My personality is that I often take things for granted, wade into waters with fears of danger sealed or should I say contained, and often come out successful. So, I refuse to be inhibited with the cult of “who are you”. BECAUSE I AM! I am Doreen Lwanga, born on the 28th Day of April in the year of the dragon. Well, I prefer Doreen Naka, because when I introduce myself as Doreen Lwanga, everybody asks, “WHICH LWANGA”? or “Lwanga owawa”? No! not any Lwanga, just “LWANGA, period! So, to avoid the “oli mwana wani” (whose child are you) kind of questions, I would prefer to be known as NAKA. The problem though is that, America and my official life conquered me already. Because all my official documents have LWANGA as my last name. Because American could not pronounce my name –NAKA without massacring it, LWANGA seemed a better escape for me. This is not to say that LWANGA is an easy ride for them, which they would rather pronounce LA-WANGA! So, that is a mouthful of me – I AM! And I do not allow anybody to think I AM NOT!
But now I have been hit in the face again with that, “WHO ARE YOU”, that my attitude is not enough to cover my crazied up face! I am reminded that I can be a nobody in some places like Kampala, never mind that I was born here. That, I need to clothe myself in “who is who” clothes, mine are too obscure to notice and trust. How do I handle this? How do I paint myself, “I AM SOMEBODY”, and achieve the recognition and trust that I need, just for being a beautiful dream catcher?
You see, I am trying to organize a fundraiser for Somali famine relief, and I thought I could just walk up to individuals, offices and the public, using the contacts I know to say, hey! I am a dreamer, a smart dreamer with a big big heart. Give me your money and everything and trust that I will deliver it to Somalia, just like that, using my exceptional networking skills. You see, I have done things like that before, just dreaming about reaching out to something and raising money from anywhere, anything. Through my usual,
“Hi! I am Doreen Lwanga, and I am raising money for XXX organization, pse let me know where I can pick up your donation or you can send it to my paypal account no. XXX.” OR “Hi! I am Doreen Lwanga, and I am running a marathon in support of the Leukemia foundation. Pse contribute to this worthy cause by sending your donation to my account at…” OR “Hi! I am organizing a bake sale and online fundraiser to purchase books for a Women and Gender Studies Library at Makerere University, pse donate to buy a book.” OR going around to corporate entities in Uganda to fundraise, back then as a little college student for building a primary school for TOKA Farmers in Kaliiro, Iganga district of rural Uganda.
While the last initiative reminds me that I had the backing of an institutional introduction letter, I have achieved all my other fundraising initiatives through personal trust and confidence. I am aware that we live in a gangsta’s paradise, where dogs eat dogs and other people’s dogs too! But I also recall every second of my life that, “Karma is a female dog! Its bite stings so deep, and not once! Therefore, you steal, it comes back to bite you. I would, therefore not wish to cross Karma’s path; I like to stay in her good books. That way, we nurture lifelong relationships and save lives and feel good doing it and making the world a more beautiful shared space for us all. We do not have to be too rich or too poor to help. We can all chip in, because we have different resources that we can pool together –money, hands, heads, contacts, clothes, time, you name it.
I like to taste the waters; if they are virgin, I will mature them. I do not think Ugandans cannot give or trust “strangers”. First of all, I am not a stranger, but perhaps I can concede that I am not in the “who is who books” of Uganda. My strengths is that I am a super-fabulous networker and I run my mouth around to get into the “rich and famous”. So, I can start with that. If I cannot do this on my own, I will use my ever-revolving brains to recruit a “Face of Doreen’s Initiatives”. I will use my persuasive tongue to sell my idea –sure I can sell myself, how tough is selling an idea! I will persevere, toil to achieve this dream, make this happen and make me proud.
My dream is to break into the Ugandan corporate and public, build their trust in interfacing with a stranger, convince them to take a risk in reaching out to those in dire need in Somali and mobilize them to recall their world-renown spirit of giving and sharing as we make Africa the better place. Through my dream, Uganda is going to reach to Somalia and give to save lives. I have the trust in me, and your trust in me will have matured by the end of this venture. Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. TAKE THE RISK WITH ME!