The celebration of our 40th Class Reunion on the 10th to 12 the November 2017, got me seriously thinking about the time, energy, the sacrifices and challenges that go into creating the life you want for yourself.
It is every parent’s desire and wish for her/his children to have better opportunities, choices and enjoy better lives than them. Our parents were not any different; they tried all that they could to develop our talents and interests. They worked hard to take us to the best schools available during our time for they knew for sure that the best education would get us into the best jobs. But then the coup of January 1971 changed everything forever.
By the time we graduated in 1977 from the only university of our time we did not feel safe and secure any more. Many of us felt confined and alienated and feared of the future. We knew that what we wanted in life could not be achieved in this limiting environment. It was only natural that many of us took the courage to make the choice to live Uganda and look for opportunities elsewhere to realize our full potential. Among those who stayed were a few who had the conflicting responsibility of caring for siblings or parents. The civil strife continued well into the late 80s so more of us left.
Thankfully, our teachers had imparted to us knowledge, skills, energy and attitude that enabled us to compete favourably globally. It did not happen overnight; some of us had to re-write examinations to be registered. I for one had to work for ten years before I could be allowed to apply for Permanent Residency and enjoy better benefits as an immigrant. It was tough to juggle against other responsibilities like starting families and supporting them. Finally we got assimilated into the new systems and our children flourished. We made the most of the opportunities and choices available to us. We took responsibility for the choices we made. Having goals and priorities and at the same time determined to keep the passion to make a difference, we strived to overcome the challenges. We opened up our minds and hearts to learn about the people and new environment and we thrived.
The two stable elements that made it easier for us to make all the other changes required of us was having the job we trained for and having a family. Doing the work you love while making adequate living and contributing to society’s good made it worth the struggle. After all at graduation we were all eager to use the knowledge and skills we had acquired to improve ourselves and our society.
40 years later when we find ourselves holding this quickly planned reunion at the very place where it all began, it transformed itself into a purposeful celebration. It enabled us to see, appreciate, and celebrate how far we had come. It gave us the opportunity to remember what we did right and to agree on what we needed to conquer at the next level. It brought clarity to what we want to do and see as a group. We shared our unique personal stories and reassessed our achievements. We were all grateful that we had found both our potential and power despite the odds.
We celebrated and reinforced the good in us mindful of the fact that we never allowed the circumstances to defeat us even at the worst of times.
We acknowledged our remarkable teachers, our families and friends for their role in what we have become. At our age, we have become leaders of our families, communities and societies. We have acquired the wisdom of age: become integrated, whole and responsible. We have claimed our power to influence and impact others while each one of us continues to live her/his own deep and great story. Little wonder then that we are now all focused on finding ways to live with more significance and depth. The synergy we created has given us a momentum to work together as we continue to contribute to society’s good.
Mark Twain an American writer said: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did.’’
And Louse .E. Boone said: “The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions:
might have and should have.”
Do not let this happen to you.
Thank you for reading this post and may it stimulate you to go out and find ways of achieving your full potential for your own good and for the good of mankind.
I would love to hear your personal experiences along this path.