When I started Kagera Safaris one of my dreams was to provide excellent inbound travel services to Uganda for people who wanted to explore Uganda on both the usual tourist routes and those off the beaten tracks. I was motivated by my love for travel and the belief that God had gifted us with a beautiful country which I thought everyone should have an opportunity of visiting. I barely had any marketing budget but looked forward to spreading the word out there and hopefully start to receive people looking to visit the Pearl of Africa.
I learned about the travel expos that happen in Europe and America which are our main source markets and dreamed of attending them someday. This seemed such a far away possibility considering that I did not have a marketing budget. However I believe that it costs nothing to dream and plan, so I often found myself researching about the different expos and what I needed for me to attend them. Eventually I had the opportunity of being sponsored for my very first expo through the USADF after being part of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders and like they say the rest is history. It took my business on a path of growth that could have taken it years to achieve.
This year I have been growing in engaging the scriptures and speaking life on a daily basis regarding the different promises God has given me concerning my life and His purposes. Previously if something did not work out I quickly dismissed it as maybe not being God’s will. Today instead of lamenting about the things that are not working out the way I envisioned or not as fast as I think – I speak the Word which is life in the midst of such situations. When the people traffic at this year’s ITB Berlin was much less than expected I spoke Gods Word and He sent us more traffic the next day. These are things I would previously comment about and complain, now I declare the Word. We had a mishap of ground staff striking at the Tegel Airport which led to cancelled flights and late communications but I chose hope through it all. I was not given boarding passes which meant I was on waiting list, I chose to be calm and wait on God and He came through as always. There was bad weather which interfered with the plane landing in Entebbe, we spent about 30 minutes circling Lake Victoria with people screaming. In that moment I remembered Gods Word and spoke it and chose to relax amidst the storm.
As I grow older I am amazed at Gods love and commitment to mankind, He wants the best for us and never gives up on us. That I can confidently say like Paul – For me to live is Christ and to die is gain. That when my time is come and I have accomplished my purposes I will rest. But for now I will continue to use the opportunities my Father opens up for me. That I will continue to encourage others to move out and explore their gifting, looking to the author and finisher of our faith. That yes it can be scary but remember God is on your team. You will do it, He will send help along the way.
On my last day of the Burundi visit, I prepared to start my journey early morning so as to have enough time for the border delays. Border crossing in Africa (in my case its mainly been East Africa) can be a nightmare of sorts requiring so much time and worse if you are using public transport and are several people on the bus. My hope is that in the future this is improved to ensure faster movements of goods and people because like the old adage “Time is money” we cannot afford to keep losing such an irredeemable resource. Again I think part of it is used by some government workers to maybe frustrate and show power which I find unnecessary.
Well the beautiful thing was that I was ready to start the journey back to Kigali where I had an 8 days safari with clients from Norway. I needed to be back in Kigali the day before they arrived. I arose early morning before sunrise to be ready because the driver had promised to pick me up at 6.00 am. By 6.00 am I was in my hotel lobby waiting for him but he was nowhere to be seen. It clocked 6.30 am and was getting frustrated at his time keeping. Eventually after several phone calls he arrived way after 7.00 am and to my shock he said he was not traveling to Kigali. Who does this? We had previously agreed, if he had decided not to travel he should at least have informed me? But I know that ‘all things work together for good to those who love God…’so I decided not to dwell on that and instead thank God that he has at least come and is taking me to find another taxi.
Again I sat in the behind seat but this time between two young gentlemen who were slim and so there was no squashing of my hips. After greetings it was silence as we waited for the car to fill up and we start our journey. The first part of the journey we were mostly quiet, spent enjoying the scenery and then the conversations started. I later learned that on my left side the young man was a Congolese studying in Kampala and on the right side was a Burundian also studying in Kampala. They both spoke highly of Kampala and Uganda a country they will have their student lives shaped. It warmed my hearing how they enjoy their time in Kampala-Uganda and how they find Ugandans to be generally nice people welcoming to foreigners. In fact one of them hopes to stay even after school. I looked at my imperfect country and thanked God that He gave us a heart of welcoming all people who later make it their home. I know that as a country we have challenges of leadership at all levels but yet God gave us such a beautiful country, one needs to travel within Africa to appreciate the freedom, fertile soils and beautiful scenery.
Our conversations were about so many topics. We agreed that we are all struggling via leadership in small and big ways. We agreed that for some reason the leadership is pretending about the youth explosion and choosing not to invest in them. So then how do we bring change in countries where governments love to use the youth to carry out their ‘dirty’ work instead of equipping them with different skills to contribute significantly to the economy. It is as if they enjoy having them desperate then they can easily give them a gun and ask them to engage in situations of killing their fellow countrymen.
From the conversations what remained on my heart was the conversation about what influenced their courses at the university. One of them was very passionate about Chemistry which he opted to pursue at University. Originally he pursued Environmental science because he was made to believe that there was lots of chemistry course units but later realized that was not the case, so he was now going full blast in Chemistry. The other is pursuing international relations which he clearly hates. He loves cooking and everything to do with food, in fact he wants to be a chef but his parents will not hear of it. His father does not want to hear of the idea so he has been pushed to pursue the course since he is currently in no position to pay his own tuition.
I do not know what it is with parents forcing children to study things that are not of interest to them. I think it has to do with this mentality of white collar office jobs versus blue collar jobs. In my view people will excel regardless of the course or choice of work. Maybe they will never be the richest people and rightly so because job satisfaction cannot be compared to the amount of money one amasses while on this life journey. I quickly encouraged him to still pursue his dream of being a super chef even as he pursues his studies, he was quick to share photos of the food especially the different salads he loves to make. He shared how his roommates are forever glad to have him because he can never tire of cooking for them.
I love to encourage young people to pursue their dreams. For them to know that the journey is not necessarily easy but that it is possible to excel in whatever field they are interested in because after all it is God who gave them the desires for that particular field. They need to start small towards this dream and God will surely send help as they keep on the journey. I hope to meet these young lads again soon and see how to be of help on their journey. And of course the chef will do the cooking as we discuss and share ideas of how to live out fully the life God has given us. For now it on and forward for me, continuing on the journey of encouraging people to pursue the dreams, start that business or organization, study that course and generally keep on the move and never to give up because they have the help of the Almighty.