Since October 2016, the 1977 graduate Class of Makerere University medical School has been planning for its 40 years Reunion of the 10th to 12th November 2017.
It came and went, leaving us asking for more just like Oliver Twist.
As youths of our time, we had dreams, hopes and ambitions and we had held onto them despite what we went through during the hostile political climate of the late 70s and early 80s. After the graduation, we were forced to look for the freedom of opportunity and choice elsewhere. Little wonder then that we gathered from more than five countries to celebrate this Reunion. We could not thank our teachers enough for adequately preparing us to work anywhere in the world. We faced many challenges like having to re-write final examinations but in the end we triumphed.
These same teachers believed in our potential so much that we also came to believe in it. The belief in our potential and the exposure to horrors in the prime of our lives liberated us to do more with our lives. Among us are several professors, physicians, paediatricians, gynaecologists, surgeons,public health specialists, Family Health Practitioners, and three of us have built and are running their own private hospitals. We realized our potential, creativity and are always grateful for living out our purpose and passion.
As expected, we have lost many colleagues during these forty years. We remember them with great respect and honour.
We have all grown and matured but still we are down- to –earth people looking fit, well groomed and looking the part of senior doctors of today and doing things in a measured way.
As mature people, we have earned the right to claim our power and express it in the world while at the same time taking the responsibility to give back to the communities that created us.
By the shores of Lake Victoria in Munyonyo, we met as old friends and equal partners, claiming and living our lives. We had taken separate journeys but here we were doing things together. It gave us a chance to love and value one another while holding on the best of what we achieved during the five years in the medical school. We listened to each other, hearts pounding with excitement and learned from each other’s experiences. We had great appreciation for our lives and courage. Well aware that nothing lasted forever, we stayed in the moment and enjoyed it for its own sake.
Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor once said: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress, working together is success.”
We talked, laughed, told stories and were happy and proud to be in each other’s company. It was an experience of renewal. Over these forty years we have had to redefine relationships to people, to work and institutions so that they are more fulfilling in the current stage of our lives.
I found it hard to believe that the youths of the 70s had turned into these sophisticated men and women who carried themselves with more confidence. Most of us are married with children and grandchildren. It was heart-warming to note that a number of us have children following into our footsteps as medical doctors. It just felt right for each one of us to be real- living out one’s great story.
A few of us had taken the trouble to collect our favourite music of the 70s and just like the 70s, we sang the choruses out loud. It ended up being a case of ‘Where were you when…….’
Such music brought back fond memories of our social lives at the university.
The luncheon we shared with our teachers left us humbled and made us commit to continue serving and helping others in our communities. We know for sure that what we do has a ripple effect in the world beyond us. The onus is on us to continue the good work of our Role Models.
Life goes on and while we still have the shared values of sincere friendship and the duty to protect and promote the health of our people, we believe that we can do much more with what we have.
The synergy created by our coming together will guide us into doing something new and better than we have ever done before. I only have great admiration and respect for each member who contributed in any way towards making this Reunion much fun and memorable. It was an opportunity for us to find a sense of high meaning and value in our lives.
All in all, it has been worth the sacrifice and it was fantastic to have been a part of it.
Sir Richard Branson’s quote sums it up : “ There is no greater thing you can do with your life and your work than follow your passion-in a way that serves the world and you.”
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