Knowledge is said to be power especially when you apply it to improve your life and the lives of others. From a tender age, one of my young sisters has amazed me by how she clearly knew what she wanted in life and how to get it. Enid has always loved cooking and her fantasy was to cook and serve hearty meals at home, in hotels and at big functions. Before she sat for her Ordinary Level examinations, she had made up her mind to take up a course in Catering and Hotel Management. She did not stop there, she knew some of the best colleges in UK where she could pursue it.
She made it extremely easy for us to facilitate the realization of her dream. By the early 80’s, she was cheerfully studying that particular course in a college in South east London.
She pursued the 2 years course with determination and gave it her whole. With the innocence of a child, she was curious and developed that sense of being ready to explore. She approached each new experience with wonder and took it as an opportunity to learn. She trained her mind to persevere, she focused on the task and excelled.
She developed a sense of discipline and responsibility which enabled her to finish the course among the cream of the crop. We were all not surprised when she was immediately offered her first job in the Kitchen department of the prestigious Saint Thomas’ hospital in London. She worked with the team planning and preparing the patients’ meals.
She then set her mind to getting married by her twenty-fifth birthday. By her twenty -third birthday, I was in London with my eight months old son celebrating her marriage to a brilliant, diligent, focused and rational Ugandan student pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Leeds, West Yorkshire. Later as they grew old together , I found out that they shared common interest, values and purpose in life.
A few months later, the young engineer had completed his PhD and was offered a job as a lecturer in the Faculty of Engineering at the University Of Nairobi. Enid found no difficulty in getting a job at the Kenya Utalii College, Nairobi founded in 1975. It is now Africa’s leading Hospitality and Tourism training institution. She lectured there with a lot of enthusiasm until her return to Uganda with their first child in 1987.
She immediately went into self –employment. She started her own catering company and tapped into the fullness of her capacities. Since then, day after day she has served delicious meals across all levels from the state house to the ordinary men and women in their homes.
All these years, she tapped into her creativity, creating dishes which express who she is: passionate, positive, patient , energetic, tender-hearted, and fun-loving. She has never allowed herself to be controlled by fear; she often feels it but then goes on to do what is required of her. To many people’s surprise, she hardly misses the 7am Mass at her church!
She never forgets to allow herself to take it easy : enjoying her beer and dancing. This is what helps her to have inner peace and increase her productivity. After all it is the Magician in each one of us who helps us to be true to ourselves while the Fool in us allows us to express our childlike spontaneity and playful creativity gifting us with enjoyment, pleasure and aliveness.
It has not been plain sailing; she has faced many challenges like having to wake up every day at the crack of dawn to travel the thirty-two kilometers to Nakasero market in Kampala to buy the fresh food, fruits and vegetables.
With the support of the engineer, she has always been able to take it all into her stride.
Like any great teacher, she has inspired, mentored and encouraged many young women and men . She has used her unique talents to create a thriving community within the Hospitality industry.
I for one have watched with great joy and pride as she transformed herself into a sophisticated cook, wife, mother, and grandmother. She has earned the title of a celebrated cook.
She constantly renews herself as a cook and still creates mouth-watering dishes just for the joy of it.
Oprah Winfrey said: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
Enid, you are always full of life, energy and joy. This gift was truly yours nothing or no one can take it away from you.
I can never have enough of your version of Shredded Chicken with Vegetables and the Stuffed pumpkin- meat in the moon. I would say that you cook from the heart.
Maurice Young said: “To become a master at any skill, it takes the total effort of you: heart, mind, and soul working together in tandem.”
Young sister, I take off my hat to you. You are among the best of your time; I had to share you with the world.
Like ‘Johnnie Walker’ keep walking strong. They say that the hunt is never over until both your heart and your belly are full.
Thank you for reading this post. Kindly share it with family and friends especially the young ones to encourage them follow their dreams and live them. I would also love to hear of your experiences related to this topic.