Of leadership, the youth and the desire to be a Chef

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.

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