Here’s to firsts. First kiss. First car, first job, first love. From the first time you triumphed, and the first time you surprised yourself to the first time you left home (and the first time you came back). First time you crashed and burned. First time you discovered your passion. And here’s to Rock.Paper.Scissors’ first blog post.
Last week I was in Naivasha, Kenya doing an intensive 5 day training on a program evaluation manual I wrote for the United Nations with folks from Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda. Now I’m writing my first blog post from Kampala, Uganda where I’m doing follow-up on the training. It’s the first time I’ve been in Kampala.
While in Naivasha it was the first time I awoke at midnight to the very loud sounds of a very large beast chomping and chewing. I could hear greenery being ripped from the earth, chewed and swallowed.
I ran to my window to see what the mystery creature was but, even though I pressed my face flat to the glass, whatever large creature was making the noise was out of sight, just around the corner. Practicing how to quickly lock and unlock the door, I decided to take a peek. I didn’t have the door open 3 inches when said large beast charged forward, snorting and pounding the earth.
Slamming and locking the door I ran to the window and there, to my surprise, saw an African buffalo staring back at me, not 20 feet away. I had interrupted its midnight grazing, not 2 feet from where I’d stood.
I went back to bed, heart pounding, telling myself to go back to sleep as I had to teach all next day. Finally heart slowed, I drifted off, once again to the malaria medicine induced world of bizarre dreams.
Other than midnight visits from African Buffalos, let me introduce myself:
- I once lived in a house that had a jail cell
- I went to university on a ship that sailed around the world
- I work with the former President of Mozambique, the Honourable Joaquim Chissano, winner of the largest individual prize in the world (the Mo Ibrahim Award for Good Governance)
- when it comes to program evaluation I believe that suffering is optional – program evaluation can be useful, interesting, fun and creative.
- I will continue peacebuilding training that I do with the UN in Kenya and Mozambique in the new year
- I work with professional comedians, as I believe humour is one gateway to powerful learning
- I was born to teach and train, it’s in my blood. I enjoy nothing more than setting a smorgasbord of diverse learning opportunities that’s so sumptuous that participants can’t help but help themselves
- I know what the term Lusophone means
- I have been inside the ring at a Moroccan camel wrestling competition
- I have accompanied Inuit hunters to hunt caribou in -97 degree weather
- I have been a single married mama
- two years ago I lost 30 pounds and along the way learned much about the process of change / how to affect change
In future postings I’ll be writing about things that are near and dear: travel, change, communication, conflict and wellness. Through the lessons I’ve learned from my unusual life experiences I hope to give you a different viewpoint, encourage you to examine the way you look at the world and your point of view, perhaps give you a double take now and again.
“The world is like a mask dancing. If you want to see it well you do not stand in one place” (from Arrow of God, Chinua Achebe, Nigeria).
Here’s to moving about to gain a new perspective. And here’s to firsts, taking a leap and having faith.
“Sometimes you must leap she said gently and grow your wings on the way down.” Kirsten Yongen
I’d love to hear from you. When was the last time you took a leap of faith and did something for the first time?