Age says to young people, “You have no experience.” Well age, take a look at me now! I lead a team at Semicolon Uganda where I am a founder and community psychologist. I am a consultant at Ask Without Shame where we have won three international awards, I have founded Africa Medical Tourism and recently, I opened Youth Rising, a platform I have been given as an opportunity to mentor young people-and I’m just….
At about this time in 2016, I was an ordinary boy who walked into the cozy lecture rooms of Victoria University to be part of Reach A Hand Uganda’s Annual Peer Educators’ Academy. Curiosity expands our empathy when we talk to people outside our social circle, encounter lives and worldviews very different from our own. Needless to say, I met strangers. My knowledge and high alertness deserted me as I talked to them, and I realized, almost immediately, that I was struggling to tear through career barriers that oppose many of our lives.
These faces and voices I had just but known for a few minutes were my new family, and they were Reach A Hand Uganda. I questioned my ability to do things, I felt not good enough, not smart enough but Reach A Hand thought otherwise. They believed in what I was and could be, even when I doubted it. I was taken through a gradual mentorship program that not only gave me knowledge, but plenty of life skills as well. I became a voice for many like myself, a merchant sojourning in the vast wild to sell a hope that many may have lost.
“Whatever you are be good at it. It is big because you are part of it,” I told myself all through the last twelve months since leaving the academy and this always made me yearn to be better at what I am capable of. I have worked with the United States government through the Peace Corps, been to all regions of Uganda serving young people and been a voice of young people on so many platforms.
12 months down the road, I look back at the memories of the academy and I feel nostalgic-then I look forward at the legacy I am setting, and I beam with pride. I congratulate myself every minute for deciding to be part of the academy. Then I realize the sad truth; that the academy comes once. For the class today, and the classes to come, I say be keen.
There is a lot for us to learn and benefit; Pay Attention.