After little Bella’s death, should we rethink the death penalty?

Norryn:

Frankly, lil Bella’s is one of those cases that make want to support the death penalty in Rwanda too. Ofcourse keeping other factors constant.

Originally posted on Sunny Ntayombya:

The gruesome death of 12-year old Bella Isimbi Uwase by the hand of her alleged killer Slyveri Mahoro cut me to the core.
Bella's family and friends at her funeral wake

Bella’s family and friends at her funeral wake

First of all, was the fact that such an innocent child, with her future in front of her, was snatched away from her doting family in such a cruel, cruel way. The manner of her death, by knife wound to the neck, was horrible and excruciatingly slow.

Secondly, her absolute victimhood touched my heart. Often when there is a murder, at least one try’s to make sense of it; yes there is a victim but at least you have a ‘proper’ motive. You rationalize the act by saying that the perpetrator was acting in a skewed but logical way. But in this case there is no logic. She never did anything to him and, if the stories we’ve heard…

View original 520 more words

And finally…to the arrival of 2014!

One of the end of 2013 highlights

One of my ‘end of  2013′ highlights

If I must shout  it out once again, Thank you God, for a new year, 2014! How could I even miss out on writing something about 2014? I was only busy busy but i knew this would eventually show up..So, if you are reading this, then you and I must be the luckiest beings to having made it to January 1,2014.

It wasnt by accident or just by chance, there must be a BiG reason why we made it to the top ~ probably a mission to fulfil and then take off peacefully.  I would never tell what is coming along this year but at every thought of this year, my heart skips a little. It feels like earth is just about to break lose!…O, let me stop this because it is probably keeping you curious..:-) It’s only a feeling.

But at least one thing am certain about, I couldn’t wait to let 2013 go! I only hope it took along with it all the memories i had kept in the trash box..coz I can’t keep them anymore.  It simply took so long! But then again, thanks to everyone else, I got some particular moments that caught my attention. (I will stick to the rule of focusing on good memories and letting go of the ugly ones; so here is a recap)

Of course to many it doesn’t ring a bell, am only glad that I got some of those moments that really meant so much to me for moments to wind up my 2013,but  i gotta hold on to those. First of all, unlike the normal tradition of trekking down to my village for Christmas like the rest of the world, I stayed back to share it with my housemate and some of my colleagues that also  couldn’t leave the country for one reason or another.

2013-12-26_16.37.09[1]

This one made my day with endless stories

And trust me, come 25th December 2013, our house was the only place to be!After inviting in a couple of friends, we randomly got ourselves very exciting company..We all watched the night turn around while  pulling all the famous dance moves, eating, drinking and laughing out loud. It was all one big happy family, many thanks to everyone who stormed the house. You made it so hard for me to wake up the following day! But of course being my most favorite day of the year (If it wasn’t for that day, you’d probably never have met me),  I had to step out and check out my long time dream..sharing it with some lovely kids in the outskirts of Kigali. Oooh! it was a lovely afternoon, having to having to play around like it was a replay of  my life’s golden days!  and listening to innocent happy voices for a couple of hours…Sometimes it feels like heaven. 

At the end of the day, I and my travel-mate were completely exhausted..I actually almost dozed off my seat in the bus. So, after such a long day, I was only grateful that nothing kept me back, that i instead kept going with all that I had for a long time wished to do., I felt like it had been a useful journey.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I now thought the last point would be my room, where I would close myself in my little crib, then quietly reminisce about my day, I end up to a house full of strangers. Good thing I wasn’t given time to identify the faces that had showed up or even think of a plan B; either running out of the house for a random destination (I tell you, I would just run for life) or at least throwing them out (after all, that was my home! On addition to interrupting my evening plans ), otherwise,we would have staged a nice play. So, whoever came up with the “shower” idea, the other people must have paid you something!

And to my Judas Iscariot, aka my travel mate, a revenge is still underway! So, ya! that marked the beginning of an end to my favorite day, me and my heart, we say ‘thank you’ to everyone who spared their precious time for the evening! I had never seen my room done any better! :-).

Now instead of  the quiet evening that I had earlier thought of, I was treated to another evening of laughing out loud, more food and more dancing! At least i got to realise I got a team of jolly good fellows…I should say thanks to those guys, for trekking 2013 with me…and for being nice! Don’t exclude selef  in 2014! 

And now 31st December gave me one of those simple joyful ways of ushering in a new year, unexpected, unplanned but it all happened in a very promising mood. Staying with a couple of friends and a cute-looking baby girl (God, thank you for this baby), 2014 knocked our door too, giving a decent send-off of the notorious 2013!

Now this was a big change, I was only used to ushering the new year in church, I had never thought of it otherwise, but I didn’t regret the change tho’! It was another treat to a house full of laughter because of the guys blessed with a sense of humor, we all  started counting down to the end of the year, yet welcoming a new year that so many of us are looking up to.Until  some people couldn’t resist the urge to hunt for fireworks around the streets, it was an amazing time we had! Now, i also had to take off to my next destination! It was all funnn!!! Like one of my resolutions, I will keep sticking to what my heart finds appealing,  Life is short!

After such a beautiful beginning, I will definitely look up to so much more in this year…So help me God! 

 A HAPPY NEW YEAAAR!!!!!!

For the love of playtime!

God bless the Children!

I will choose to move on!

Last night I had my moment of silence and allowed myself to listen to my heart. At my age, I think I have been around for a while to share the greatest lesson, choice and perhaps the gift I give myself every day, and that is the choice to “MOVE ON”.

I am an amateur about the bible, but there is this passage in Philippians 3:13-14 where Paul says…I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead…, he makes a choice to move on, and not to be held by the past (Note that this scripture is in present tense).

I have learnt that you have the power to handle all that oppose you; it all boils down to the choices you make in response to the negative surprises. Yes I call them negative surprises because we all love to experience this good, mind-blowing surprise and those negative surprises are the ones we call problems.

India Arie realised it when she sang that Life is a journey, not a destination, there are no mistakes, just chances we’ve taken, lay down your regrets cause all we have is now (you have now to move on). I think she had a deeper understanding of the ‘moving on’ concept in life.

In life we go through a roller coaster of emotions from the challenges we face (have learnt to call them challenges, not problems). The lady you think you are going to spend the rest of your life with, out of the blue, one morning texts to says “I think I can’t do this anymore…reason?? I just can’t!! You do business with people and they try hard to rip you off, and yes that so smart, beautiful and prayerful girl has also destroyed many marriages around town.

Observing and experiencing some of all this life issues, sometimes it’ s not easy to really wrap your mind around them and all you can do is to hold your peace and move on, to somewhere sometimes you don’t know, but all you are sure of is that you are moving on. Jennifer Judy “JJ” Heller said it well when she sang (God)…sometimes I don’t know what you are doing, but I know who you are.

It’s like in this 2 Kings 7:4 story of four Syrian leprous men at the entrance of the gate; they said to one another “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there…Now therefore come, and let us go over (say move on) to the camp of the Arameans. If they spare us, we will live; and if they kill us, we will but die.”

Moving on gives you joy because when you have crossed over to the other side, you can look back and “Laugh at your past”, probably nod your head, pat your back in sincere belief and satisfaction that you are happy that through it all, you chose to move on.

Moving on allows you to be human, accepting the fact that it is okay not to have all the answers to life’s questions. Questions about death, how people mistreat others (Disloyalty, dishonesty, backstabbing etc..).See, how people treat you is up to them, but how you treat them is absolutely your choice.

It has been a question of faith, and when I think deeper about faith, I realise that one doesn’t have to necessarily believe in the mainstream religious doctrines, but having that hope that tomorrow is going to be better than today (Am not ignoring the fact that where you invest your faith is very important). This was reflected upon by Don Williams in his song better than today, he sang that… I’ve got high hopes that tomorrow is gonna be better than today, it don’t look like it’s coming I know, why not believe it anyway. Call it a prayer, call it a dream, Call it a leap of faith, call it anything, I’ve got high hopes that tomorrow is gonna be better than today.

I have heard many sermons where preachers remind us that faith is about holding on and waiting. Holding on to a man who doesn’t respect you? To a woman who has lost self-respect and dignity?  I don’t reaaally think so. I think our preachers should also emphasize that faith can also be manifested in letting go and moving on. And yes, sometimes you have to quit just to avoid the pain of expectations.

I heard and had a strong conviction when someone said that when you hold on to history, you do so at the expense of your destiny (He got me here, this really hit home). I will choose to Move on!

So as I make new year’s goals and resolutions, after writing them all down, I give myself the greatest gift to choose and promise myself that I will  MOVE ON, whether I achieve the set goals or not. I will choose not to let someone’s negative comment or opinion about me become my reality, I will choose to show love and respect to everyone God brings my way. I will choose to hold my peace when what am about to say is not relevant, even under pressure to say something. This is because this thing we call life is all about choice, and the choice to move on is a gift I have decided to continue giving myself every single moment. I will choose to MOVE ON even in the year 2014….

Happy New Year!!!!!!

Courtesy of  a friend;  Richard Ndayambaje (Writer);

Thank you for allowing me to share this on my blog, and for the insight too!

A tribute to Madiba!

Mandela[1]

We will never forget you Madiba!

 

On the fateful  Thursday, December, 5, 2013, the world came to a standstill. Much as I would have mourned  the death of a hero with sorrow, I refused, and I instead joined with the world to celebrate with pride and hope, the legacy of a Nelson Mandela Madiba. At 95, amidst rather hard conditions, Mandela had fought on to dear life to the end.  When I think of him, there are special words that best describe him; African hero, freedom fighter, first black President (1994-1999), global icon, and o yes, prisoner! Of cos not to mention, South Africa’s strong symbol of the struggle against racial oppression.

For this reason, South Africans or not, we have all lost a noble person in Mandela. With his level of humanity, selflessness and dignity, he will be greatly missed all over the world; he was such a unifying figure between so many people.  But what is most important is that Mandela has lived a full life, am sure there were no regrets, (Ok, of course no one is perfect) but he gave life his all until  the last-minute.

I first heard about Nelson Mandela as a little girl from a story by my Dad, another great man who happened in my life (RIP Mzee), and somehow  every statement about Mandela’s journey to freedom sounded like rocket science to me. It was kind of unbelievable to me that someone with a humble background could fight such a battle without so much stronghold support. But just the way my Dad held on to Mandela’s life in his stories (trust me originally he wasn’t actually good at narrating stories) made me think twice about this guy. And with time, I came to realize that his life is actually a real life story. I still think there was something common between them though – the two guys actually succumbed to the same disease. And for this, I dream of starting a lung cancer charity in my life. (So help me God).

If I could emulate anything about Nelson Mandela, it would be his forgiveness nature, an inspiration, a giant of justice. I would take on his selfless nature of sacrificing his full life to achievement of freedom, reconciliation, justice, and joy. I would never stop to think of the capacity in which he managed to act not with fury and vengeance or resentment to the people who had hurt him so much, but with humility, another reason I believe his legacy will always live on. He lived a truly meaningful life.

Mandela attributes his humble personality to the 27-year imprisonment at an isolated Robben Island, in a damp concrete cell with only a straw mat to sleep on and a thin blanket. At this island, racism ruled. Mandela was only identified by number ‘46664’ to rob him of his real identity. (He was the 466th prisoner at the Island in 1964. The number is now a global symbol for humanitarian causes, raising awareness about social issues like poverty, hunger, education). He is remembered for launching the ‘Kick Polio out of Africa’ campaign in 1996. It’s now the famously known ‘End Polio Now’ campaign today, the Rotary International’s noble promise to Africa and to the world.

If it was in our age, it would totally go the opposite, but trust turning something negative around into something positive, Mandela turned the number into a brand.

salut

 

Mandela was born on July 18, 1918, in the village of Mviza in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. His father was a counselor to a local king. He chose for his son the name Rolihlahla, which translated from Xhosa literally meaning “troublemaker.” A schoolteacher would confer upon him the name Nelson.

RIP Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela! You have left a legacy!

Favorite Quote: It always seems impossible until it is done. – Nelson Mandela.” 

We will never forget you Madiba!

We will never forget you Madiba!

The Day I met the President….

On the 2nd of November 2013, when a good group of jolly good fellows gathered in Kigali’s main Park to board their ‘jet’ to the Pearl of Africa which hosted the Rotary International Presidential African conference (RIPAY 2013) themed ‘Taking Charge of the future’. The group had a well representation of the entire New Generations’ family in the Rwandan Rotary family with 3 Interactors, and 8 Rotaractors from the various Rotaract and Interact Clubs in Rwanda. Represented were, the Rotaract Clubs of Kigali City, KIE(Kigali Institute of Education), and SFB(School of Finance and Banking)-Kigali as well as the Interact Clubs of FAWE, Kagarama, and the newly chartered club of King David.

Team Rwanda

Team Rwanda with friends of Rwanda

It was an exciting journey as the group used a joint passport that could not allow any of them to wander off alone. On arrival, a wholesome group of Rotaractors, Rotarians and other youth (whom I prefer to call the ‘friends of Rotary’) gathered in the Ugandan capital Kampala, to honor the presence of the Rotary International President, Ron D. Burton in the hood.  It was such an amazing experience as the guests from different countries were treated to a beautiful evening at Ndere centre, a cultural centre in Kampala. Delegates were from Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, South Sudan, United States, Burundi and our dear host country, Uganda.

The beautiful scene was crowned by different cultural performances which left the whole crowd lit up with cheerful faces and screams as the guests enjoyed their dinner.  The Master of Ceremony had rehearsed enough to leave the crowd nursing their ribs as he focused on what he does best.

The following day, being a Monday, we all assembled at Kiwuliriza Primary School, in Namuwongo, one of the suburbs of Kampala City, to kick-start the projects of the day. Shortly after we had all arrived, the Presidential convoy touched down with  President Ron and his dear wife, Jetta Burton who immediately participated in all the four  projects  of the day; Tree Planting, Malaria testing and distribution of mosquito nets and reproductive health kits by the Rotaract Club of IHSU,  Cancer screening by the Rotary Club of Kiwatule and its sponsored Rotaract clubs,  Blood donation by the Uganda Blood bank, supported by the Rotaract Clubs in Kampala,  as well as hand washing along soap-making, supported by various Rotaract Clubs in Kampala. Locals benefited from  free HIV/AIDS testing and counseling services, malaria and cancer screening for women, free family planning services and health education on hand-washing. President Burton praised the Ugandan Rotarians and Rotary actors for supporting various underprivileged groups in Uganda.

You realize it was a bunch of projects all done at the same time, so you can imagine the look of some people’s faces by the end of these projects.  By the time I realized, some jolly good fellows had started rocking the neighborhood for all sorts of snacks, water and the newest brands of juice on the Ugandan market.  Clearly, they had run out of patience as the President proceeded with his tours of the various projects.  The good news only came around when a lunch announcement was made, and the different delegates from the Rotary fraternity treated themselves to the Ugandan delicacies. Unfortunately for some of fellows who have not been so familiar with the custom lately, the long queues deterred them from reaching to the serving delicacies and they walked away on empty stomachs yet singing ‘for we are jolly good fellows .  But there was at least enough for everyone that was willing.

Immediately after the meal, we all left the project scene and headed to ‘Kati-Kati’ restaurant where we had a joint Rotaract fellowship with the Rotary International President, where we had Rtn Charity Githiji, as a Guest Speaker, under the theme, ‘Taking charge of the future personal branding’. This was  yet another experience of being a part of a crowd of Rotaractors.  And after a long debate, it was agreed that the ‘after-fellowship’ be held at ‘The Red House’, a well renowned fellowship venue for the Rotaract Club of Kyambogo.  At this house, we rocked only until 1 am when the sad news were announced that there were no more drinks left in the house. Most of the jolly good faces at the scene here suddenly turned into gloomy ones as they were given a forceful send off to their empty beds- for those who went straight to bed- we ain’t Rotarians!

On Tuesday, by 8:00 am, all delegates were assembled at Hotel Africana. The conference was graced by the presence of many dignitaries, among whom the Rotary International President, Ron. D. Burton, RI Director, RI Trustee, District Governor D9122, Emmanuel Katongore, IPDG, Geeta Manek, to mention but a few. At the end of the day is when we had a mass dinner, hosted at the D9122 District Governor, Emmanuel Katongore’s residence in honor of the President Ron D. Burton. Here, we were treated to a fun-filled evening by the Jazzing and dancing Rotarians with Her Royal Highness, the Queen of Buganda Kingdom, Her Royal Highness, Nabagereka Sylvia Nagginda  , as the Chief Guest at the dinner.

Again, many of us could not do much to avoid hitting the Kampala nightlife, despite the cold chills. So, we all hit the Amnesia night club in town. Trust me this worked out a good revenge as we only retired at the mercy of the early morning cleaners who had to start their day’s work. While some of us enjoyed the rhythms of the Kampala nightlife, some of us could not keep away from the comfort of the self-founded beds at the nightclub, even despite the thrilling loud music.  Thank God there was no work the following day, otherwise, as you read this many of us would be jobless because just like everything comes to an end, the end of the conference to many meant the beginning of a sleeping episode…The early birds only woke up at 11 am and started packing their bags for yet the journey back home and by 7:00am, they were on the bus back to the country of 100 hills. As for me and my International Service Director, we had unfinished business to settle. .Don’t shoot! It was all at Rotary grounds.

The following day, some of us had the honor of attending a fellowship chaired by the President Ron. D Burton himself at the Rotary Club of Muyenga, Kampala, a club that boasts the biggest membership in Africa. It’s a true story, these good fellows barely know each other, despite the fact that they meet every other Wednesday of the week and it was indeed a great crowd for just the membership of the club.  This was one of the very last of President Burton’s activities in the Pearl of Africa, before he departed.

And at the end of it all, I for one i must admit that this was a dream come true for me. Courtesy to the selfless men and women of big hearts in the Rotary family of Rwanda.

Proudly belonging!

With President Ron. D. Burton

With President Ron. D. Burton,(at the Rotary Club – Muyenga)

In memory of the Westgate victims

In memory of the Westgate victims

When tragedy calls, every one of us can fall victim, even the strongest of us will be shaken.  Just like in one of the large cities in East Africa where women, men, and the little innocent souls whose only fate was going shopping on the fateful 21st of September, 2013 and probably making time for friends and family were swept off the face of the earth. The smiles and loud cheers of families that were up and about suddenly transformed into silent screams, panic, and sounds of gunshots as panic spread all around Nairobi’s famous shopping malls. It would only be inhuman, let alone unfair if one let it go without notice.

Little did they know that the last brief moment was the one meant for good-bye. Probably that wouldn’t have been the problem; after all, none of us ever gets to know when our time is up. The real problem here is that they honestly didn’t deserve to die the way they did, disrespectfully. Of course am not trying to say anyone deserves to die any way, my point here is that they were killed like criminals, and the real factual criminals only walked away proudly like they had just won a lottery.

Not even the lovely kids were spared of the trauma

Not even the lovely kids were spared of the trauma

When you try to analyze everything, the meaning of life has been reduced to nothing. And especially, many of us have failed to attach any value to the life our fellow countrymen treasure a lot. Otherwise, things like the Westgate tragedy, the Kampala bombing as well as the several grenade attacks that are recorded all year round in our different cities could never find a way.

I keep admiring the generation in which our parents lived, and the same keeps me wondering how much it would cost us to create the same kind of environment for our own. If anything, these are people whose times are still well-known for peace and harmony. Yet, they had no separate bank account to keep paying for that kind of life. Our own times are filled with chaos, tension, hatred, mistrust, and betrayal among others. Let alone individuals, not even our countries are at peace with each other, as each tries to justify their position on the matters  that arise amongst them. Others have chosen to take justice in their own hands and this, among others was the main spark of the West gate attack last month.

The people whose lives are taken in such incidences always die a very painful death because we all think if it wasn’t for the same incident, they could probably have lived longer. Of course not like any of us is guaranteed on how much longer they would live, but there is a sense of hope and faith that we all tend to hold on to.

When things take that turn we can’t do much, other than looking up to the Almighty and hoping that the same never happens. Reason I have always honored Rwanda’s ‘Never Again’ efforts. I would recommend that our sister city (Nairobi) adopts the same as it honors the souls  (without forgetting them) that innocently perish in fateful tragedies and also allows the families and relatives to heal over it, and brings them closer as they all suffered a similar cause.

To the innocent souls that perished in the Nairobi Westgate attack, may they forever rest in peace. And to their friends and families, preserve their memory and keep them in your prayers, the best give you could give them now.

The power of Persistence.

If I had to select one quality, one personal characteristic that I regard as being most highly correlated with success, whatever the field, I would pick the trait of persistence. Determination. The will to endure to the end, to get knocked down seventy  times and get up off the floor saying,                                        “Here comes number seventy-one!     –  DeVos, Richard M.