The Plunge

I don’t even know where to start. I am not yet sure my thoughts are properly collected and neatly put together, but I will attempt to explain my day.

Today is my birthday. A very special day for me. Always has been, always will be. I decided a few years ago that I would always celebrate my birthday by doing something special for myself. This year, I decided I wanted to go bungee jumping. I was inspired to jump by a young lady called Helena. She is my mentee and has also become my dear friend. She is  vivacious, full of life, a great thinker/leader, an activist, and a dare devil. She did the bungee jump in February this year, while attending a workshop at Jinja Nile Resort. She posted her video on her Facebook page and I was inspired to take the plunge on my birthday.

My dear sweet little brother (they don’t come any dearer and sweeter than him), agreed to escort me to Jinja to take the plunge, as did another dear friend called Penny. Both have ever done the bungee jump, so they were my cheer-leading crew for today.  We arrived in Jinja quite early and I proceeded to the reception desk, after a quick visit to the bathroom to empty my bowels. On the way to the reception, I looked over to the bungee tower, and I told myself it was not too high. I told myself I could do this. I marched majestically to the reception desk, and I proceeded to sign a waiver form, saying that I would in no way sue or seek compensation from Adrift (the company), if anything happened to me. The lawyer in me cringed, but I signed the waiver anyway. I then weighed myself and the receptionist wrote my weight on my hand.

photo (30)

The green mile

photo (29)

The Bungee Crew – Kenneth to the left and Isaac to the right

The bungee crew arrived soon thereafter, and I made my way up the bungee tower. The tower is quite high! And that to me was the first sign of trouble! On top of that, my brother, who had agreed to jump with me, stopped half way up the steps of the tower, saying that he was to afraid of heights. I soldiered on. I got to the top of the steps and then walked a green plank (reminded me of the green mile), and stood just behind a yellow line, as I watched the crew prepare the gear. There were two of us ready to jump – myself and a gentleman from Iran. I let him jump first. I was too scared to jump first. He did the jump really easily. I envied him. And then it was my turn. I dressed up in something resembling a metal diaper, which was strapped around my waist and thighs. I then sat down and Kenneth – one of the bungee crew members, tied some gear to my legs and then fastened the rope. Issac, the other crew member, explained what I was supposed to do – waddle to the edge of the tower, hold the top of the tower for stability, then spread my arms out like wings, ready to fly, tilt forward and then take the leap. And Isaac told me not to look down. I could see in my mind’s eye what he wanted me to do – but my heart was beating way too fast to do anything. I walked towards the plank, as I had been instructed. I looked across the hill at a house with a red roof, but the fear welled up in me and I was too afraid to jump. I backed down.

I asked my brother to jump before me, thinking I would gain courage from his jumping. Kenneth unstrapped me from the gear, and called to my brother, who sat down, and went through the same motions, the same instructions. And then I saw his heart heave. He took a moment to collect himself and then he walked towards the edge of the tower. After a few moments, he said he couldn’t take the leap.  He sat back down and they unstrapped the gear from him and my heart sank. How was I going to do this? Kenneth strapped the gear on me again, and Isaac repeated the instructions. He told me I could close my eyes. I tried a second time. I said a prayer out loud, and walked to the edge of the tower. And I could not jump. I asked to sit down again. At that point, I decided to interrogate the crew – had they jumped before? Could they show me proof that they had jumped before? How sure were they that the equipment was safe? When was the equipment purchased? Was the rope really strong enough to hold me? I asked if one of them could jump along with me. They both said no. They told me not to think too long and too hard about the jump. They told me to trust them to hold me until the point at which I had to jump. They told me to close my eyes if that would make jumping easier. I heard them, but the fear kept me glued to my seat. At the same time, I kept thinking about how I could have come all this way only to walk away from this challenge. I told myself the fear was only in my head, and that I had to let it go – much easier said than done. Isaac told me to meditate on my best song. All the songs I knew flew out of my head. I couldn’t even remember if I had a best song. I decided to think about my sons, and how I would tell them that having come this far, I could not take the leap.

IMG_9919

The jump!

I decided to try again. I walked to the edge. I lifted my hands slowly to the top of the tower. Both Isaac and Kenneth stood on either side of me and told me to give them my hands. They told me to stand tall and straight. They told me to lean slightly over the edge and fall forward – I was still waiting for further instructions and before I knew it, I was in the air. My was it scary!!!!! I screamed, I shouted, I asked them to stop – even though I was already mid air. I willed the rope not to snap. I was finally lowered into a waiting boat, and I made it safely back to the shore. My legs were shaking, my heart was thumping, I could not believe that I had finally taken the plunge. It was as scary as it was exhilarating. I made it. I did it!

Walking back to the reception area, my mind was whirling! What had I just done? I thanked God for enabling me face my fear. The ability to jump in the face of fear is an act of faith. This was  a lesson in faith. A lesson in letting go. A lesson in overcoming debilitating thoughts about the impossibility of a task. It was a lesson in trust – trusting those I was with, trusting that they had the experience, trusting that they would not let anything harm me. And if I could trust them, how much more God? It made me think about all the other things I fear, the things I need to let go of. I thought of the liberty one feels in letting go, of feeling fear and going ahead.

It is a heady feeling. It is life changing.

What do you fear? What leap do you need to take? I pray for you that you will take the plunge.

 

 

Advertisements

Runway

Not an airplane runway.

Instead, think Milan, think Paris, think London, think New York. Think of any of the fashion capitals of the world.

What pictures do these runways conjure? Glamor? Lights? Red carpets? Makeup? High heals? Expensive clothes that you know you will never afford, let alone wear? Name dropping of the who’s who in the fashion industry? Men and women gracing the cat walk – looking picture perfect? Models, mostly of one shape and one size?photo (26)

The run way does not stop there. Your life is a run way, and you are the model. And especially if you have children, you are the model they look to every day. They watch. They observe. They take it all in. They may not speak, but they are watching.

I want to model a healthy lifestyle for my children. I want to model fitness and exercise. So I let my children see me pack my exercise bag. I let my children know my exercise timetable. And sometimes, I let my children come to exercise with me. When I am with them, I look out for them, I cheer them on, I high-five them as often as I can. I let them know that they are doing the right thing. On the way back home, we talk about the exercise we have done, especially regarding what they enjoyed about it. I hope and pray that what they have learnt, what they have seen me do, they will do too, not just while they are with me, but for the rest of their lives.

What are you modeling for your children as far as health and fitness are concerned? Your life is the run way. You are the model.

Monkey see. Monkey do.

Red Handed!

Maybe we have all been there. Or maybe not.

Let me explain……

In preparation for climbing the Rwenzori, I have taken on a rigorous physical training regimen, in keeping with the advice of friends who climbed the mountain last year. I have shared various aspects of the training on this blog – from strength training, to cardiovascular exercise, to the long walks. And most times, I try to exert myself the best I can.

But sometimes, I cheat. Sometimes, especially when the instructor is not looking, I take a mini break, or I don’t do the step all the way as I ought, or I allow my energy levels to drop, and I sort of get by doing a lousy job at the workout. And then, when the instructor so much as glances my way, I pick up the pace and pretend that I was doing the right thing all the while when he had looked away. I go into overdrive as I do the exercise move, trying to show that all along, I was the Half Ass‘star pupil’, even when I know this was not the case.

George, one of our instructors always tells us “you cheat, you cheat yourself”.

And how true that is. When I don’t give my all during the exercise I am doing, it’s me that loses, never my instructor, or my climbing mates, or those with whom I am doing exercise – it’s me that loses out. It’s me that will have to climb the mountain. No one will climb it for me – not my fellow climbers, not the mountain guides, not the potters (although I am still secretly hoping that one of the potters who climbs with us will be strong enough to carry me when the going gets tough….). So in the end, I am the one who has to put in 100% all the time.

And that applies to all of us, and to any effort we undertake. It’s easy to look for the short cut, for the easy way out. It’s easy to pretend that we are giving our all, yet we know that we are putting in less than our best effort. And we know in those moments, that though we think we have cheated the system, because we work in such a way as not to get caught – in the end, we are really cheating ourselves. Half measures and half baked effort is never about the person or thing for which you are giving less than your best. It’s always about you. You cheat, you cheat yourself.

So if I were you…….

I know, you know what to do.

Looooooooooong!

Today we did another long walk. Our walk was 21 kilometers long, and when I say long – I mean loooooooooooooooong – as in never ending, as in reaching each bend in the road, hoping that the bend would signal the end, only to round the bend and discover there is still more road to walk on – and thinking “Where did all this road come from?!”

Today was long because we met quite a lot of bicycles along the way and we had to keep trying to avoid them. We often start our long walks by 5 a.m. in order to make use of as much cool weather as we can. And of course 5 a.m. is quite dark, and so are our roads. And we discovered that most of the bicycles that ply the roads at that time of morning do not have any reflector lights whatsoever, and they do not have bells. All you hear, as you approach a darkened moving object, is someone hissing at you, trying to catch your attention, so that you can get out of the way. And before you know it, it’s a man on a bicycle almost knocking you over, and you jump out of the way, just in the nick of time. It seems many on our team were dodge ball pros in their early days, because the way they were jumping away from the bicycles was amazing – the timeliness, the tact, the agility in the jump – superb!

Today was also long because the whole portion of Salama Road does not have a sidewalk, so one has to walk just at the edge of the tarmac – doing a balancing act between a taxi swishing by on one side, and a pool of water or slippery mud on the other, all the while, trying to keep the walking pace, as well as sharing that thin space with other pedestrians.

Today the walk also seemed long because we were doing the route we had set out to do the very first time we did a long walk together as a climbing team. The very first time we walked, we had no inkling of the enormity of the task, to the extent that at some point, we took a shorter way back. That first walk was still long – we walked for more than three hours. But starting out today, we still had the jitters of the first time we attempted the walk. The difference was that this time we promised were going all the way.

Today the walk was long mentally. At some point, one has to tell themselves not to give up and nphoto (25)ot to think discouraging thoughts. At some point, the mind goes into auto pilot, willing the legs to move, without thinking about it too much. We tried everything we could not to give up. We tried to singing together, and we got through several renditions of the Ugandan anthem. We read quite a number of signposts along the way – of schools, of shops, of bars. There were quite a few interesting names – one can definitely not accuse Ugandans of lacking creativity in that department. We discovered how some people use their signposts to squeeze on all the possible information about their enterprises – name of the establishment, when it was set up, what time it was set up, who set it up, opening and closing hours, which DJ comes on which days, which dance moves are preferred on which days, what drinks are served – and oh, the DSTV – one must not forget to advertise that their establishment also offers DSTV! We observed the faces of children as they walked to school. Some children seemed glad to go school; some were hanging onto their mother’s clothes for dear life, some looked totally miserable at being woken up so early to walk to school.

In the end, we finally made it. We walked for 4 hours 25 minutes. We were exhausted, but glad that each walk, however loooooooooooong and excruciating – brings us closer to our goal.

Rwenzori, here we come!

Auntie O!

Headmistress Look

My “Auntie O” look…..

I have earned the nickname of ‘Auntie O’ among the friends I am climbing Mount Rwenzori with. The O is for Organized.

On the one hand, you cannot have been born and raised by my mother, and not be organized. My mom is ultra organized and she taught us well. Or maybe, it partly stems from being the first born in my family. I know many firstborns are often under pressure to set and be the example to their younger siblings. One of the examples they have to set is that of being organized. Or maybe I took my S6 teacher’s words to heart. She always spoke to us about the 4P’s – Prior Preparation Prevents Problems. She repeated the 4P’s many times over, as a way to enable us read well ahead of the final exams in A Level.

Preparing for climbing Mount Rwenzori has enabled me get better at planning. I plan alone and we plan together as a team. I have greatly improved at planning exercise way ahead of time. Every Sunday night, I know and plot in my diary what exercise I will do, when and where.  I make sure that my exercise clothes and shoes are clean, that my exercise bag has the right essentials, and I make sure I have paid for the regular exercise well in time, or plan to have enough money on me, for the exercises that we pay for per session.

When we got together as a climbing team, we started having planning meetings. So far we have held two. Since we are all novices at mountain climbing, we planned that we should do a trial run – climb a mountain that is not as difficult as Rwenzori, but which can give us a feel of what mountain climbing is. As a result we have planned to climb Mount Elgon in May this year, before we take on Rwenzori in July. We appointed one of us to lead the planning and preparation for the Elgon climb. And we are booked for the climb and ready to go.

We also do a lot of planning on our whatsapp group. On this platform, we plan when we will do group exercises – like strength training and the long walks. We plan where to meet and when to meet. We plan car pooling and other logistics associated with the long walks – like the refreshments at the end of the walks.

Now that the rainy season has started in earnest, I have planned not to be derailed by the rain. Tomorrow we are doing a long walk – Kabalagala to Nsambya lights, to Entebbe Road, branching off at Salama Road. We will walk the Salama Road to Munyonyo and Munyonyo back to Kabalagala. In preparation for this, I bought myself a rain coat today – just in case I need it for the long walk tomorrow.

Planning helps me to prepare for and know how to deal with obstacles. Planning helps me eliminate excuses and laziness. Planning is part of the road to success.

I once read that embedded in the word procrastinate is castrate. To procrastinate is to castrate your success. The way not to castrate your success is to plan – plan now, plan often, plan well in time.

Ouch!

Confession: I like the easy life. I am pain averse. I am one of those mothers who cringes and has to look away when her child is being injected. I hate hospitals. I avoid them at any cost. Not just hospitals, but any place associated with pain.

But as I prepare to climb Rwenzori, I have had to deal with pain. There is lots of pain associated with the process for preparation – especially through the physical exercises. Some days, depending on what exercise I hIMG_2371ave done, I feel pain in my upper arms, pain in my lower arms, pain on my rear end – from spinning, pain in my abdomen. Many times after our 21 kilometer walks, I feel pain in my hip joints, or pain in my knees, or pain in my legs. I feel pain as I do crunches, pain as I climb steps. I have not yet cried because of the pain, but many times, I have wanted to give up. Other times, in order to get through the pain, I either shut my eyes very tightly or I purse my lips.

But this process has also taught me many valuable lessons about pain. Lessons like, it’s at the point when I feel pain that I must press on. That pain is weakness leaving my body. That I should go on despite pain. That if I want something bad enough, I will press past the pain. Anything worth fighting for is worth going through the pain. I have learned that pain speaks of experience. Pain is part of the growth process. It’s part of getting better and stronger. I have learned that pain pays. There is victory at the end of pain. Feeling pain is letting go of comfort, of the easy way, the easy road. I have learned that pain brings me closer and closer to my goal. Pain means I am not giving up on myself. Pain means that I expect better of myself, that I am getting to the next level. I have learned to speak encouragement to myself as I go through pain. I have learned that nothing worthwhile is easy. Pain may look like an inconvenience, but the comfort zone does us no good. Instead the comfort zone kills the body, the mind and the spirit. I have learned to feel the pain and do it any way. I have learned that pain separates the mediocre from the great, those who are world class from those who are average.

Most of all, I have learned that pain is part of the process of progress. And I am slowly making progress, one ouch at a time.

Goals Beget Dreams Beget Goals Beget Dreams…..

On one of our long walks that we did, as part of our preparation for the Rwenzori climb, I got talking with one of my colleagues, and oh the dreams we dreamed! Excited by the prospect of climbing Rwenzori, we started seeing ourselves take on another mountain next year. Maybe we will climb Mount Kilimanjaro. And then we thought, why not climb one mountain in each of the East African countries, one year at a time? And then we thought, why don’t we actually do a mountain tour of Africa? That would be a great way to both keep in shape, but also to discover and learn about our continent in a new way, and then we could even write about our mountain tours! And maybe our writing would turn into a book. A book with tales of all our climbs. Anddreams then we envisioned a book launch. A glamorous one.

Then we got to talking about the possibility of starting a store in Uganda that sells or hires mountain equipment. A store dedicated to those that love the outdoors. And our store would also have a section where there would be books, a mini library of sorts, and a coffee bar. And maybe we could hold reading sessions in our store, or host authors of books, get a reading club going. And we could even host periodic talks about mountain climbing, to get people interested in, but also prepared for mountain climbing. It would be a fun store. A multi purpose store. A store full of light and life. We could smell the rich aroma of coffee. We could smell the books. Oh I just love the smell of new books! And old ones too. We could see the people milling around in the store, oohing and ahhing at the selections in front of them. If our store in Uganda was a success, then we could open other stores across East Africa, open up a chain of stores dedicated to mountain climbing.

All this sounds crazy, right? I am not sure how much of this we will do. I am sure we will try to accomplish some of it. But what was amazing to me is the power of a goal to produce dreams, which dreams become goals, which power other dreams. Goals get you going. They really do. Goals are energizing. No wonder we are told to set goals. And don’t be afraid to dream with abandon. Let yourself go. Go wild. Dream big. You just never know where that dream, borne of a goal will lead you.

Wishing you happy dreaming!

Build the Core

You have a weak core. You need to build your core.

These are words that I have heard over and over again this year, as I do exercise. I previously suffered an acute case of “couch potato-yasis” – the condition where you have zero physical exercise in your life. In fact at one time, I used to foolishly boast about my lack of exercise, as if that fact was a gold medal to wear around my neck. Well, now, as I look at the weighing scale, as I pant and become breathless during any sort of exercise, the fact is very clear that I was not wise to neglect physical exercise all those years. My arms are too weak to lift my body, so for now, all I can manage are half sit ups. My abdomen muscles are weak, and I find it hard to do ab strengthening exFullSizeRender (2)ercises, but I press through what I can. The one thing I keep reminding myself is that I didn’t put on this weight in a day, so it will not go in a day. And I have to think long term. I have to think lifestyle. Physical fitness has to become a lifestyle change for me. And critical to this fitness is building my core.

Core muscles wrap around our abdomen and back, and they support our spine and keep us stable. A strong core keeps us from slouching and looking old. Working on the core helps with managing overall weight and body alignment. I do some core strengthening exercises in Cheza and in the Rwenzori Boot Camp. And yesterday, after spin class, we did some core strengthening exercises. I am sure I will need a strong core, now more than ever, to enable me climb Rwenzori Mountain. Working on the core is not easy, but it is key.

Core strength is not only necessary for our physical bodies. We need core strength to support our mental, spiritual and emotional health. With God at the center, we all need to be:

(1) Committed to truth and reality: We are all prone to self-deception – no exception. If we want to be strong and wise, we must have a commitment not only to external truth, but also to internal truth. We all need to stop pretending, placating, avoiding reality and living in fantasy land. We must face the truth about ourselves. We must know ourselves enough to know the truth about ourselves – the good, the bad and the ugly. We must be self-aware.

(2) Open to growth, instruction and feedback: No one becomes a healthy individual without the willingness to hear feedback and receive correction from God, the Scriptures, as well as wise people. This willingness requires humility. To be taught we must be willing to see the truth, and in order to grow in truth, we must be open to learning new things from God and from wise people. To be teachable means we both lean what is good, as well as do that which is good. Our actions matter.

(3) Responsible for ourselves and respectful of others: We commit to treating others with respect, even when they don’t deserve it, because we understand that how we treat people is more a statement about who we are rather than who they are. We can’t control how others act, but we can control how we act and react. When we chose to treat people with respect because that is the person we want to be, we gain self-respect, which enables us respond wisely, whether we are treated well or not.

(4) Empathetic and Compassionate Towards Others: The capacity for empathy and compassion are hard wired by God into the human heart and brain. We learn that we ought to treat others as we want to be treated, not as they deserve. Treating others with empathy and compassion means realizing that they are just as human as we are – prone to faults and failures, prone to ups and downs.

And so, I remember these truths once again. As I work on my physical core, I am mindful that I must also daily work on my mental, emotional and spiritual core if I am to be healthy and whole, so that I become aligned both outwardly and inwardly. That is true beauty.

 

The Great Gathering

Yesterday (Saturday 21st March), our Gayaza High School Class of 84 had a grand reunion. It was the second attempt at such a reunion and this time it went much better. Many more girls were able to attend.

It was lovely seeing old faces again. Many of the girls have not changed much. Those who were stubborn and cheeky in school are still pretty much the same. Those who were cool, calm and collected are still that way.

We came together in thanksgiving of all that God has done for us since we met each other in Senior One in 1984. We reminisced about old times – about life at Gayaza in those days – which is very different from the Gayaza of these days. Where we were 600 students in the whole school at that time, today, Gayaza has 300 students in SeFullSizeRender (1)nior One alone! We talked about ‘family’ – that famous list that was read each end of term, of the six best performing students of each class. We spoke about house work, about country dancing, about Metu (short for Matron), who used to inspect our dormitories for cleanliness. We spoke about the punishment book and the punishment tree, and all the mischief we got into that landed us into trouble. We spoke about our teachers, those that inspired us to love and excel at subjects we had almost given up on, we spoke about the strict ones, those we feared and those we revered.

We celebrated our careers. As I looked around, I was amazed at the sum total of our years of experience in the work place. We have girls in all kinds of professions and sitting among us were 4 PHD holders, which is no mean feat. Many of the girls have excelled in their professions and they are leaders – directors, managers, heads of departments. There were also many who are doing business, the main one being farming – there were poultry breeders, tree growers and matooke farmers. Some have started schools of their own, others have started non profit organizations, some own their own private practices – law firms, pharmacies, transport companies, some have gone into consulting. We celebrated where we have come from and where we are now. We have come this far by the grace of God.

We celebrated time and life. We remembered those from our class of ’84 that have since passed on. We have lost 11 classmates in all. We observed a moment of silence for them and said a prayer for their families. We reminded ourselves that God is Lord of time, and that in His time He makes all things beautiful. We also reminded ourselves to use our time wisely, not to take the time that we have for granted. We reminded ourselves to make our time here on earth count, to go to the grave empty, having poured out our lives and lived to our fullest potential here on earth.

We celebrated the testimonies that have come from all the mountains we have faced. Some have battled cancer, some have been widowed, some have lost businesses, some waited a long time for children, some have lost parents. Through all the changing scenes of life, one testimony is clear – that in all things, God is faithful.

We ate, we laughed, we sang, we danced, we even had a moment when our head girl of back then, called in from abroad and spoke to us. She spoke like the true leader she is. And to crown it all we cut cake.

To this day we are proud to be Gayaza Girls. We are cognizant of the privilege of having attended such a great school. We do not take our education for granted, especially in this day and age where quality education is a key challenge in our country. We reminded ourselves that in all things good or bad, we must remain true to our school motto to “Never Give Up”!

Conquering Mountains One Community at a Time

The saying is true that you learn something new every day.

Yesterday I had the honor to learn many new things in a space of three hours. I visited a HipHop project in Namasuba, called Bavubuka Dynasty. The  Bavubuka Dynasty believes that connecting youth with music and the arts can transform lives and unify diverse communities.

The first thing I learnt is that HipHop means Helping Individual People Help Other People – and that is the model this project uses. They work with young leaders especially from slum communities and they teach them a new way of living and giving back to community – and they do this through HipHop, among other things.

Through training and mentorship of these young leaders, Bavubuka Dynasty teaches them to get a deep appreciation of themselves and their talents. Each young person that I met yesterday introduced themselves by stating their nphoto (22)ame, where they come from, and then they spoke about their purpose in life and the values by which they live. I was totally blown away! I am not sure that there are many young people, let alone older people, who, off the bat, can state their life purpose and the values that drive them.

These young people had great purpose statements – one young person said his purpose is igniting passion, spreading love and reconnecting his generation to their infinite roots. His particular passion is helping young people be proud of who they are through stories of their ancestors, in that way, he also helps young people learn about their history. A young lady who is living with HIV/AIDs is spreading the message of hope and love through an organization she founded, called Guiding Hope. She and her teammates speak to young people about their sexual and reproductive health. A young Mukiga man talked about raising young entrepreneurs with a difference and one of the concepts they use is the BANTU tribe. BANTU here stands for: Brothers Alliance Navigating Towards Unity. He spoke of a proverb that loosely translated means when you are standing on sand, remember that your under your feet are more than a million grains of sand. They teach young people to look at what’s beneath them – which is their land, and how not to despise that which their feet stand on. They teach them that before selling a piece of land to buy a boda boda to ride in the city, they should think instead of utilizing the resource on which they stand.

Another young man spoke about his passion for graffiti and for expression and voice through that art form. He teaches young people to express themselves through graffiti and their concept is MONK 256. M is for motivation, o is for observation, n is nor nag (never give up, keep asking, keep searching) and k is for kindness (they are intentional about infusing the work they do with kindness), and 256 is Uganda’s area code, and they use it because they work in Uganda. Another young man is a fashion designer and he believes that through his fashion he is nurturing possibilities, and every time he sets out to create a new design, he wants each piece to tell a story – an African story. His work has already graced a runway in Vancouver, Canada. His label is Kas Wear.  Another young lady is a break dancer and she uses dance to teach young girls self-love, self-belief and self-confidence.
photo (23)
One of the major things the young people are taught through the work of Bavubuka Dynasty, is to be rooted from the ground up, to understand that they are each unique and they have special gifts and talents that are for sharing and spreading for the benefit of their communities. They are taught to be builders of themselves and of the lives around them, they are taught to ignite and instigate something new and different in their society, and not wait around for hand outs. They are taught to document the work they do, as part of documenting history. They are taught to be influencers and world changers, starting with themselves those around them. They are taught to focus more on legacy than on money.

It was beautiful and energizing being in that space, being in a place where there is no sense of entitlement – ‘Government Must’, or ‘We Want’, but instead, speaking to young people who have a sense of purpose, who speak with passion, who call themselves young CEOs and billionaires in the making. It was amazing.

These guys are conquering mountains in many ways – mountains of poverty, mountains of mis-education, mountains of mental slavery, mountains of circumstances, mountains of business as usual. They are creating something new. They firmly believe that creation connects us to the divine, because God is the Creator, and every time we create, we are connecting to the image of the Creator in us. They spoke a lot about and believe in the power of their creative capital.

I was honored to be in the presence of such inspirational individuals. I was honored to sit and drink at the fountain of the collective knowledge of these young people and their leader. I came away thinking – if these young people can do it, then no mountain is impossible to climb.