I’m Still 20-something Years Old!

There’s a speech people normally give/write before, during or after their birthdays.

This is the one. After.

Birthdays used to be a time to live and laugh with family and friends. The only thing that overwhelmed you was the love and awkward hugs. Now at a time as this, birthdays are the days when the internet does the overwhelming. The vibrations won’t stop, the notifications are raging with a fury for days, you just might take your phone swimming. But then you remember the economy and decide against it.

You even come back to respond to the HBDs after 3 days because it feels like that email you have waited for a year; it has come, and now you have to wait 3 days to stabilise your palpitations for yays or nays before you read it. Your heart’s basically on a trampoline, and you have to divide attention between the mu device, and the real issues in the world right now. Like poor education and hunger.

Well, The birthday situation isn’t THAT dramatic. But the notifications are overwhelming. And in a good way too.

Iss all goooood in this life *cues in music 🎶 Photo by Ninno Jack Jr.

Everyone is really good to you, you can’t believe those magical words are about you. At some point you go like staahhpp. Not in modesty, but like…”you have lied, my guy 😂 😂”. Enough not to let them off, because… when else will you get complimented at 200%?

It was a rather bittersweet day for me. I shall save you the details, but I did some pretty interesting things like the once in a lifetime opportunity to pop a whole boiled egg into my mouth, and just working it all out in one go. It is the best feeling in the world. Also because I couldn’t remember the last time I ate a boiled egg. You need to try it. Everyone should. I don’t care what you say in my comment section, but as long as you love eggs or just eat them, you will still go and try this in discretion. Remember to tell me your experience after that. For follow up. It’s about that age where every little success is recorded.

Hola mi amigos! I’m 20 something and no one’s counting! 😉 Photo by @mudo_eve

But in short, I came to say thank you so much for the beautiful wishes of life and health. I say Amen to that. To thank Ninno and Jessica Layado for being real embodiments of God’s love. Hi Faith Liam, for like the finest coincidence of this universe. Also, there’s more to life. While you’re in the wilderness, you can still smile, jump and do that baddd move all in one go, and suddenly everyone forgets you’re in the middle of nowhere and at the near end of your road. See how hope is seemingly to the rest of the world but yourself? That right there, is living; and when you live, you hope. Errbody wins! God still reigns!

Smile. Jump. Pose. Photo by Ninno Jack Jr.
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The Green Slum Project

I wore all black, with a cap, even though the sun was blazing hot. Well, the sun has never been cooler. The weather was roasting hot and as dusty as could be in Nansana, a municipality of Wakiso district. I was looking for Kabumbi, also known as the Green Slum as it’s a one of a kind slum surrounded with a lot of green; mostly trees. I was going to meet a young man called “Woria”, the proprietor of Nansana Stop The Violence Movement. He goes by the name of Tente Joseph. Woria is a stage name that he picked up as a hip hop (Bboy) dancer. I walked with him to the project area, sat on a bench in a shade and we had a long chat.

As i might have earlier mentioned, the project at the Green Slum is called the “Nansana Stop The Violence Movement”. It is a small non-profit project under the hip-hop community in Uganda which is fast growing in the background.
There are quite a number of hip-hop projects budding in different communities and this is just one out of many. The element of hip-hop is being used to spread peace, unity and love and hope in various communities and at the same time equipping young people with life skills to lead productive lives. That children in disadvantaged (or otherwise) situations will find an alternative for violence, theft and other conditions, where they meet up with other kids to learn hip-hop, dance, music and emceeing. This is so that they’re able to express themselves in the things they believe in and those that have affected them.

The children and teenagers are taught above all, to share knowledge. The projects thus come up in a way that a young person learns the elements of hip-hop and life skills and on seeing the need in his/her community, they then move back to set up their own where they host children and teenagers in one place to teach and impart the skills learnt, that their issues might somehow be addressed.
This is also how Woria started the Nansana Stop The Violence Project.

It begun on the 23rd November 2015. Although it is a hip-hop founded project, it mainly focuses on stopping violence in the area of Nansana where the children come from. Woria said he drew inspiration from an incident that saw his friend killed after he had been beaten for stealing a few things; he admits that his friend was quite the gangster.

He believed that his friend could have turned out differently had he been under the right influences. He hoped that he could do his part in nurturing the children in his community to avoid any kind of risky behavior in the near future and for them to grow up to be responsible citizens through music, dance and life skills.

Woria passionately stressed the issues affecting the children in Kabumbi saying that on top of the environment being chaotic, children as young as 10 years old would become thieves as others would lose interest in going to school but instead look for scrap to sell, whilst their parents hardly cared for their wellbeing.

He said that the project helps to bring up these children better, they find clothes for them, with encouragement, while putting their minds off the troubles in their homes. He meets the children every evening at 4pm. But above all things hip-hop, he says the children learn discipline, respect for elders, art and craft, English, to believe in themselves and most of all to love God.

So far, parents are happy with Woria and even though the project has close to 100 kids coming in, he says 27 of them are sent directly by their parents who have registered a positive change in their children.

So being the passionate volunteer of my knowledge on leadership, life skills and project management, I was wondering what I’d do with it come 2017 besides taking it to an office or field every morning with a possible salary at the end of the month; I decided I’d find a project I could be part of in my free time (thankfully being a hip-hop dancer too, I’d blend in with the kids.)

I pledged to Woria that I’d visit once a week or twice every month for a couple of hours to share with the children as much as I can as they’re dangerously limited on knowledge. I’d also help to think about and build an Income Generating Activity of their own so they can educate a couple of kids at a time as most are challenged by school fees; so in the end, his project would be self sustainable as opposed to his current situation of looking for funding.

Woria is doing a great job as are so many others that have put up these dance projects in their communities to provide a safe space for the less fortunate.
I toast to them!

Image: pinterest.com

PS: I’ll do better next time, and post pictures 🙂