Okay- after weeks of ranter’s block, since I am no writer it surely can’t be writer’s block, I guess I should try again to see how this works.
Today a very dear friend of mine surprised me. He sent me a message saying that he had some money for me, and asked if I could let him know who to give it to. I had lent him some money a while back, and although knowing he would pay back, this came as a surprise. He looked me up, and offered. You see most people, including me, are sceptical to giving, even in the form of loans. After years of disappointment, unpaid debts and broken relationships- people have learnt the lessons from giving. Sad, unlucky lessons. But my friend reminded me today how important the gift of giving is, and I have been one of the biggest beneficiaries of this.
I remember way back in secondary school, in my home country of Uganda, when I moved around with a half functioning shoe. This shoe made so much noise that most of my former classmates could hear its noise even now as they read this. My English teacher, god bless his soul, decided to do something about it. He went to the town centre with me and walked into a shoe store, and told me to pick a shoe of my choice! I was elated. I strutted into class the next morning like I had conquered the world! You see, to many this was just a shoe, probably even not something to write about, but that shoe gave me a new lease on life. It gave me confidence to brave the village dust every morning for the long walk to school. That shoe, was, so to say, my new motivation for attending school. And that’s not all…
I remember the times when school discos were the place to show off all the teenage dress styles. I, having not many options, would ‘borrow’ my brothers’ masculine ill-fitting jeans just so I would get a chance to be fashionable. Now anyone who knows my 6-foot brothers can only imagine what a sight I was in those jeans, but I didn’t care! I went and danced and had fun with the rest of the crowd. But it hurt not to have something feminine and fitting…it was a big deal to the teenager I was. And then my friends intervened.
A few days before the S4 leavers party, I was dreading the thought of showing up in an old dress, or not showing up at all for fear of embarrassment. Then my best friend told me she had something for me. She had asked her mother for two dresses, one for me, and another for her. This navy-blue dress with white stripes was a gift from the gods. I strutted into that party smiling from ear to ear, greeting people I had never even bothered before, just so they could see my dress. And then came senior five. Although I never asked, a dear friend gave me the most beautiful pink silk suit- I almost looked regal. I could not believe my luck! But most of all I could not believe that these people, without me ever asking from them, gave me the best of what they had. So the text from my friend today made me cry, tears of joy, at the marvels of the gift of giving. Because no matter how cynical the world gets, it’s the gift that keeps on giving….kale temunangira naye byebyo.
By: Suzan Mbatudde Skjold