THE CHRISTMAS TWIST OVER THE YEARS

As the years roll by, my understanding and therefore my expectations, hence my experience with Christmas has evolved almost as much as mankind.

BY RUTH KOBUSINGE BLESSING

In my years of life just before five, I had no idea what this year-long anticipation for a one Christmas meant. Or let’s just say, I only had skewed focus-on my parents and siblings, the cookies, milk, sweets, cake, name it.

As the years between six and a dozen rolled, basically through primary school, Christmas took a different twist, or at least this time I was aware of a few more things about life like birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and Christmas, the crowning festive season of the year.

Once we were done with our end of year examinations, by end of the month of November, next on our agenda as a family was Christmas. Then, that simply meant balloons-in all shapes, colors and sizes, enjoying mother’s sumptuous snack of grasshoppers, locally called ‘nsenene’, cleaning up the home, new clothes and shoes for the d-day, travelling to the ‘villlage’, decorating a large, green, pine tree propped by stones in a paper wrapped bucket, and of course a lot of eating.

When I joined secondary school, it was not about new clothes anymore. It was about being on holiday, spending time with family, connecting with my church fellowship members and being involved in the Annual Christmas production that we showcased every Christmas Eve at my church.

Fast forward to today, I am writing this on the 23rd of December, I have not bought new clothes for Christmas, no balloons either. I have not yet even tasted nsenene to this point. I am looking forward to a different Christmas- a Christmas that is all about Christ because I now understand that Jesus is the reason for the Christmas season. Better yet, I appreciate that if Jesus Christ was taken out of the picture, there is no Christmas.

I look forward to spending time with my family, singing songs of praise unto the new born king, celebrating God’s indescribable gift of a wonderful savior, and sharing the love of Christ.

Yes, we shall have a wonderful Christmas meal, and we have already decorated the Christmas tree and the Christmas lights are illuminating the living room, but now I understand the real meaning of this year-long anticipated Christmas holiday.

Christmas is all about Christ. It is all about God’s gift and goodness unto us. It all about God’s love. With this, I am set to productively enjoy this one day in this season. The year- long anticipation is worth it, but it does not have to be all year-long anymore, I will celebrate Christmas every day. I will celebrate God’s love and goodness daily because He lavishes it on me daily.

A Joyous New Year 2016

Lessons from money

BY RUTH BLESSING KOBUSINGE

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How time flies! I have been working for about 9 months now, and it seems like it was just yesterday when I was given a one year contract to give operational and administrative support to a nutrition research project. As I reflected on the past close to 11 months, I realised that I have actually drawn a number of lessons related to finances that have become a great influence in my life.

I have realized that money is money, just that. No matter the amount. I would say Shs300,000= is the same as Shs3,000,000=. What makes the difference is one’s mindset. If the mind is set on spending, not investing, spending 300,000= is as easy as spending Shs3,000,000=.

This has motivated me not to move from job to job in search of a higher salary, but rather to work on my financial intelligence and management so I can make the best of my money.

Money cannot make you happy

I am bursting someone’s bubble here-the one that has been looking forward to finishing school and earning a six or seven figure salary. Honestly, I say it with confidence that money cannot make one happy, and for that matter, material things cannot make you happy. Real and true happiness comes from those things that are not at all tangible-the moments shared with friends and family, the smile put on a child’s face by a kind act, a coin given to a charity name it.

True joy and happiness comes from God. Are you looking for true joy, peace and happiness, ‘Try Jesus.’

Money is not all

Work comes with a lot of rewards aside from the reward of money.  I have learnt to look out for the priceless friendships built, the new skills learnt, the talents discovered, and the challenges that unearthed a virtue, the opportunity to serve and make a difference among many others-those that are coming to your mind.

Like I earlier said, money cannot make you happy, and focusing on it as the only reward can be pretty depressing. Focus on the numerous other rewards, you will be more than grateful for the gift of service.

The power of saving

I have realized that no matter how little the money may be, consistent and diligent saving yields results. I have tried a saving’s account, a SACCO account, even a piggy bank (at my age). It is more than worth it when after a given time, you check those savings and they have grown to an amount you least anticipated.

Give, give  and give

Last but most important, give, give and give. And when you have given, again, give. For me, this has been one of the most rewarding way of utilizing money. Seeing a smile on ones face because of the blessing of giving. No need to overestimate, it does not have to be much, give from the heart. Give to friends and family, to church, to charity. Give whenever opportunity arises, there in is a blessing.

Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” Luke 6:38

WHY I LOVE MY JOB

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By Ruth Kobusinge Blessings

Working hard for something you do not care about is called stress; working hard for something you love is passion.

-Simon Sinek-

This morning I sat at the back of a fast moving Pajero land cruiser number plated UAA. I could not help but notice the amount of dust that had collected on the floor of this vehicle due to its hard work ferrying people and supplies to and fro Isingiro, month in month out, swiftly soaring on the bumpy, dusty roads of the matooke capital Isingiro.

As we hit the first hump, headed to the field (read Isingiro), the dust rose and I sneezed almost by default and that was quite irritating. I chose to ignore that since I had no other option but to bear the ride. I sat quietly as we proceeded and later caught myself thinking about the work I do that I have been actively doing since June 2015.

Without doubt, there are lots of things I love about my work and here I’ll share with you my top five;

  1. The opportunity to do what I love to; serve

I love what I do. I love Nutrition. I love education. I am passionate about seeing people healthy as they use the locally available foods, within their means to attain a good nutritional health status. This job gives me the opportunity to do the above and so much more.

Every opportunity to educate a mother best child care practices is golden and as I observe the smile on a healthy child’s face, I catch myself smiling. One amazing thing is that there is always something new to learn. It’s either a new word in the local dialect or a new variety of a local food or better still meeting new people and making new friends.

What could be better! I love the opportunity of making a difference, one person at a time.

2. The beauty of spending my day with wonderful people.

I really count myself blessed to work with such lovely people. Sometimes I wonder if my team is a humor club because every one of us has got something hilarious to share once we are together. One memorable moment was seeing my supervisor, a medical doctor, and three other colleagues peeping through the keyhole at my house in honor of a surprise birthday party for my recent birthday.

I was moved to tears by their sweet, kind and thoughtful gesture. Every opportunity to be with these guys, whether for official work or a social gathering outside office is worth looking forward to.

3. The travelling

If you asked me one thing I love doing, I would confidently say, travelling, and more specifically road trips. My kind of work in the community treats me to more road trips than I could ask for. A good week offers me at least four road trips to and fro Isingiro all the while enjoying the beautiful scenery of the rolling hills and endless green matooke plantations.

Sometimes, it is pretty tiring especially after a good days’ work, but still worthwhile. It is on such days that I opt to take a nap on the way back to Mbarara. Don’t ask me how I manage to sleep off on a dusty, bumpy road. It is called acclimatization.

There is no room for boredom with such travels as opposed to having a white collar job and spending my working hours interacting with a computer. Interestingly, even after a whole year of travelling on these winding roads, only comparable to rollercoaster tracks, I still can’t tell which is which as all roads here look the same, and are surrounded by large matooke plantations.

Welcome to the Matooke Republic Uganda! Welcome to the capital of the Matooke Republic, Isingiro!

4. The Daily Adventure and Sight Seeing

I can’t trade this daily adventure for anything!

Isingiro is a lovely district in the Western part of Uganda, the pearl of Africa. The rolling hills, the bottomless valleys, the winding roads, the green matooke covered hillsides, the thousands of trees covering the hills, the bright yellow blossoms, the purple flowers covering the potato gardens, the list is endless.

Some working days are like picnics on the hillsides as I admire the valleyed covered by shrubs. A number of days are accentuated by a hot afternoon meal of mashed green bananas, maize bread, commonly known as posho and goat’s meat at Nalongo’s restaurant.

 For me, work is not just work, it is an enjoyable adventure, all week through

5. The Rewards

I did not write money. I had to look for a better word-money is belittling in a way. No doubt, money is very important and it is a good reward for good work, but there is so much more out of this work. I get a decent pay and I am happy with what I do.

A saying goes, ’Love what you do, do it with passion. Work hard and never give up. Money and Happiness will find you. The opportunity to attain a world class experience, exposure to a multi-cultural working environment, an opportunity to build my network, thus my net worth (quoting Elon Kay; “Your network is your net worth,”) experiencing daily life changing challenges and lessons as I go about my work.

Class is everywhere and everyone is a teacher, everything is a learning aid. Did I mention that I love the waffles (read Wi-Fi) at office. My ingenuity has been tickled by simple, yet challenging discussions I have had with colleagues over a cup of nice coffee in the office kitchenette.

What can I say, I surely have more than enough reason to wake up every day, with enthusiasm, prepare for work with thanks giving and go about my day giving my best to all I do to the glory of my Creator that has given me the privilege of being a coworker with Him.

How Much More? 

It all starts with an evening walk on a cool Wednesday evening. Oh how I love walks! I am never too tired for a walk.

How much more?

Of course there are all sorts of things on this road. A drunken middle aged man, seemingly having a conversation with a friend, who actually is Nobody, a stray dog waging its tail, probably looking for a friend, a dark skinned gentleman with a backpack, perhaps he is from work, three young boys by the roadside, counting every vehicle that passes, all the while shouting, ’Mine! Mine! Mine!’ and, needless to say, dust, especially that it has not rained, or even drizzled in the last few days.

One thing catches my eye, a beautiful –I mean a really beautiful orange-petaled flower, gracefully seated amongst five green sepals, pedestaled on a long green stem. It stood out amidst the green shrubs and tall elephant grasses at the turn of the road. I part the grass and shrub and gently pick this beauty, doing my best not to harm her. I hold her in my hands, stare at her in admiration, and a bit jealousy. I go on walking-at least I have a new walk mate☺.

As we walk on, I am reminded of the scripture in Matt.6:28 about the lilies that our father dresses, such that King Solomon, in all his splendor was not arrayed like any of them. Yet they are here today and thrown in the fire tomorrow. And he tells me not to worry, because He takes care of me. I ponder, ‘How much more!’

At that very instant, I am reminded of Psalm 139, one of my favorites in this greatest love letter ever written-the Bible. Straight to Verses 13 through 17, how He intricately knit me in my mother’s womb, how his eyes saw my unformed body, how He created me fearfully and wonderfully. ‘How Much More!’

My mind runs to Luke 12:7, a sweet reminder that He knows the number of hairs on my head, am so much more valuable than a multitude of sparrows! I imagine that when one hair falls out, my Father says,’ Hair No. 13785 has fallen out, we’ve got to replace it lest it Princess Ruthie goes bald.’ ☺

As I reflectively churned these thoughts in my mind, I found myself thinking out loud, ‘How Much More!’

As I entered my place of abode, I was a different lady. I had a big smile on my face which was a simple expression of the joy in my heart, my mind was renewed with the reminder that God, our Father, the King of Kings, The Alpha and Omega, the creator of Heaven and Earth, He that upholds the sky, yet still, my best of friends loves me that much and cares about me more than I can ever imagine. I still exclaim, ‘How Much More!’

MOTHERS DAY IS EVERYDAY

The Angel who married my Old man.

It is not the flowers or the ring on her finger or that look she wears when she hears you shout at someone, but

It is the sweet smell of her perfume and the scent of her hair oil

It is the way she beautifully arranges the photos around the house

It is the way she serves us, her favorite snack-savory popcorn, now ours too

It is the way she glides around the house, never taking a minute to rest till she is sure we are all well

It is the softness in her voice as she encourages everyone to take an afternoon nap, so she can do the clean up after the sumptuous afternoon meal.

It is the warm smile on her face as she asks if we enjoyed our naps

It is the pat on the back and the warm embrace she gives, anytime

It is her indescribable hospitality, always

It is the wisdom she shares whenever opportunity strikes

It is the prayer and bible study at midnight

It is just sitting and catching up on the day’s activities

It is the hilarity about someone’s latest boyfriend or just the excitement as she shares stories from her teenage days.

I am not sure what she really does to make that house a home, but without doubt, she is the M, in our HOME! She is our ever-lovely, Mother.

Poem by Ruth Blessing Kobusinge

SELFIE IN THE CLOUDS

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My mother has asked me to contribute some money to invest in an agricultural venture only that this time it is much higher than she usually requests for. I am eager to find out the details of this particular project. What better way to know than ask the project designer-my highly ingenious mother.

I am astonished as she modestly narrates how she has acquired a piece of land in the middle of the ocean bordering with Africa to the South, yes the Atlantic Ocean. She takes me on a tour there. She is showing me how she plants 5 seeds of a certain plant in a single hole; one tree grows above the ground and 5 tubers underground. Clearly, I do not know the name of the ‘crop’, all I thought was it must be worth a fortune. I could tell from the way she complicatedly described every little bit of the undertaking.

As we go on to chat, there is a knock on the gate of our home back in Fort Portal. Mind you, it is in the middle of the night. Unsure of the midnight guest, we hesitate to respond. We eventually decide that my mother would go open the gate, armed with a hoe for protection, just in case the visitor proves stubborn.

Meanwhile, I look up in the sky and what do I see, a photo frame with the colors of the rainbow, very creatively combined to make this masterpiece. I am doing my best to focus my face to fit. Of course, am wearing my best smile of all time, so my selfie comes out just perfect! All the while, I am exclaiming, ’This is the best photo frame ever!’ I am amazed to see my nurse friend, Diana walking from the gate, towards me.

She is all smiles, very happy to see me, I guess. I pull her close to showcase her pretty smile and pose for this selfie in the sky. We smile, our very best and focus ourselves to fit the frame.

I stretch my left hand towards the ground as though to press the space bar of a laptop as it usually functions as the ‘capture’ button but I realize it makes no sense. Then I think of touching somewhere on the wall behind us, but it seems a little senseless too. So I stretch my right hand towards the sky as believing that the capture button is right there, just below the photo framed selfie. As I am almost pressing the button, my housemate shakes me out of my sleep to go and turn off the main switch as the electricity was sparking somewhere outside the apartment. I jump out bed, exclaiming ‘What a dream! What a lovely photo frame!

I did not get to see the final selfies, but it really looked great, I remember it looked really splendid! But it was all, but a dream at 0335hours.

10 YEARS AGO.

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Thinking back 10years ago, how time flies!

By Ruth Kobusinge Blessing

The year was 2005 and I was in my senior two in MaryHill High School. That should ring a bell in your ears because that class is the most interesting class in secondary school, I hope you agree with me, probably it is the peak of adolescence for most of us.

First day of the first term, I went to school, with my metallic suitcase for my books and ‘grab’ and a small bag for my clothes. Of course I was very excited to no longer be called ‘engata’ as the senior ones were referred to as-I virtually felt on top of the world! I was excited to learn that I was not going to study some subjects like typewriting and needlework (which is currently a hobby), and yes, I would move to an upper block in the school.

So full of energy, I had big dreams, like being among the top three in my class so I could be recognized at the end of term Assembly-well despite the hard work, determination and very serious prayer, this did not happen until my senior three.

I also had this goal of growing in my spiritual, life, in my relationship with God. Mind you at this point it was not really about building this relationship but rather improving on how much I could do for God, and not forgetting how impressive I would be to my peers.

In class, I decided to take up the back seat in the middle row because one, I had a very good seatmate, two, it was strategic especially for the dozing sessions in the boring lessons and anyway I was among the tallest girls in the so I thought I would obstruct my fellows from seeing the blackboard if I took up a front seat. The other interesting reason why I sat at that very spot is the cool girls, I mean those from Kampala were to be my neighbours. I thought that by regularly being close to them , borrowing pens and responding to their not so intelligent questions and listening to their stories I would get some ‘coolness’. Well, it never worked as well!

With this great desire to serve God, I told Him, I would join the church choir and by the end of the year, I ought to be a leader in the church and a member of the Scripture Union Choir-the one that had the saved beautiful girls with angelic voices, plus they always got first priority when it came to SU conferences in the neighboring boys’ schools as they would minister in songs. How interesting!

Well none of the above came to pass, even in in my entire secondary life and I got to accept I as that and of course learnt some profound lessons from God.

And then the letters from the boys schools were something we looked forward to every day especially when one’s name would be read on the morning parade on the incoming mail list. Of course some would be from number mates we had never met and we were simply looking forward to meeting them someday when they would be brave enough to sneak into our school on a visiting day, pocketing a few Kenafric sweets for their dates. Unfortunately, some would be denied the chance to get in, so they would have to wait and attach themselves to a parent X, and come in disguising as brother to girl X. I think that was smart of them.

My love for spectacles was at the peak, we called them ‘spects’ then. Of course some people had real eye defects, but others forged long the defects so they could get a pair to look cool and sophisticated to the peers outside school. I tried my luck at this but my lie did not work.

Then I dreamt dreams, in class and in bed, day and night! I dreamt about being a ‘campuser’, graduation day holidays in Hawaii and Dubai, the I deal gentleman and proposal, what life would be like in 10 years when we would be long out of school and working, getting engaged, jobs and careers, ideal husband and wedding, the awesome children, and the list goes on. We had no clear idea what 10 years later would bring.

And now, 10 years later, here I am. A nutritionist and Dietician, working on an international project, earning some good money and staying in a modest house. I do not wear ‘spects’, I still follow the ‘cool’ girls to know how their cool lives are going-it is nice to identify with them especially when they share the cool things happening in their world. In my free time, I do DIYs- am crazy about these especially the creative crocheting. I engage in the youth ministry at my local church, and in some secondary schools around where I stay. It is always a joy to share the love of Chris with these lovelies-that is how I serve God on top of my lifestyle. I sing every time-in my bedroom, in the bathroom, at work, as I walk-I sing everywhere. Interestingly, I am not part of any choir- I go solo 🙂 I dream, dream and dream. I love dreaming. I love dreaming big!

This is 2015, my 10 years later, I am living it!

Email Author: ruthkobu@gmail.com