Growing from ‘last minute’ actions

 

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I am an adrenaline junkie and this partly contributes to why I do things last minute when the deadline is knocking. I have talked myself out of this habit but I am yet to succeed. I know it contributes negatively to my output sometimes but somehow I find myself back at it whenever I have a task. Some days I have felt so helpless and almost resigned to my fate but  I know that growth requires me to keep on and not give up concerning an area I am convinced I need to improve. I must say that going forward I will pick up again and work towards planning and accomplishing tasks without waiting for the deadline.

Take for example assignments, I can have them for as long as a month but I will still keep pushing them aside until it’s the last day. One given Friday, the electricity was off for most of the day and night ( who makes these decisions at UMEME) and I needed to finish reading a book and a write a report on my reading before midnight. You should have seen me reading the book using the torch from my phone. This lasted up to about 11pm and later start the process of writing the report . Thankful that the computer had enough battery which allowed me work. Once the writing was complete and ready, the internet connections was playing hind and seek with me. It was difficult to attach the documents to the email. Thankfully eventually they attached and I was able to send a few minutes after midnight. The voice inside me (God) inquired why I do not consider doing all this much earlier to avoid the hassle.

And yet it is not only in tasks at work or school but even concerning travel. I usually know weeks prior to my travels and I wait until the night or morning before the trip to do the packing. This is disorganizing because I tend to forget some items which I need on these travels. It’s in times like these that I remember the advice from my dad while growing up. He suggested to me to consider packing my luggage at least one week before the travel ( this was especially in relations to school) because that way when I forget an item I am able to include it before the travel date. He even suggested that I consider making a list of the items I must pack.

Today while thinking about this I almost quickly acknowledged my weakness and accepted it as me but then I remembered that if this is not helping me be effective then I need to drop it and find ways  of growing. In life if we hope to grow, we cannot allow certain areas of our being to go unchallenged but rather engage with them and come up with plans to improve them. I look forward to operate from the ‘not urgent but important’ quadrant as opposed to the ‘urgent and important’ quadrant which is draining. Which areas in your life which areas do you recognize need growth? What are you doing about it? Or are you justifying their existence instead of improving them?

‘My take home’ from Proverbs 18

 

1A man who isolates himself seeks his own desire;
He rages against all wise judgment.

A fool has no delight in understanding,
But in expressing his own heart.

When the wicked comes, contempt comes also;
And with dishonor comes reproach.

The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters;
The wellspring of wisdom is a flowing brook.

It is not good to show partiality to the wicked,
Or to overthrow the righteous in judgment.

A fool’s lips enter into contention,
And his mouth calls for blows.
A fool’s mouth is his destruction,
And his lips are the snare of his soul.
The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles,[a]
And they go down into the inmost body.

He who is slothful in his work
Is a brother to him who is a great destroyer.

10 The name of the Lord is a strong tower;
The righteous run to it and are safe.
11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
And like a high wall in his own esteem.

12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
And before honor is humility.

13 He who answers a matter before he hears it,
It is folly and shame to him.

14 The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?

15 The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge,
And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.

16 A man’s gift makes room for him,
And brings him before great men.

17 The first one to plead his cause seems right,
Until his neighbor comes and examines him.

18 Casting lots causes contentions to cease,
And keeps the mighty apart.

19 A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city,
And contentions are like the bars of a castle.

20 A man’s stomach shall be satisfied from the fruit of his mouth;
From the produce of his lips he shall be filled.

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord.

23 The poor man uses entreaties,
But the rich answers roughly.

24 A man who has friends must himself be friendly,[b]
But there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

‘My take home’ from Proverbs 18 

Seek knowledge. I should keep learning and never feel that I have arrived because as long as I live there is something I can learn. Growth is a deliberate choice on my side, I have to spend my resources and read books, listen to great teachers, attend conferences etc. but whatever I do I have to keep on the journey of learning.

A combination of hard work and gifting. I have to work hard knowing that this is God’s way of blessing me. I should remember that work is not a curse as some view it, because God asked Adam to work the garden way before the curse. In addition to hard work is utilizing my gifts or talents because with no hard work the gift’s effect diminishes (think of it as practicing for the athlete or musician). God’s promise is that my gift will open doors for me. I have seen glimpse of this in my already.

I need to continuously find ways of keeping my spirit alive. I have been in a place where my spirit has been broken and it is not a good place. I felt stuck and was vulnerable to all the lies the enemy threw my way. So for me this is very crucial – I have to continuously ‘protect’ my spirit and keep it alive because it’s what keeps me alive. I know it is a catch 22 but well I must figure it out. The most consistent way to keep it alive is to keep in the truth of who I am and whose I am.

The tongue is life and death. Woooohhh, I think this is deeper than we can ever comprehend. This also contributes to a man’s spirit being alive or dead. I will keep proclaiming life in whatever situation I am in. It is difficult because it goes against the status quo but this here is about life and death, maybe if I view as ‘life and death’ I will be more deliberate in what I speak in/to my life and that of others.

And that folks were my highlights from my reading today. What are your highlights from Proverbs 18? Share and we learn together.

 

 

My Bujumbura Escapades

After the long but rewarding ride from Kigali to Bujumbura, I settled in the little beautiful New Cayor hotel. It was affordable compared to the service it was offering. I was later informed that 2 years ago such a hotel cost about triple its current price but due to the political issues the number of visitors have reduced. The hotel pricing in a bid to attract the very few courageous tourists and business travelers lowered their costs.

The day was spent exploring the different sites in and near Bujumbura town. I got a taxi to take me around town for the entire day armed with my list of to see places I sent out. After we set off from the hotel, our first stop was the forex bureau for some Burundian francs to be able to buy some souvenirs. It is very important to me to contribute to the economy beyond hotels by buying souvenirs. This I believe is one of the ways the general population benefits from tourism.

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My main reason for visiting Burundi and Bujumbura in particular was to learn about the country and the possibility of including it as a destination for Kagera Safaris. O how I love my work, I am forever thankful for what this work allows me to do. Travel and more travel which by far one of my favorite hobbies. On my list was visits to the hotels and other main tourism sites around this beautiful town. I was pleasantly surprised by this small town, there are quite a number of tour attractions in and around the city. There are also a number of beautiful hotels in Bujumbura and business was ongoing amidst the tense atmosphere because of the political issues but generally slow at the moment.

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My highlights of my visit was to Muse Vivant which unfortunately is a dilapidated Zoo in Bujumbura. The building could use a new coat of paint and some warmth from the staff. The animals in the cages too did not look the best. It seems like this place was once glorious but had certainly lost this glory. However amidst all this I was thankful for a rare opportunity of touching and sitting on a crocodile. I mastered all the courage I could gather and decided to risk and experience this.

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The other highlights was a visit to the monument where Livingstone met with Stanley. This is just a rock, it goes a long way to show how anything can be a tourist attraction. I also visited Louis Rwagasore Monument in the suburbs of Bujumbura. Louis was the first president of Burundi who was unfortunately assassinated within days of being announced president according to my guide. He was also a prince to the then Kingdom of Burundi. I was able to buy some unique Burundian crafts from the craft village.  Lastly I visited the large local market which has anything and everything, with parking for cars to other parts of the country and those across the border.

img_7291I highly recommend you visit Bujumbura, they have beautiful beach along Lake Tanganyika with affordable hotel rates, you will be surprised by the rates of Club Du Lac Tanganyika rates. Link up with a local to take you through this beautiful capital. Remember to ask permission before you take photographs of anything and everything. I lost over 30 minutes of my time because I took photos of a catholic cathedral. According to the guard, for all they know I could have ill intentions. Even after deleting the photos he was adamant to let me go, instead he insisted I talk to the Priest who would come in later. I thought this was unnecessary but well I obliged. Otherwise explore Burundi even beyond Bujumbura, that will be on my next adventure, for now Bujumbura is all I could bite and chew.

There is no rush in Mombasa, enjoy the white sand beaches…

Sometimes you hear of a place and watch videos and photos of these places and they seem out of this world and unreal. Truth is these places exist, thanks to God who knows human beings love beautiful places (even though sometimes we tend to destroy) and created this beautiful universe. I think it is not too much on us if the request is that we take care of it and leave it better so that those who come after us will enjoy this beauty.

Iconic Mombasa tusks
Iconic Mombasa tusks

My second trip to Mombasa was both leisure and business. I initially traveled to attend the yearly magical Kenya travel expo and stayed extra days to explore a bit of this beauty. My plan is to visit again this time on a purely leisure and indulge more in the different activities available by the Indian Ocean.

Magical Kenya 2015 - Selling destination Uganda
Magical Kenya 2015 – Selling destination Uganda

I love the relaxed spirit of Mombasa…the people are ‘forever’ in a holiday mood and whatever you do, they will not be rushed. There is a joke that unlike other African cities and towns, in Mombasa the cars actually stop because the people have to cross the road in such a relaxed way. This will make sense to you if you have traveled to other cities and seen how we have to run across the streets, because for some reason the traffic laws in many African cities forgot the pedestrians and if they exist, they rarely observed.

Coconut juice at Leisure Lodge, Diani beach
Coconut juice at Leisure Lodge, Diani beach

I recommend Mombasa as a great relaxing holiday destination. There are affordable domestic flights out of Nairobi if you fly into Nairobi and quite a number of flights directly to Mombasa. If you are in East Africa, there are several bus companies plying the route from major cities to Mombasa. If you go, I recommend at least 5 days experiencing the beach and history of the place.

Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders

My journey to Reno – Nevada for the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders began on 18th June 2015 when I left home at 6pm for the Airport. Or it probably began much earlier when I applied for the fellowship last year in October/November.

Javas - Victoria Mall.
Javas – Victoria Mall.

My friend offered to drop me at the airport to which I was super thankful. The usually jammed roads gave way for me – it was surprising that there was much less traffic than usual. We arrived in Entebbe about 8 pm. After a quick bite at Javas – Victoria mall we proceeded to the airport. The check in was not dramatic except that the handle of one of my suitcases gave way. I then joined the other Ugandan fellows heading out to different Universities in the US for a last ‘catch up’.

Entebbe Airport with other Ugandan Fellows
Entebbe Airport with other Ugandan Fellows

The entire trip was about 27 hours and that took a toll on me. By the last connection flight I was so worn out and getting irritable. The first flight was 8hrs 30min to Amsterdam, Netherlands and next was 10hr 15min to Salt Lake City, USA and lastly 1hr 15min to Tahoe International Airport, Reno-Nevada. I am thankful for journey mercies and looking forward to such a rich experience as I interact with business leaders and fellows from across Africa.

Arrival at Reno Tahoe International Airport
Arrival at Reno Tahoe International Airport

My 10 Best activities to include on your visit to Uganda

Uganda is the Pearl of Africa. The features and activities of interest are numerous. If you only have one time to visit this country, choose to at least one of these activities depending on your interests. They are not in any particular order.

  1. Gorilla tracking – Mountain_Gorilla-44Mountain gorillas found only in Uganda, Rwanda, and DR Congo in the whole world. They are endangered species, which have received protection from several conservation agencies. Uganda hosts half of the entire world population. Tracking the gorillas will lead you into the dense Bwindi Impenetrable forest where you will have an opportunity to watch a gorilla family go about the daily life as they feed and groom each other.
  1. Wildlife Safaris
Tree Climbing Lion on
Tree Climbing Lion on

Uganda is home to 10 national parks and numerous game and forest reserves. The national parks are mountainous, forested, and savannah. Four national parks are savannah therefore providing opportunities of game drives – Kidepo Valley, Murchison Falls, Queen Elizabeth, and Lake Mburo National Park. A game drive allows you watch the animals in a comfortable open roof vehicle in their natural habitat – such a breathtaking experience. This provides numerous opportunities of water sports and other activities. It is only in Uganda where you enjoy a safari on the boat. Cruise along the Kazinga Channel, River Nile and Lake Mburo and enjoy the beautiful scenery, animals on the banks and the in water plus numerous bird life.

  1. River Nile IMG_8931                                         Take a visit to the source of longest river in the world, river Nile on Lake Victoria – Jinja, Uganda. There are various activities that take place on this river which include; boat ride to the source, white water rafting, bungee jump and kiss the Nile, kayaking, jet boating
  2. Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi - Southwestern Uganda.
Lake Bunyonyi – Southwestern Uganda.

This beautiful lake is nestled in the southwestern corner of Uganda. It has a rich history and traditions of the Bakiga people. The breathtaking scenery of the interlocking hills and 29 islands scattered on the lake is unmatched. Visit the Batwa people are believed to be the original inhabitants of the forested areas in this region.

  1. Kampala City tour

DSCF1718Kampala is the capital city of Uganda and a cultural melting pot. All the national and international cultures meet in this tropical city with an all year perfect weather. It is also home to one of the remaining Kingdoms, Buganda Kingdom – visit the Palace and Parliament of the Kingdom. Enjoy the various cuisine and night life of Kampala – the city that never goes to sleep.

  1. Take a ferry to Ssese Islands

IMG_8977Ssese Islands located on Lake Victoria will invoke your best memories with their virgin romantic space. The boat ride on Africa’s largest lake is a memorable one. While on Ssese the activities include; forest hikes, biking, squad bikes, fishing, kayaking and beach sports.

  1. Ngamba Island
chimp Feeding time @Ngamba Island
chimp Feeding time @Ngamba Island

Ngamba Island Chimpanzee Sanctuary is located 23km offshore from Entebbe, in Lake Victoria Uganda. It is nearly 100 acres in size and hosts over 50 different types of vegetation that chimps use: the chimps are free to roam at their will, exploring their environment and foraging for food. On arrival, you will receive an orientation talk from a staff of the sanctuary. Thereafter you move to the viewing platform to observe the Chimps during their supplementary feeding times. After the feeding program, you are free to explore the visitor’s area and enjoy the facilities.

  1. Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls
Sipi Falls

These were named as the most romantic waterfalls by Lonely planet. Nestled in Eastern Uganda on the slopes of Mt Elgon, Sipi falls offer the ultimate hiking and scenery experience. In addition, you will an experience of the Sebei culture and a coffee tour.

9. Birding

Malachite_Kingfisher-1Uganda is home to over 1050 bird species, which is 50% of the bird species found in Africa. You are able to find the central African species not found anywhere else in East African. It is host to many migrant birds from Africa and Europe. The small size of the country implies that one can have a record of over 700 bird sightings when they take a trip of 2-3 weeks across the country.

  1. Engage with local community and Cuisine
Buganda traditional Dance
Buganda traditional Dance

A visit to Uganda is not complete without time with the locals. Ugandans are the friendliest people on earth. Uganda has the freshest and most organic foods and fruits that are available all year round; this is due to fertile soils and tropical weather. Because the different regions have rains at different times it ensures that, there is food supply all year round.

For diversity and great scenery – Uganda will serve you a balanced diet. Welcome to Uganda where the East African savannah meets the West African juggle offering the best of both worlds.

Bird watching at Mabamba Wetland Bay – Lake Victoria Uganda

Mabamba wetland is located on Lake Victoria in Uganda. It is accessed by road from both Entebbe and Kampala. This site is the nearest to Kampala that has 90% chance of seeing the famous and endangered shoebill – the number one sought after bird in Uganda. The bird has suffered from habitat loss due to wetland encroachment but with advocacy and conservation efforts, the communities are spearheading its restoration.

A lot of birding happens along the way to Mabamba Wetland where numerous birds are sighted in agricultural/cultivated lands and forests.
On arrival at Mabamba, we were welcomed by the ‘in charge’. After paying a birding fee we were offered a guide and canoe which we embarked on for the exhilarating birding trip. Our main interest was the shoebill – found in South Sudan, Zambia, and Uganda with Uganda having the best chances of sighting. As we search the sky and papyrus, we do not miss opportunities of other water and papyrus birds that make this area their home.

Birding Mabamba Bay - Lake Victoria Uganda
Birding Mabamba Bay – Lake Victoria Uganda

The trip on the waters takes between two to three hours – it took us three hours. The traditional canoes are attached with an engine making them faster to traverse the lake. This provides an income to the communities who offer this transport hence directly benefitting from conserving the shoebill.

On our birding trip we sighted the following birds; Shoebill, Swamp flycatcher, Malachite Kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Black headed Heron, Black Kite, African Open billed Stork, African Jacana, Lesser jacana, Winding Cisticola, African Marsh Harrier. More birds; Common sandpiper, wood sandpiper, Common Moorhen, Long tailed Cormorant, Great Cormorant, Squacco Heron, Black Crake, Grey backed Camaroptera, Yellow throated Long claw, Great Blue Turaco, Common waxbill, Veillots black weaver, Grosbeak weaver, black headed weaver, Olive Sunbird, Crowned Hornbill, Black-and-white Hornbill, African Pied Hornbill,