In the Middle of Everywhere!

Have you ever felt stuck in the Middle of Everywhere?

In the Middle of Everywhere

In the Middle of Everywhere

Imagine for a minute that you are stuck in “space”. Let’s call that space, a basement. There is limited natural light, it is really cold in the Winter, floods with melting snow when Spring comes, hot in the Summer. For most part of the year, you cannot tell day or night, except by the hourly talk of your alarm clock or when your TV announces the news. Since you are in constant fear of missing your daybreak due to lack of sunlight, you have to keep some kind of artificial light on 24-hours. You decide, the lead light will be the cheapest.

Though, none of the solutions seems to work because you still feel stuck in a basement. You are losing yourself. You are losing your creativity, your energy, your imagination and your umph! Every idea you come up with, seems to evaporate right before you put it on paper. You really don’t know where you are headed. You go to bed everyday, with a promise to wake up and accomplish at least one goal per day. Yet, the energy dwindles from you half way into your goal of the day!

Stuck in the basement, you are losing your sense of direction. You are losing your confidence. You are losing your trust in miracles. You begin feeling that  life has given up on you, and connived against your flourishing and success. Yet, you cannot get back any time, minute or second that has gone by you.

The basement is swallowing your pride, as much as it is enhancing your bitterness. The basement is stimulating your delusion and destabilization more than your boosting your determination. The basement is where dreams no longer come true, where dreams die, dreams become confused, and entangled in mourning, regret, bouts of sadness and soul searching.

You want to get out of the basement. You vow to get out of the basement. You give yourself a timeframe to quit the basement. Yet you no longer seem to know how the paths to tread. Or perhaps you know, but the basement has eaten up your courage to get out. The only time you step out of the basement is for a cup of tea upstairs, or go for a run outside or to the bus stop. Or perhaps you are embarrassed to show your face to the world that has held you up, expecting a lot of you and from you. You would rather shut your face away from the world that expects high performance from you.

You are in the middle of everywhere, yet you are alone and lonely. You do not wanna be alone, yet alone is when you feel the most relaxed and humanized. What else is there to live for? The basement reminds you of all the responsibilities you have incurred in life. The knowledge you have and continue to amass, which needs to be put to use for yourself and those in your life. The basement reminds you to show it appreciation for shielding you from the wrath of the world, and give back to the world. The basement is where it all unfolds-folds-unfolds again. Yet, you cannot fold yourself up forever.

There is no noise in the basement, except for the occasional rotation of the extra fan, turned on when it is really cold, or the TV or clock at the top of the hour. The basement offers a huge place to breath ideas, recapture them before they disappear from your imagination, escaping your little fingers. Put them on paper, transport them into virtual reality, into other people’s spaces.

In the Middle of Everywhere is where your creativity should come back to life. Move out of the basement, hit the streets and never look back into the basement. You will be a giant, again, In the Middle of Everywhere….Everywhere but the basement!

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What if you find someone who believes in your dream, but not as fast as you want to move it?

I am going through the moments. I celebrate the fact that I found somebody not hard to convince to believe in my dream. In fact, so readily, was the offer to carry my dream along. Perhaps there is a professional investment there, but this person is also humanitarian.

But that is one-and-a-half weeks ago, when I thought my dream was gonna fade away into “just another dream”. My dream co-catcher is a very credible face and profile on the “who is who” of Kampala, and the entire Uganda. Can bring in contacts both local and foreign, and has a profile of humanitarian work in the servicing of Uganda, as well as medical treatment of urban and rural Ugandans, emergency situations, dire need and where there is absence of public medical services.

The problem I am experience now is fitting into the schedule. OK, let’s cut the chase. It’s a HE! He’s a very busy man with many hats and locations –politician, humanitarian, doctor, father, husband, guardian and writer. All those he has to fulfill, alongside trying to fit in mine. He was so enthusiastic when I broke my idea to him. In fact, he did not wait for me to ask, if he would partner with me. (I actually my plan was not to ask him “if he could” but instead “how he carries out his”), Readily, he offered to give a face to my dream of launching a fundraising initiative among Ugandans.

Now, I am beginning to wonder whether he is ready to move my dream as fast as I want it? True, we met the day after he agreed to dream with me just after I thought I had hit a stalemate, when my first potential donor said –I needed “street cred” that I thought I had! To my amazement and excitement, he jumped onto my idea and when we met the next day, I found him in the company of four other potential volunteers to see through this initiative.

I had all the paperwork already drafted out that I had emailed him to look at and give feedback. Alas! He had not read it. But it was not hard for me to explain to him what the idea was, my progress thus far, and the “to do list”. The six of us brainstormed on how to proceed, the people we need to meet, the permissions we need to secure, and the activities that would work to boost this fundraising initiative.  So, I went back home and continued with my homework, of amending the initial documents I had drafted for our initial partner to reflect our new partner. Two days of no power cut at home threw us back to nothing done. Although, there are things we could do without the documents, like, meeting some people with expertise on the kind of activities we wanted to do.

I did my part and met up with two of such people who have both worked in Somalia but also donated aid to the Uganda –AMISOM contingent, and therefore know the terrain and the nature of relationships we need to build. The challenge right now is, we cannot proceed with official fundraising, until he approves the fundraising letter, we agree on MoA and terms of operations and secure those initial donors that we need. All this need his face, but most importantly, need his approve of the guiding documents for this activity –the fundraising package is ready…but waiting for his big-self to make it happen. Mr. DREAM MAKER, PLEASE TURN MY DREAM WHEELS ROLLING!

How Do You Cultivate Trust? And Convince Others to Take the Risk in You?

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!