Heroism

Around this time every year, Ugandans are treated to what many like to call a public holiday. It is a public holiday because most people do not go to work and those who go to work have the luxury of working half day or wearing shorts to the office. They can even gossip all day at the office because the boss will probably be somewhere attending a Government occasion. Also, on this day, one can be sure that bars and hang out joints will be packed – not because people really have much to celebrate but because we are Ugandans – we are not going to let a public holiday pass us by un-celebrated.

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A Public holiday in Uganda means one thing … 

According to the Ugandan Calendar, 9th June is a day that marks Heroes Day – a day whose purpose seems to be an issue of discussion and contention. Some people feel like on this day we ought to remember our fallen soldiers and comrades from the various fields of life including health, education, civil service, governance, finance and so on and so forth. Others feel like this is when the president must remind us about the sacrifices he made along with his twenty-something associates. Some others feel like this is the day when the opposition can become relevant by ridiculing every name the president forwards as a chosen hero. Let’s just say that this is a day that garners quite a lot of debate.

heros-day-2010ff

*cough cough*

Whatever reason one has to celebrate (or utterly ignore) this day, it is safe to say that the calendar does not mark it in red ink for nothing. I therefore took some time to look around me and come up with a formidable list of people I think deserve the title of hero. They may not have wings, status, recognition or money but they sure deserve to be on my list of heroes. And yes – the list is actually endless but I decided to pick 3 special individuals to give a round of applause.

Teachers

For reasons that should be obvious but somehow seem unclear, teachers make it to this list without question. When I look back at my days in school, it is with fondness that I recall Auntie Jolding in my Kindergatten School at Makerere, Mr. Sengendo at Bat Valley Primary School, Mr. Kateregga at Jinja College as well as Mr. Onyango at Gombe S.S. I have been molded by these and other former teachers into the sane and thoughtful person that I am. If I display any kind of madness, confusion or craziness, it is only because of my own personal failures and stubbornness. These people may have thrashed me more times than I can remember, they may have made me want to spill hot boiling water on their chests because of setting abnormally hard exams but I am thankful that they made me who I am today. Any good attributes that I have, I owe to my teachers. There is no doubt that they will forever be heroes in my life.

my_teacher_my_heroTrue Story!

Musisi – Not the one of KCCA

When I mention the name Musisi, it is likely a number of eyebrows will be raised. Many will raise their eyebrows because they think I am starting up some Lukwago vs Musisi bout – far from it. The Musisi I am referring to here is my boda boda guy. This guy makes it to this list despite the fact that it is likely he will not even read this blog. I add him to this list because he has been my savior more times than I can remember. On a number of occasions Musisi has picked me from strange places and dropped me off at strange places without even batting an eyelid. This guy never asks me for money when he drops me because he knows that if I have it, he does not need to ask for it. I pay him what I think he deserves which is hard because most times I end up giving him more than I would give anyone else. When I am lazing around at my muzigo and I have a few errands to run, Musisi is the guy I call upon. I don’t care that he knows close to nothing about policy making or governance. He was certainly not among the NRM liberators, neither is he on any list of national heroes – this guy is still my hero.

Mr. and Mrs. Olupot

As cliché as this may sound, my parents are the most awesome people in the world and for this, they are on this list. Being the awesome person that I am (everyone deserves a moment of vanity), it is quite easy for me to recognize awesomeness. If my parents were total strangers to me, I’d probably still want to associate with them somehow. You see, my dad is one of the most resolute and strict individuals I have ever met. He is a no-nonsense dad who will stop at nothing to make sure his children get what they need. He has on numerous occasions sacrificed several personal pleasures just so his family can have a better life. My mother on the other hands is the calmest, most level headed and most compassionate person I know – after Jesus Christ, who I have never met but somehow I believe exists. This woman has been and still is the pillar and glue of the entire family. How she does this with a bunch of stubborn, no-good, noisy and unstable kids tagging at her all the time, I have no idea. I have been far from a model son and I have disappointed them a number of times but how they always receive me with open arms still baffles me. I fear one day they might run out of patience and probably sell me off to travelers from the East. So far though, they boldly claim me as theirs and I do the same – I gladly claim them as mine. They are my heroes.

Parents

L-R – The Awesome one, the Mother, the father, the Brother

Usually when writing down a list of heroes, it almost comes naturally that the list is endless and yes – mine is endless too. I’ve got my siblings on it because, well, they seem to know how to make me smile. My team mates at 40 Days Over 40 Smiles Foundation are heroes because, well, according to Fred Rogers, anyone who does anything to help a child in his life is a hero. I’ve got 1 or 2 colleagues because they are not just colleagues but really good friends and of course I have a bunch of friends. If I started mentioning names, I would probably receive hate mail, death threats and nasty text messages because I just cannot name all my friends. However, all the friends I have met over the years (even those who owe me and who I owe), I treasure and value as real heroes. They have taught me lessons about how to avoid going behind bars, how to survive on the littlest amount of money, how to get over heartbreak, how to survive this harsh economy and basically how to stay alive. It goes without saying that anyone who reads this blog is a hero. Sparing your data and time to read over 1000 words is no simple task. You are all heroes!

yOU

You are my Hero!

Happy Heroes Day everyone!

“My own heroes are the dreamers, those men and women who tried to make the world a better place than when they found it, whether in small ways or great ones. Some succeeded, some failed, most had mixed results… but it is the effort that’s heroic, as I see it. Win or lose, I admire those who fight the good fight.”  ― George R.R. Martin

Bernard
a.k.a Beewol
The Talkative Rocker
Follow @beewol on Twitter

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Employment Crack Code

Nearly every adult Ugandan has voiced their concern about the unemployment levels in this otherwise blessed country. Political parties have been set up, associations formed and tantrums thrown all in the name of the high levels of unemployment. I was recently chatting with a Human Resource Manger of a major telecom company (NO, I do not have her phone number so please do not ask me for details). Our discussion centered on the employment market and how crowded and pathetic it is. True, we did veer off topic once or twice; it was hard to concentrate with her Dollydagger Dita black red polka dress screaming for attention right there, in front of me. Also, she had a dragon tattoo that kept peeping from the back of her neck – as if asking me to say something. That said, most of our discussion was about the employment market and it’s perks. Red

The dress that almost stole away my attention

You see, gone are the days when one would hold a graduation party while they have 2 or 3 job offer letters lying around somewhere in their house. Today, several years after you have graduated, you may still be seen languishing in cafes, coffee shops and parks looking to bump into old friends who can offer you jobs. The hunt for jobs has dangerously been elevated. You may come across a bunch of employment opportunities advertised in the local press but it will be quite a while before any of them actually works out for you.

JobSearchNewspaperTough luck!

In light of this, one would wonder how the heck we are going to survive. Why do Universities still churn out graduates anyway? It is not like new jobs for fresh graduates will suddenly be manufactured from a factory somewhere in Kyankwanzi. In addition, it has become apparent that older folks have more active taste buds and more insatiable appetites than the younger folks. How else would one explain a grey haired dude occupying four or five  jobs which could easily be filled by five different young and energetic people? Overall, it is safe to say that the situation may not improve any time soon.

Many vital questions can be asked in 2014. Is Pharrel Williams a vampire who never ages? What really happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Does Beyonce’s fart smell nasty? Is Tamale Mirundi a descendant of the Mayans? Will Nigeria colonize Uganda one day? Who is more beautiful between Lupita Nyong’o and Jenniffer Hudson? Very many unanswered questions still haunt us. However, the biggest question right now would be: How shall we deal with unemployment in Uganda?

My humble suggestion lies in two very simple solutions. If I may;

1. Stop waiting and make the call

Many unemployed Ugandans are guilty of sitting back and waiting for nature to call them to the dinner table. Unfortunately for them, nature has way too many problems to deal with that she will need a lot more time to attend to each and every one of them. Instead of waiting for lady luck to smile your way, how about getting off your lazy bottom and going out there to do hunt down this fat lipped lady luck? Instead of sitting back and reading the dailies in search of job opportunities, it wouldn’t be a bad idea for you to think of doing something on your own. Something that will not require you to send in an application letter or appear before the firing squad at an interview committee that will leave you all drenched in sweat. Go out there and do something that you are passionate about, something that may not bring in as much money at the start but is bound to do so with time and dedication. Many unemployed people today blame the Government for the apathy that they suffer. Blaming the Government is something we must all do – it is our civic duty to blame the Government for bad roads, ugly girls, poor service delivery, lousy weather, slow internet, anything and everything… not to mention unemployment. However, after the blame game has been played, one needs to wake up to the realization that while you are busy blaming the Government, your neighbor (who strangely is also under the same government) wakes up at 6:00 am every morning to set up his Rolex stall where he will then proceed to make some really good money without waiting for the Government to come and light his sigiri or buy him baking flour. About time you got off that lazy ass and stopped waiting for the Government to find you a job – the Government is busy dealing with more important issues like the 36 Billion shilling MPs parking lot that flooded and drafting a bill to curb the smoking of shisha.

Rolex

The Government did not set his alarm for him to rise early

2. Embrace your passion and package yourself already! 

Very many unemployed people are quite talented at certain things and they are not even aware of it. Just because you graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Industrial Chemistry does not mean you cannot become a fine writer, movie star or Human Resource Manager. In Uganda, many of the courses we do at the University have to do with how we performed at ‘A’ Level. Sadly, this may not exactly be one’s passion in life. I know someone who passed ‘A’ level literature with flying colours but can barely write a 50 word story without making thirteen grammatical errors. Their passion is in another field – beer. Not drinking it, but marketing it. So he now works for a top Beer company where his skills are better suited. The onus is upon everyone to know what they are good at and go out there to embrace exactly that. The days when elders were worried about you wasting your Bachelor’s Degree in Development Studies by becoming a Nursery School Teacher are long gone. If your passion is in teaching little kids, direct your dreams, aspirations and focus towards exactly that. Not only will it help you garner the mojo to go out and hunt for an opportunity that best suits you, it will also help you grow your strengths and thus increase your chances of performing well when the time for the job arrives.

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You’ll be shocked how much money you can get from Poultry!

Why so serious?

A traditional reader of this blog will probably be wondering why I decided to tackle a ‘big-people’ subject like unemployment when there are several lighter and more humorous subjects. The thing is, after talking to the dragon tattoo lady, I realized that the power to change the state of affairs lies in people who have a mouthpiece or platform. If I can say a word or two about something, I may as well do my part and help one or two people. Also, it will give me a chance to appear wise and insightful no matter how contrary the evidence may suggest.

So then, for your weekly dose of inspiration –

“All the possibilities of your human destiny are asleep in your soul. You are here to realize and honor these possibilities.” ― John O’Donohue, Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom

Bernard

a.k.a Beewol

The Talkative Rocker

Follow @beewol on Twitter