Water and orientation

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I enjoyed looking at the reflections of buildings, trees, the bench, grass among others created in the water and couldn’t think of a better photo to share. The water itself can be mistaken for a big irregular piece of glass with a nice frame.

In my experience the horizontal orientation worked perfect for this photo as it captured a wider view unlike the vertical orientation that was narrow and required taking the shot from a further distance.

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The day I cut my hair

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You will never know that you can do something until you have done it! That is what is on my mind as I wound up my Sunday and look forward to the new week. This is because I used my evening to taste the depth of the waters with both of my feet by cutting my own hair. It is something I had never done before and that explains my joy as I write this post.

In the area of UK where I live, having a simple haircut is a very expensive venture especially if you factor in the frequency of doing it. It costs me up to 10 pounds in the cheapest saloon and I have to do this at least once every 3 weeks.

A few friends advised me to start cutting my own hair as this is what they resorted to themselves but I wasn’t sure of whether I would be able to make it on my own. Later when I reflected, it made every sense since a good hair clipper could cost only 20 pounds which you can use for some good years. Comparably, I would spend close to 170 pounds a year in the cheapest saloon. Apart from the expenses involved, I have also had bad days where the barber doesn’t do exactly what I want or found the saloon in a poor hygienic state further damaging my experience.

For this weekend, I therefore decided to try out this venture and see how I would get on. I bought a machine which I charged overnight in preparation for use on Sunday. I read the user manual and watched a number of ‘do it yourself’ YouTube videos to ready myself.

At exactly 3:00pm, I put the passively acquired skills to use. It took me 45 minutes to cut, shape and clean the whole of my head. I was surprised that the experience I had expected to be daunting was easy and fun. Checking the work of my hands in the end through a reflection in the mirror made me the happiest. In fact, I was able to do what I have always tried to describe to several barbers and only a few did it perfectly. I then wondered why it had taken me a long time to do this.

From my experience, I have learnt the following lessons:

  • You can never know what you can do until you have tried it out. Yes, sometimes what you think is hard may not be just as hard as you assume.
  • If something can be done by others, chances are high that you can also do it.
  • Fears will always be there but if you don’t take a step to confront them, they will remain a part of you.
  • Putting things in numbers sometimes makes a lot of sense. I quantified my expenses and it became a driver to change.
  • Seek information from different sources on the venture you want to undertake before hand.

As I go to bed tonight, I am filled with this sense of accomplishment and I just can’t wait for the compliments I will receive about my well shaved head tomorrow. I am also sure that I wont spend my money in the saloon ever again but will have the perfect hair cut and never worry about hygiene anymore.

Is there something you have always wanted to confront but thought you didn’t have the guts? I can assure you that you will conquer it.

Does the size of your nose really matter?

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Today as I was perusing through my Instagram feeds, I came across this proverb posted by African proverbs.

NoseOne of the reasons I love proverbs is that they help to convey very complex ideas in a very simple, intelligent and understandable way as evidenced above.

To start off, everyone has a nose, right? But why? – Because we all breath, not so? So if your nose can do that, why would its beauty matter?

Realistically which is more important, is it the beauty of the nose or its ability to perform its primary function?– and then what can you do about it? Put differently, would you rather have a beautiful nose that can’t breathe?

We need to learn to appreciate ourselves in all ways from our looks, achievements and the people in our lives. It is a waste of time worrying about the things that you have no control over and can never change.

This short but powerful proverb may strike a chord with many of us because of our tendencies to always forget the important things in our lives and rather focus on those that don’t even matter. With such an approach, we end up living lives full of regrets, non-responsibility and unfulfillment which eventually prevents us from fully living and achieving our dreams.

Focusing on what matters however, will not only help us live and enjoy the present but will also enable us to focus our energies on the things and persons we love and then love them deeply everyday and not just on Valentines day like today is. We shall in fact avoid wasting time on insignificancies in our lives, which I believe we already have enough of.

Indeed, there is a lot that matters in life than just the size or shape of our noses that can already breathe. In one of my earlier posts, I shared some of my life’s motivations, which guide my day to day decision making and emphasized why it is important for everyone to be clear about their values, you can read that post here.

The power is in our hands to decide to start living healthier, happier and more productive lives today and not wait for tomorrow. We can choose to have a beautiful nose that doesn’t breathe or love the breathing one we already have. Happy Valentines day!

Life and values

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Due to my participation in a career development programme, I recently took a values-based indicator of motivation test. These and two other tests (The Type Dynamics Indicator Form & Learning Styles Indicator) were a requirement before day one of the training. Although all the tests turned out very interesting, for purposes of this post, I will only share my results for the Values based indicator of Motivation test.

Values are those things that are most important to us and thus guide the way we live and work. Indeed, it has always been said that life is more satisfying if we live according to our values.

They actually warn that if we don’t live according to them, we run a risk of always feeling wrong, less energized and less connected.

On the other hand, knowing our values makes it very easy for us to make decisions and recover ourselves whenever we are lost.

In taking the test, we are advised to be as honest and truthful with ourselves as possible so as to enable the test to reflect our true self. I did exactly that and I am 99% confident that the resultant report was a true reflection of thyself.

My top six conscious values according to the report are as below (These are in order of importance):

  1. Well-being

Like many other people, I take a deep interest in my health and well-being and to me, this comes first before anything else. This outlook could have been influenced by my studies in a health related field but even before then, I still used to be very conscious of every little thing I did to my body. I thus prefer doing a lot of exercises, balancing work and life and eating healthy among other things.

  1. Excitement

I love being excited and will seek out every single opportunity to fulfill this desire. In short, I try to live for the moment, after all, I will only live once. Spending my free time with friends, touring places, attending parties and just laughing about life makes my days. In the report they actually stated that fun-loving individuals are often fast living, expect instant results and are usually not weighed down with the ‘baggage’ of the past and I mean who wouldn’t want that. Let’s work towards it buddies!

  1. Personal Growth

Well-being and fun aside, I value personal growth more than you can ever imagine. I am always opportunity hungry and seek out all the chances life offers me. May be that explains why I applied for the career development programme in the first place which is now helping me discover so many things about myself.

  1. Integrity

Do I really need to talk about that? Okay I will share a quote and move on:

Your reputation and integrity are everything. Follow through on what you say you’re going to do. Your credibility can only be built over time, and it is built from the history of your words and actions.” — Maria Razumich-Zec

  1. Influence

Influence! Influence! Influence! How would the world be without you? Indeed, without you, how could we make a difference in the lives of others? I mean, how we could we even think of changing this world without you? The world not only needs leaders but influential leaders. Next,

  1. Connection

Anyway, how would life be without you my friends? Who else would have read or liked this post if it wasn’t for you. I therefore say thank you for connecting and hope you stick around long enough. My network may not be very broad but it is satisfying to me. I am actually more interested in depth than breadth. All in all, I prefer close and warm relationships with people like you.

Those pretty much summarize what I value most in this simple life of mine today. Self-discovery is many times empowering. How about you dear friends, what is most important to you? Is there something we have in common? Or is there something you would advise me to change about these values? And by the way, how do these values rank in your life? Hope to read from you in the comments.

A Day in the Life

Why not be grateful for your life?

Untold Stories

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It’s seven o’clock and Tierkidi refugee-camp is buzzling of early morning activity. It’s food distribution day, and Nyaboth (16) is patiently waiting for the queue in front of her to get smaller.

No one knows the exact number of refugees in the Gambell-region. But we are at least looking at 250.000. More than a quarter of a million people who are dependent on the food that World Food Program is distributing.

The line is moving slow, but Nyaboth isn’t in a hurry as long as she gets what she came for. Four hours later, she has collected all the items her family is entitled to this month. The previous four hours were more boring than exhausting. Now the tough part comes. The 16-year old has to get 150 kilos of flour, maize, oil, lentils and soap back to her tent a couple of kilometres away.

−I have to sell some…

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A day in the wild

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Wild animals, how much I love them! Spending time looking at all these creations of God in the national parks and zoos is usually very spectacular for me. Today, I share a few photos of wild animals that I with other colleagues took back in 2012 when we visited the Queen Elizabeth National Park located in Southwestern Uganda. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I did.

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A herd of buffaloes hanging around in their habitat

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A group of Zebras grazing

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An antelope seemingly looking up what is ahead of it.

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The queen of the jungle, a lioness strategically looking at the water bucks for which it would later capture and kill one while we viewed.

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Hippopotamus enjoying a swim in Lake Edward which is joined to Lake George by Kazinga channel all within the national park.

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The morning bargains

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Two Right Feet.”

As I enjoy my sweet morning sleep, out of nowhere my phone shouts “it is time to wake up, the time is 6:00 o’clock”. Oh shit! It is another day, I say to myself. I reach for the phone and stop the alarm. I stretch and turn over in my bed, I ask myself what would happen if I continued my sleep for a few more minutes but I don’t get a clear answer. The noise of the passing vehicles along the roadside keeps getting louder and louder, why on earth did I decide to live near this busy road?, again I ask myself.

My flat mates have already switched on the corridor lights as I can see a few traces in my room. After all the several thoughts and a few negotiations reminding myself of my 2015 resolutions and how long the days’ to do list is, I finally decide to wake up. I reach for the switch on wall just beside the door to put on the lights. The light is dim at first and gets brighter after a few minutes. I struggle to open my eyes due to the light but this also only lasts a few minutes.

It is now time to do a few push-ups in my room before I head to shower. I try for the first few minutes but I fail. I almost want to give up but I remind myself of how much I need this. Down I go, I feel powerless like one who is faced with the hardest task in the world, nevertheless, I persist and the count begins, 1, 2, 3 …..10, 15, 25…. My heart is pumping so fast and sweat is already dripping from my face. I feel I should give up already but a strong voice within me reminds me of the agreement I made.

Why I am doing this? I ask myself for another time. Isn’t 25 enough for today? But you set yourself a minimum of 30, the voice replies, this time with vigour. 30 it must be! I reassure my doubting body as I remain down. And then before I know it, I get reinvigorated like one who has downed a can of Red bull; 25, 6, 7, 8, 9, 30! Yes!, Yes!, Yes!… I chant with words synonymous with the WWE wrestler, Daniel Bryan as I struggle to catch a breath. I pat myself on the back with the hope that I have now mastered the art of doing it even though I am sure the struggle would be the same the following morning.

It is now time to press that Colgate on my tooth brush, get my towel and head to the shower room. I spend 5 minutes brushing my teeth. I open the tap and adjust it to highest possible temperature. You know it is winter! I tell myself. I stand afar for a few minutes as the shower head pours the first batch of cold water, I put my hand in the way to confirm whether the temperature is one which my body is ready to tolerate.

Showering, which is supposed to take only 10 minutes, then starts. However, due to the cold weather and the warm water coming off the tap, I just don’t want to stop. It is a gain a whole lot of bargaining between my brain and my hand to stop the tap. After a few 5 or so more minutes, I leave the shower, go and dress up and hit the kitchen to warm my breakfast. Within a niche of time, my body reserves have been restored and with a huge smile, I set off to the university for a new day ready for a few more bargains. What a life!

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Pens and pencils: the journey it has been!

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Pens and Pencils.”

Pens and pencils bring back memories of my time in primary school and how I transitioned from using one of these instruments to the other.

In the School I went to, passing from Primary two to join Primary three brought tremendous joy to each and every one of us as this was not just a mere promotion from one class to the other but also marked a major transition from using pencils to pens.

We celebrated this opportunity in whichever way we could. Our bragging rights were increased as no one would still make the mean statements about us being pencil-holders. It was also a sign that we had mastered the art of writing well which we all cherished. Indeed, even those with bad handwritings worked so hard to improve them because this would be enough justification to deny them their right of using a pen.

Primary three was not only a mere graduation from using a pencil to pen but also came with a reduction of subjects from 8 to 4; this we thought would mean increased playing time as there would be less to read. Awww! huge smiles filled our faces at every thought of this.

Unlike pencils, pens have several colours and using them indicated a new world of design possibilities not after the art of shading pictures using crayons that we had already mustered in the lower classes. All these thought processes filled our small medulla Oblongata’s then. Who wouldn’t have wanted to have blue, green, black and red pen markings in their books?

Amidst all this excitement, never did we ever think about the challenges that come with using a pen like the reduced chances of erasing what is written, the possibility of ink staining our well ironed white shirts or Khaki trousers that formed our school uniform or even the fact that pens were more expensive. Infact, handwritings seemed worse in pen compared to the same written with a pencil.

Expensive they were! we therefore had to be very vigilant in keeping our pens since loosing them would mean foregoing buying yourself a favourite snack at break time for several days unlike a pencil, a sacrifice no one was willing to continuously make due to carelessness. Moreover, theft of pens in school was more common than for pencils.

Interestingly, it is now 16 years since I first used a pen and probably 20 years since I first used a pencil but I still use them especially when I am writing my university examinations and every time do this, I can’t help but smile at the journey it has been.