TRIBUTES vs EULOGIES – my view on appreciation of remarkable people & Sir Alex Ferguson – A Great Man in my view.

First of all I will start by apologizing for my absence and explaining that between a much needed trip away from Kampala to Mombasa and a return right into the deep end at work, I have surely slept on job here. But I’m back with more stories and adventures to share. This week Sir Alex Ferguson (SAF) retired, a great shock and its amazing what football has done to the world, because despite nationality, region, club, like/dislike, tributes have followed reactions to a great man. This post will be 2 fold – a tribute to SAF and a discussion of tributes vs eulogies.

I think if I’m not wrong that a tribute is a celebration of an achievement of a person, dead or alive, but in most cases alive. You achieve and people pay tribute to your achievement. On the other hand a eulogy is a tribute to a deceased person, a celebration of a life ended. Now we live life, walking so many journeys and touching so many lives and sometimes we are paid tributes and other times we are eulogised…..But personally I prefer tributes. WHY you may ask?

Over the past few years I have attended funerals of truly remarkable people, I have truly been inspired by them and some I didn’t even know but I am sad when I imagine I did not get to know such remarkable people when they were alive. Out of respect to those who lost their loved ones I will not mention names but I will pick 1 or 2 examples. Once I was at a good friend’s mum’s funeral and I sat there listening to speaker after speaker and I honestly thought to myself what a remarkable lady this was, a lady who cooked food for her four children but when 8 relatives showed up she would not complain but simply share that little, she was not rich by any standard but even to her sickness and death she opened her heart to even strangers.

Sometimes we take such things for granted but how many people do we know as remarkable as these??? I was a friend to this guy for years but despite meeting his mum on about 3 occasions I had never experienced just who she was and here I am at her funeral service, almost moved to tears that people are this nice in this day and age, my loss for sure for not having spent more time with her. Another example was a funeral of a girl I knew from hostel at campus and I always knew about her kindness, charisma and friendliness but what I did not know is how many people she had touched in her simple life. Taking bodas in the middle of the night to help complete strangers and now she has gone and people are sharing just what she meant to them, sad I tell you.

In short so many times we meet people and after interactions with them we ask ourselves, wow, what a person, they touch our lives in ways we realize much later at times and we continue to live with these people without ever explaining to them just what they have done for us and before we know it, they are in a coffin right in front of us. I dislike eulogies and even at my own mother’s funeral I had little to say because somehow I felt that all I had to say was to her and even attempting to explain it to a church full of people would simply remind me of the many times I failed to tell her to her face, at a birthday, anniversary or just an ordinary day that I thought to myself what a remarkable woman she was but never told her, even when she was just next to me. (Happy Mother’s Day to her tomorrow btw) Many people miss this chance and all they have left are eulogies.

But why not go one better than giving that brilliant eulogy that no one will ever forget and give the tributes to people when they are with us? Every time you think “Wow, what a nice gesture by Bernard”, why not tell him straight up??? I don’t know about heaven or the afterlife but I want to believe now is the only time they are listening and we need to let them know just how remarkable these people have been to us. So I challenge all of you today to read this and start living life appreciating all your people, all those who touch you daily directly or indirectly, tell them today, tell them at a dinner, birthday, anniversary, think of that eulogy and turn it into a tribute there an then, so that this way someone goes knowing just what an impact they had on the world and what appreciation the world has for them.

So Sir Alex Ferguson aka fergie retired this week, many did not see it coming and instead of concentrating on the why now or what next, I will take a moment to pay a tribute to him, because that is what is important now, for him to know that he touched more than Man Utd, more than England, more than football but the world itself and for him to know this today. I have read tributes from his friends like Mourihno, Redknapp, Big Sam, Capello and also from his old adversaries like Arsene Wenger & Benitez. I am an Arsenal FC fan (Gunner for life!!!) and have been so for about 14 years and as such Fergie would be one of my enemies but I must say that even over the years, even as I hated Man Utd (and still do as our rival), I still always had nothing but respect and admiration for Fergie, the guy beat us, built new teams, competed with the old guard (Keagan) and new guard (Mourihno) and kept adjusting his winning formula with the times keeping him so competitive all the years. Now if that is not a great man, I do not know who is. So I have learnt perseverance, adaptability, positive competitiveness and love for this game from watching fergie over the years and I intend to use these traits in my very life and maybe I can be a success too. So today I stand up with millions across the world, as we toast and pay tribute to a great man, Sir Alex Ferguson, nothing but admiration for him. Good rest Fergie!!! (But may Man Utd now falter……..lol, could not resist!)

So my good friends, fergie is just another example of the importance of tributes vis a vis eulogies, well if it’s too late, I have no problem with eulogies but I would prefer to tell the person while they are here and so as usual I will continue appreciating and paying tribute to all the special people in my life. So thank you all for reading this and consider this my tribute to you. Tomorrow is Mothers Day, a good opportunity for many to pay tribute to these remarkable women that have mothered us (ranging from mums to sisters to teachers) – HAPPY MOTHERS DAY!

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Trapped: Why do so many people who go abroad to study fail to come home?

I have seen so many people including very good friends of mine go abroad to study especially at University level and then 4 years down the road, Uni is done, they get an internship of sorts or even a job and say they will work for one year then come home, 5 years down that road they still remain there and now the realization that they may never come back begins to become a reality. But what happens to these people? I have not studied abroad to date so I cannot claim to know, why? But a few interactions and experiences with friends who have led me to believe that these people become trapped in a sort of fear. I will use a ypothetical example:

A goes to Britain for Uni and finishes after 4 years, gets an internship for 6 months which ends and they say maybe I’ll do some little jobs here and save up some money to start with when I get home. The reasoning is basically you do not want to start from scratch when you get here so you require some basics, maybe a car and ability to live comfortably while looking for a job at home, a process that would take even up to a year at times. So you start working here and there and then you set a date to come home, say July 2011, it arrives and you claim you are not ready so you say December 2011, that too arrives and you are still  not ready. Before you know it, you are in a state of little job after little job, living below a comfortable line, struggling to make ends meet because you are not really saving and so you keep working and extending those deadlines. It is now April 2013.

Meanwhile what is happening back home while you are away? Life is moving on, your siblings have grown up. Your year mates are fast hitting the corporate structure in Uganda. For example: If your year mates graduated from Makerere in May 2011, You graduated in the UK in July 2011, at that point if you came home you are all the same, just starting out. The hustle is on. But if you chose to stay for an extra period, then your year mates get their 1st jobs, probably in banks and telecom companies, nothing fancy, some may even get their first cars and so when you hear stories back home about B driving, C promoted etc……..you start to realize that maybe you are being left behind and panic a little, hence you decide to stay longer again in the misguided guise that you are going to work harder and save more.

But I believe even at that point, even when your year mates have been in employment for 1-2 years; you can still come back and compete, why? Because they may have their 1st cars, have moved out of home to Kampala suburbs and all, but fact is they are all struggling to even save 100k a month and have not really gone that far, they are mostly on that 1st salary not above 1miliion or slightly above and with that they have managed to do all that, so believe me A can still come back and hustle with these guys. But then again A probably decides to stay a little longer because he is scared to come and compete at this stage, so now fast forward to April 2013.

Your year mates have been working for say, 2-3 years, some have been promoted, some have better cars, started to build homes and or even getting married. What a difference a year makes! While you are still in the UK on a job hustle with nothing much going. The idea of coming home terrifies you because your contemporaries are at the next level in life and you have fallen behind. But personally I believe even at this point you still have a second chance to close in on the gap, as it is not yet that big and now you can see it only gets bigger while you only postpone your return to no avail. In another 5 years when people are celebrating their kids 1st birthdays, you will be the cool Uncle from the UK that can only come to visit then go back to hustle, all because you kept postponing that return.

In conclusion I believe people stay for the wrong reasons, fear maybe but I urge them to stop lying to themselves because guess what; you’d rather struggle at home that out there. We have all been at points where we work and even that is not enough, then you run home for the occasional free meal or to “tap” fuel, yes even when you have just started working, coz it’s a hustle. But out there where are you going to run for that free home cooked meal in hard times? You end becoming a “prisoner” in a foreign country. The importance of studying abroad is to get an edge over us who studied here, because you have seen what else the world has to offer, and then you use that edge to come here and out compete us who stayed but not to lose the edge and get trapped such that it makes no difference.

So while I may not fully understand why people stay there, I appreciate there is a growing fear of coming home to the unknown, to start building, so always my advice will be: Don’t get trapped, come home and hustle!!! Besides you have an advantage. Maybe some people out there can share their views and make me understand otherwise. Like the common adage goes: “East or West, Home is best…or there’s no place like home”

Bm

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WHY ARE WE LOSING THE FIGHT WE ONCE WON? – HIV/AIDS

The problem of HIV/AIDS has become a global calamity, but I will focus on the Jekyll & Hyde fight Uganda has had with this problem. Uganda was one of the Africa countries worst hit by this disease in the early 80’s………everyone will remember Philly Lutaaya and the 80’s song “today is me….” A few years later as the 90’s appeared, the Government took the fight to the street, tired of their people dying they embarked on massive eradication of this disease, even the President got involved, awareness, preaching the messages of abstinence, faithfulness and safe sex rang from every corner of the country, from churches, hospitals, clubs, schools etc………the result, a successful fight that became an example to many countries worldwide, infection rates went down, mortality rates were more than halved and a success story was Uganda’s fight against HIV/AIDS in the 90’s.

Fast forward 2008 is here and the rates are now rapidly heading back up. As at 2011, Uganda is back in the news and not for the success story that marveled the world but the U-turn. Statistics as at 2012 show abt 1.2 million Ugandans are infected (670,000 women and 190,000 children), worse still about 1.2 million children to date are orphaned because of this disease. With deaths at 62,000 and a high infection rate making 4.91% of the population victims, we must now ask ourselves, WHERE DID IT ALL GO WRONG?

I recently listened in to a program discussing this issue and one of the callers said “The problem with this generation is that they did not see that bad AIDS of the 80’s that made people lose all their hair, lose body parts and killed them so terribly so they are not scared of the disease like we were” and another caller said “The availability of many treatment options has created a laxity in prevention mechanisms”. I have since discussed this with a number of people and heard varying opinions from “People’s income has generally increased hence more to spend and a reckless life” to “Loss of family values” etc and I have come to one conclusion.

Where did we go wrong? Why are we losing? What changed? Etc………….i’ll tell you what: ATTITUDE!!!! That is what changed; all the reasons culminate into that. Attitude at all levels, the government got less involved, “took its foot off the pedal”……….the message got irrelevant, why because while many more people got infected, we concentrated on faithfulness and abstinence as opposed to centering it on safe sex. It is no secret more people are having unsafe sex and sex outside marriage, so why preach values of faithfulness to such? Why not alter the message to be centered on safety. I’m not saying we ditch one for the other, all I’m saying is we preach all the 3 but basing on the numbers and situation on ground, move our campaigns from abstinence and faithfulness to sex safe! I believe it would be more relevant that way.

Also we need to preach that ARV’s and other treatments have not made the disease any less dangerous and it is not a CURE but a management agent therefore there is no room for laxity. In the words of one of the callers, make the disease scary again (If it means show the 80’s scenarios daily on TV so be it)…………….At a personal level we also need to change our attitude, we got too lax and stopped fearing AIDS, we need to be reminded that even if we do not see the devastating symptoms of hair loss, genital loss and others, there are worse ones like orphaned children numbering 1.2 million. People need to stop having sex outside marriage, or before marriage BUT if they do they need to be safe.

The message of safe sex is a crucial one at this time, for casual sex, pre-marital sex, extra marital sex and any other sex out there. We need to remind the cultural and religious institutions of their previous role in this fight (though the Catholic Church may not really condom safety as prevention). We need to press Government to make it a campaign once more BUT most of all we need to change our attitude NOW and save a life! Go for testing today, practice abstinence, faithfulness or safe sex but do not opt for nothing……………the fight is back people, we relaxed and thought the battle was won, our enemy has capitalized on this BUT once again we can show it that we defeated it before and will defeat it again. The generation may have changed but the desire to leave has not, let us fight NOW, Change your attitude today and show HIV/AIDs the door once again. Step 1: get tested!!!

Be safe!

Bm

 

 

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BERNARD’S 17 FRIENDSHIP LESSONS FOR YOU…………..

1.

Forever is a very long time. How is it that people can talk so casually about a concept that we cannot even wrap our minds around? Sometimes we have a friend and we sense that our souls are very closely connected. We know that the connection is above time and space. We know that wherever we are in our lives we will always remain friends. Even if we do not see each other for years we are able to pick up right where we left off. This is what people mean when they say friends forever.

 

2.

Fighting is part of every real relationship. The key is knowing how to resolve the fight without breaking up the friendship. Often it is the individual who knows how to communicate by sharing his feelings and not pointing fingers who can diffuse the situation. Since both members of the friendship are feeling defensive, it becomes a risky and sensitive venture. It may talk a couple tries to fully resolve your differences but you will come out with a stronger friendship at the other end.

 

3.

People expect that friendships will make them feel good all time. When there is something about the friendship that invites complication, friends might start to wonder whether the friendship is a good idea. The truth is that if one expects a friendship to always be fun and lighthearted, he is missing the point of friendship. Everyone wants to hang around when there are good times to be had. The real test of friendship is being there when the going gets tough.

 

4.

Most friendships only last for a particular phase of our lives. When that developmental period is over, the friendship may dissolve. For a friendship to last a lifetime there must be something really special between you. There must be a connection that transcends time and space. This kind of a friendship also takes certain flexibility. People change throughout their lifetimes and they must continue to search for commonalities between themselves if they expect their friendship to endure.

 

5.

Sharing good times with good friends is the greatest joy. This is the stuff that makes life worthwhile. Whether sharing a meal together or a good conversation, there is nothing more fulfilling then spending time with friends. We must be thankful for the friendships that come our way for not all are blessed with the skills to form deep relationships. Those of us that do have friends must never take for granted the gift bestowed upon us.

 

6.

Preserving a friendship requires many skills. One of the most important of these is the ability to say I’m sorry. We all make mistakes. Hurting each other from time to time is inevitable, especially in a close friendship. Some people are incapable of apologizing, because they are unable to admit that they may have made a mistake. There is no way for a friendship to last without apologies. Saying I’m Sorry in a sincere and compassionate way will preserve your friendship and deepen the bond that you share.

 

7.

People come into our life disguised as angels, and sometimes angels come into our life disguised as people. It is possible to see God anywhere. All it takes are open eyes and ears and the willingness to see miracles. They are everywhere. God is as available as we are. Having friends that inspire us to rise to higher and greater levels is an awesome gift. Surround yourself with people that inspire you to do better and inspire your friends as well. It is a profound truth that the people we spend time with shape the path that we travel.

 

8.

When friends are forced to be apart from each other for whatever length of time, it will be a difficult period for the two of them. They will be forced to go through their normal routines apart from each other. Each one may miss the qualities that the other contributed to the friendship. There is a saying that, “absence makes the heart grow fond”. This may be an opportunity for each of them to realize how important each one is to the other’s life. They will miss each other, and long for the time when they can be together again.

 

9.

You may meet a person and instantly know that you will be best friends forever. Other friendships develop over an extended period of time. In some friendships you may feel a sense of equality, while in others there may be a clear sense that one is giving more to the friendship then the other. There are no rules about how a friendship has to be. If you are able to share your life with another human being, by all means go right ahead. All friendships are unique and special in their own way. Each one is valuable.

 

10.

Trust is the most important component of any relationship. If you do not trust a person, you probably do not consider them your friend. The building blocks of friendship are based on sharing the deepest parts of yourself and believing that they will be held sacred. You believe this about your friend and he believes it about you. The more you trust each other, the deeper the friendship that you have built. If you don’t have trust in your friend, you don’t have a friendship.

 

11.

Saying thank you may be the two hardest words that friends share. We like to see ourselves as independent and not needing anyone’s help. When a friend does something for us, it is difficult to humble ourselves by thanking them. Believe it or not, as strong as your need is to believe yourself independent, your friend may have an even stronger need to hear the words “thank you”. Your friend will appreciate that he is also a contributor to the friendship.

 

12.

To be a friend takes a lot of strength. There will be times when you will question why you ever got involved with this person. Times like these are the true test of friendship. It is easy to be friends when you’re sharing good times and fun. However, when the friendship is challenged you may be tempted to get up and leave. This is when the integrity of the friendship is challenged. You may feel afraid to trust and share your deepest secrets. Friendship is not for the weak of heart. Real friendship takes strength.

 

13.

Best Friends means different things to different people. Some insist that you can have only one best friend. Others assert that they have best friends for different aspects of their personalities. Whatever the precise definition, your best friend is the person who gets you. They understand who you are and what you are saying. The greatest distance cannot separate best friends. You will always feel a kinship with them, and be able to instantly continue the friendship even after not talking for many years.

 

14.

Scientists have discovered that there is one thing above all else that determines the lasting power of a friendship. Many people guess that it is the ability to communicate that determines the quality of a friendship. In actuality, studies have shown that friends who have the most fun together are most likely to stay together. Fun is a difficult word to define and yet we know when we are having it. It is a difficult thing to predict and yet there are some friends that we have fun with almost every time we get together. Fun is the key factor in a lasting friendship.

 

15.

“Et tu Brute, then fall Caesar”. Perhaps the most famous words in English literature speak of a betrayal of a friend. Julius Caesar is saying that if even his close friend Brutus is stabbing him, then he has no hope. Our friends are the ones that we expect will stand by us through thick and thin. When are going through hard times, we ask that they be “like a bridge over troubled waters”. If we cannot count on our friends to pull us through, then who can we count on?

 

16.

“Give me friends or give me death”. A life without friendship is terrible and lonely. We are social beings and friendship is an incredibly important part of our lives. Appreciating friends is something we must always make time for. In today’s competitive world it is easy to get up in our careers or our latest project. It is important to keep a sense of perspective. It is nice to rise high in the company but all the money in the world is not going to keep you company on a cold winter night.

 

17.

A relationship in which neither friend is able to forgive the other does not have a very long shelf life. It is inevitable that there will be misunderstandings in a relationship. We cannot see inside each other’s minds to be able to know that they never intended any harm. Everyone has buttons that their friend may unknowingly push. However, when a sincere apology comes your way, you need to be able to forgive your friend. This involves trusting that your friend truly didn’t mean any harm and wants to heals the rift between the two of you.

 

To all my friends…………

 

(Wrote this in 2010 and posted it on FB, just found it and thought i’d share it.)

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“WHERE WERE YOU?” – They will ask you someday.

This being my 2nd post, I want to highlight a growing cancer in our generation………….and that is the cancer of “not caring”………..growing up as a child, I enjoyed countless stories of past regimes, i remember my Grandpa (RIP) telling me about his numerous adventures with Former President Binaisa (RIP) and how he often sought his counsel. I also remember how my Uncle Steven, a soldier in the NRA told me many war stories about the bush. I remember my mum and dad (both journalists) talking about the challenges of early regimes, exile in Nairobi and so many other stories. This has gone on even today; as I had lunch with my Boss he told me a story of the Tito Okello military junta.  I remember history studied at different levels; ranging from the pre-independence battles ….Lancashire conference, Marlborough conference etc…… to post independence ones like the Moshi conference et al, a rich history Uganda has, and so many people a part of it.

Then I look at the Uganda of today, the events of our time, wide spread corruption, unimaginable levels of unaccountability, Kazinda, Obey etc sagas. One of the events I will never forget is the 1996 election and standing along the roadside to Kololo Airstrip to catch a glimpse of the candidates, Ssemwogerere one day and Museveni the next and I said to myself, “I can’t wait to vote when I’m 18”. Well friends, I eventually did become 18 and have been eligible to vote for 2 elections now.

So many things have been happening in Uganda since 2000, ranging from politics to economics; we got new currency notes, very colorful I must say. We have amended our then “perfect” 1995 constitution a record number of times, makes you wonder what was perfect about it to begin with, we hosted CHOGM and the Queen; (Oh, you should have seen the hustle and bustle, I swear, Kampala was clean for a day!)  2 USA Presidents…heheheheehe, (now, that was hilarious, the New Vision cartoon for the Bush visit!) You should have seen that! Well, we voted, had riots, built a new dam (finally!), and most of all celebrated 50 years.

And yet again we are making news-our favorite topic in Uganda it seems, CONTROVERSY; The Anti-Homosexuality Bill, The Marriage & Divorce Bill, The Public Order Management Bill and away from the laws, heavier corruption scandals like Kazindas, Obey etc, to social lifestyles like the emergence of Bad Black & Meddi, Zari & Ivan etc, New concepts like Friday Night Lights, 3D cinema (opening this weekend)……………….so many things, I run the risk of repeating myself.

So my message today is; what has your role been in all that is happening around you today? Have you played your part? Did you vote? (Wisely?), did you participate, bring ideas, implement ideas and have you been a part of the strides your country is taking???? Or are we the generation that does not care, that sits by and watches while events that touch our very core take place. Were we drinking/smoking/watching TV/ playing games all through this age???

Uganda is changing people and changing while you are here, actually the world is changing……….so, are you going to sit by and watch or are you going to be part of the change and play your part? We need to be involved as the youth in the direction our country is taking, for example corruption is high now but where are the youth in the fight against it? These corrupt guys are old and will be gone soon, but if we are not involved in getting rid of them, surely we shall walk right into their shoes, a perfect fit. We need to be involved NOW, look around and see, Uganda is changing, play your part, get involved and in a few decades you will have the stories to tell your children, they will not ask you “Where were you?”

Be blessed.

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THIS ROAD WE TAKE AND THE JOURNEY CALLED LIFE…………..

So finally I get round to starting my own blog, one of my 2013 resolutions ticked off……………why have I be unable to start thus far? Could it be because I couldn’t decide what exactly I wanted to write about? Well I guess everything will do, I am a young lawyer that loves the good life, therefore anything from politics to economics to social events and just life’s tales will suffice. I hope I can be regular.

I have chosen the “Twenty Ten” theme because it represents a road/pathway with trees on the side. My perfect representation of life. This sounds cliché but Life is but a journey………..i look back on mine and see times I fell off, I took the wrong turn, stopped for too long but eventually got back on the road.

The Road we call life represents numerous challenges but at the end of the day, the driver on the road determines the end game. You fall off, but can you find your way back?? (However long it takes), you stop, but can you get started again? My notion is always to have an end game, find your way back to the road we call life, whatever the cost, however long it takes.

This week a gentleman I knew called Joseph passé don, a perfect example of the journey we must take. Joseph was a bright boy in school, always top of his class but he veered off the road, fell to alcoholism and drug and other substance abuse, he fell off so deep, it was actually a wrong turn. Family and friends tried to help him, rehab and all but to no avail, he degenerated so bad he was often seen “high” so early in the mornings in Wandegeya, a low class city suburb, this was a boy that had consistently topped his class, a very sad sight indeed.

However two years ago finally a breakthrough was made, Joseph turned onto a path that was eventually going to lead him back to the main road, his life’s path. He sought help and successfully fought most of his addictions except one, drugs. He was clean as could be, got a job, met a girl with whom he’d just had a child recently and everything was going well, except the tiny problem of drugs. He fell sick a while back suffering from TB (tuberculosis) and while in hospital he suffered even more from the deprivation from drugs, I am not sure if this is true but apparently some friends eventually brought him some to ease his pain but he had a reaction and passed on early Saturday. A life ended. (RIP Joseph! I truly believe you tried to get back on the road.)

What lessons can we draw from the experiences of Joseph, Kato Charles (Another former school mate from SMACK also a substance abuser) and so many others who fall off the road? The lesson is one; you gotta get back on it before it’s too late. Live your life with the end game in mind, the ultimate purpose and this will ensure that whenever you fall off the road, you find your way back.

So what is your end game? What is your purpose on this road called life??? I leave you with these thoughts………

BM

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