brooding over the comments I received from my previous post ‘Breaking the Cycles’. I realise that the situation of broken families needs to change. Not only that but the poverty situaiton in our nation, the nature of politics, the issues of war and disease, the concerns of HIV, malaria, illeteracy, a better Uganda, a developed Africa – I could go on and on. All around us there are situations and circumstances that need to be addressed.

Many times we can feel overwhelmed and helpless. The good news is that God can accomplish much even with one person.

God created each one of us fearfully and wonderfully. Each one has special features, talents, skills and capabilities. These can be used to impact our world either positively or negatively – depending on how we use them. This has led me to two examples of individuals who used their potential to infulence their worlds – one for bad and another for good.

Joseph Kony. His names lets you know that I’ve decided to start with the negative. Through this one person the Lord’s Resistance Army was founded. Through him northern Uganda has suffered a war for 20 years. Thousands of children have been abducted, thousands displaced and countless people mutilated. Thousands are living in IDP camps. All this because of one man.

Nelson Mandela is not a new name when it comes to the greatest leaders of our time. Through him the ANC saw an end to Apartheid rule in South Africa. After so many years, this was almost impossible. Many before him had been oppressed, countless people died. Because he chose to do the right thing, millions are enjoying the benefits of his sacrifice.

People seek leadership. People seek causes to support and people to rally behind. What it takes is one person. Each one of us has been given a sphere of influence. For a stay home mum, their home is that sphere of influence. It could be a shop, a business, a church, an office, a school – if all thse spehres of influence are impacted positively by good individuals, this world will be a much better place.

In a bid to develop and eradicate poverty, many developing countries put emphasis on infrastructure, security and defence, investment schemes, democracy, etc. Good as these are, most times little attention is put on human resource development – empowering the ones in the nation. Singapore did this left Uganda in the thid world to become a first world country.;

One Sunday Pastor Gary Skinner shared in a sermon at KPC. He said that what Uganda needs to develop is not more foreign aid or more policemen. What Uganda needs is good people. I’ll add to that by saying that what our world needs is good people. Good inviduals. Good ones. You can choose to be among the ones that bring positive change to a hurting world.

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Breaking the Cycle

What kind of legacy will I leave behind when I pass on (should the Lord tarry)? That was a question I asked my self after reading The Apprentice’s post titled ‘Am I a “Real” Man?’. This beautiful article left me pondering about the responsibilities of manhood. 

Worldwide, there is a father-son crisis. Men seem to have abdicated from their true responsibilities. At home, they are away most of the time, working hard to make ends meet. In church, you will find more women than men. I remember one time filling in a questionnaire about my relationship with Dad and when I was asked what I would have loved to change I realised how much I needed to have spent more time with him.

The best  place we can learn about true fatherhood and manhood is the Bible. In this great book we learn about the original Father, God Almighty and how he related with men. Through His word we learn from His relationship with His son, Jesus Christ. That is a perfect model for us to follow. The Father loved his son, affirmed him, listened to him. These are things every Son needs from a Father. Iron sharpens iron. As men, we need to have other men we are accountable to. Men that we look up to. Men with a good example. Men with evidently stable families. Men of wisdom. We need men we can share our challenges with. People we are not afraid to tell our successes and failures. People we can pray with. Guys who can speak into our lives.

In his book, “What’s a Father to Do?” Don Schmierer speaks man-to-man with dads about the problems that can arise with growing kids – problems like addictions, eating disorders, promiscuity and same-sex attractions. And he doesn’t mince words. About negative generational cycles he says…

“The cycles that exist in families are all too-familiar to counsellors. It’s much harder for us to see it in ourselves. The fact is, many of us treat our children the same way we were treated. They, in turn, treat their children the way they were treated. On and on it goes. And where does it stop? It only stops when we choose, with God’s help, to break the cycle.”

The best days are ahead of us if men choose to be good men. I am glad for the children of those men and the generation they’ll raise up. The best is yet to come as we break the negative cycles of our past.

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Hello world!

Hello World! I am glad to have a blog. Free at last, am free at last! Thank God almighty I’m free at last! 

So, you might ask yourself, how did I get into this business of blogging. Well, the culprit is a dear friend of mine who goes by the name, ‘rogueking’. He has four blogs already. He told me about these blogs he began and when I visited them I was provoked to have a few thoughts to share with the world.

Hey, I will also be more than glad to hear from you. So please do not ignore the comments section. Ciao for now.

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