Today I bought a return ticket home. I am very excited to return back to the UK for a few months, knowing that my time spent there will be of value and purpose and of course I get to visit the beautiful friends and family that I have missed so dearly.
It got me thinking about the time I have spent so far in Uganda with the Bavubuka Foundation at the Dynasty. Moving from moment to moment, pushing through challenges and building blocks for future work, I had forgotten a lot of the great achievements and memories I have made over the five months I have been here.
Luckily Babaluku Uganda is a keen archivist, and never lets a moment pass without grabbing his iphone, capturing the magic we experience on a day to day bases. Through his lense I have began to see my achievements and moments of growth over these weeks and months…
I am remembering the countless mornings at the magic table at the Dynasty, sat behind my computer, surrounded by rolex, cassava and tea, trying my best to make sense of the huge range of possibilities and work that could and should be done within the foundation. Trying to make community impact from behind a computer can sometimes feel very frustrating and far removed from the people and communities I would like to serve, but time and patience has proved that the seeds planted grow into beautiful stems and flower in magnificent ways, and over time will become a strong foundation that will feed and sustain the foundation and its people in years to come.
The magic table also serves to feed us, and bring us together as a family. Mostly my dinners were served very late, 10 or 11pm my eyes would be heavy as I munched through the local Ugandan food, which I have grown to love. I have also felt challenged at that table, unable to join in conversation in the local language, with time I hope those barriers fall away.
Within the pictures captured is Silas’ birthday celebration, a wonderful memory I will never forget. A day of cooking, an evening of celebration, and a night dancing to the wonderful beat of the Nilotika ensemble, with their traditional African drums. We pay respect and celebrate my wonderful friend and mentor Babaluku; his friends and family showed up in dozens, sharing testimonials of the incredible work he has done over the years, as a musician and community builder, he has inspired generations of people to find purpose and use their gifts to transform the lives of others. I don’t have enough words to express the gratitude I feel for the time spent with him and his organisation, I only promise to continue the work we have done in the best way I can.
There are plenty of road trips to Jinja to be remembered. Our quest to find land for the Indigenous Hip Hop and Sustainable Agriculture movement has been long with lots of learning along the way. I laugh now thinking of that day in Jinja, in dialogue with a local Ugandan land owning lady, a Chinese lady with the land title, her lawyer, and Silas, proving that buying land is not a straight forward process here and that we must trust that the universe will prove that our patience will be fruitful in the end.
I have loved and also felt challenged in growing and building my fashion social enterprise Fabric of Life. I am very proud standing here today, after months of planning, designing, building, and networking, we are very close to seeing Fabric of Life workshops come to fruition. More lessons have been learned in this process, lessons around trusting the process, being patient and letting things happen naturally whilst also working hard. A part of the process I have loved is getting to know local fashion designers in Uganda and supporting their work. I particularly loved the fashion shoot with Charity and model Devine.
The people I have met in this short time have inspired me massively to do the work. There are leaders here in Uganda, that at such a young age have such passion, focus and purpose, they inspire me every day to work hard to serve them in facilitating transformation in their communities. I am indeed surrounded by masses of talent. A generation of young people, serving and growing into powerful change-makers through honouring the Hip Hop culture in all its elements. I have felt a real grounding and respect within this culture and I am continually amazed by it.
Animals have played a fun role in my time here! I loved my visit to the Dorcus project, and have continually hoped and prayed in my own way that those pigs continue to be healthy and breed so that they are able to serve the community its is trying to reach. I hope Brian is able to continue his hard work at the farm, as I know that project could be a great success and change the lives of the women and children it is trying to help. The Hip Hop chickens at the Dynasty are now a massive part of my day. I love to watch them run around the garden and I am continually entertained by the antics that arise from those animals. Each chicken has its own personality and purpose and I very much look forward to seeing that project become a success through the hard work and determination of Mr Gilbert Frank Daniels!
M-Lisada has been a significant part of my journey here and I have loved the visits to the children’s home and loved all the performances I have seen of the children dancing, singing and playing instruments. I have recently been a part of the Empowered to Lead programme, delivered by Maughan, at M’Lisada which was a moving experience for me, I learned a a lot about myself and what it takes to be a leader. It was particularly moving for me to go through the process of writing a purpose statement for myself, setting the intent for my future was a powerful activity as I was making a promise to myself to be the driver of my own destiny and fulfil what I was put on this earth to do.
My recent experience hosting In Place of War for three days at the Foundation and within our communities was one of the proudest most satisfying moments of my life. The outcomes of hosting talented musicians and producers along side passionate community change-makers were immense and limitless. I loved the whole experience and it has given me the energy and motivation to move into 2017 knowing that I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing work that moves me and give me purpose, serving others whilst also living my passions and dreams.
I can not include all the great achievements, moments and memories I have encountered over the past five months, but what I can do is make a promise to myself and the people I work with that the next 12 months will be even better. I have learned a lot about myself and the world in which i run around, and finally feel like I am not searching or running from place to place, but I am living with purpose and intent, driving my own happiness and experiences. I very much look forward to 2017, and hope it is a little more peaceful than 2016. 2016 has given me a lot of life lessons, and I will use that wisdom to move into a year of power and creation!