COVID-2019; My Ugandan diary

I had not the virus but I was already suffering its effects. As of Monday we were at 9 confirmed cases and with a looming lockdown in sight.

Tuesday 24th March 2020. Kampala, Uganda.

woman with blindfold
Photo by Bruno Feitosa on Pexels.com

Given yesterday’s traffic flow, I allowed myself the luxury of an extra hour of sleep. Waking up at what would usually have been too late about 6:40ish. A bit skeptical about finding taxis as I had done yesterday, I kept my fingers crossed. There was not much work to do anyway besides, rumors were already circulating of closing office. I was lucky or so I thought for there were actually more taxis than yesterday. Next to them, a new installation consisting of a 100-liter plastic drum, which seemed gigantic compared to previous ones I had seen, on a metallic stand re-purposed to serve as a water dispenser. Making its debut, a piece of white washing soap. Seems disinfecting the water was no longer enough.

To go along with all this was the usual “enforcer”. Tough and strict, he manned his post as a sniper on the lookout. No one got into the taxi except through him. The enforcer’s role was to ensure each passenger washed their hands or appeared to do so as was the case with most passengers. This he did committedly throwing in some sarcastic remarks about the entire process. I think sarcasm is one of the requirements for being an enforcer.

An enforcer I had encountered at a different stage the previous day had made a comment which had been funny then but now was starting to get to me. After one lady had expressed her reservation towards the disinfectant used saying she was sure they were using tick spray he had replied “Now you are washing just hands but two days from now you will be showering the entire body”. The entire taxi had burst into laughter including the lady in subject. Now, just a day later the drums were bigger, the enforcers stricter and the soap available. Are you thinking what am thinking?

Anyway, back to this morning. So I eventually get into the taxi and go about setting my playlist for the ride. Just then I notice a stocky man standing right by the entrance. He was on phone and from his replies he seemed to be directing or was being directed by someone. A few minutes later he announced to the nearly full taxi,” Plans have changed”.

He spoke in crisp english and his face being unfamiliar I figured he was just another passenger. Confused as to whether he was addressing us or someone in particular I looked at him waiting for his next words. But before he could say anything else there was an outburst from the taxi. Forget the playlist, the chorus of heated words edged on expletives made me thrust the phone into the bag as I tried to get a hang of the situation. Turns out “Stocky” was our driver and the changed plans were concerning the just issued directive on transport. As of this morning, taxis were to carry nine people including the driver and conductor.

For those who are not familiar with taxis in Uganda, a taxi basically is a van that is configured into a passenger vehicle. Standard taxis have five rows of three seats each. On average a taxi will carry 16 to 17 people the number reaching 20 in some areas were taxis are rare. The reduced number of passengers would have been welcome if our dear driver did try to pass on his loss in revenue to the passengers. By doubling the fare! One by one they exited the taxi as some of us continued to weigh our options.

I saw people turn back and go home! As I calculated the opportunity cost of skipping work it finally got to me. I had not the virus but I was already suffering its effects. As of Monday we were at 9 confirmed cases and with a looming lockdown in sight. An almost paralyzed public transport made movement become increasingly strained for us without private vehicles. Increased transport fares coupled with reduced supply of public transport were starting to taking their toll.  I started to panic because I had not stocked food yet it seemed more certain now that public transport was about to be banned.

The thought of my starving brother and I should the lockdown occur had me forget my budget and brave the journey to the city center. I planned to go to a supermarket for the shops within proximity were charging outrageous prices. For the second day in a row, morning rush hour traffic appeared to be a myth. The taxi sailed smoothly and in about 40 minutes I was at the supermarket.

Across the road I could see the security guys armed with their spray bottles of disinfectant and thermometer guns. I Swear I could feel my temperature rise up 10 degrees. I thought of cooling my forehead with a wipe just in case but I was in their view and just decided to not to take a chance. As I crossed the road I must have felt my neck and forehead like a hundred times. My pulse accelerated and breathing increased, I finally reached the gate after what seemed like an eternity. All the while I waited my turn to be screened, scenes of what could ensue should my temperature not measure up plagued me.

I almost turned and left but the fact that their sugar was still at normal price made me think otherwise. Turns out I was in luck. The sugar had been emptied out from the shelves but I found the staff stacking up new packs. As for the rice, I was not as fortunate and had to buy a type priced similar to that in retail shops around home. I consoled myself with the knowledge that its price was due to its quality and not due to exploitation as was the case in the retail shops. At the spaghetti and noodles shelves, a distinct gap could be seen starting to form which was not the case before. I grabbed a few packs of each, still at their normal price and exited the supermarket. From the supermarket I headed to work on a safe boda. I could not risk ordinary bodas for I was sure I could not get one cheaper than a safe boda.

Work forgotten, the office was alive with stories and jokes about the virus and its different effects. Theories on its spread and the current situation in the country were put forward. The room was a flurry of conversation punctuated with somber silences during which I believe all seriously thought about the unfolding events and what it meant for us. The presidential update was due later that afternoon and we debated on what info would be communicated. The possibility of a lockdown was cited as highly likely and so the conversation shifted to working from home and on what to stock should it eventually come into effect.

Around the same time, word came through that we were all to cease work at 1pm and go to our homes. A “teleworking” arrangement would ensure some semblance of working continued but field activities and interactions with clients were banned till further notice.  Being a wage earner, that meant I had been laid off since we could not work from home. I was not going to receive any pay for as long as the virus kept us from office. Sure enough, our supervisor confirmed that later on with the consolation of paying our past wages asap so they could help us through the lean months ahead.

The second time that day I felt the weight of the virus. As I pondered how I would go through the next months and how long this would last a shiver went through my body and I felt cold. It was finally happening and I had nothing to do about it but pray and brace myself.

Menstrual Hygiene Management today; how we can make it better.

Menstruation is not an option but a natural part of every female’s biological routine. Nevertheless, about half a billion teenage girls and women today still find challenges towards practicing safe Menstrual Hygiene Worldwide. Defined as the adequate access to sanitary material and facilities during their menses coupled with the safe disposal of this material after use, Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM) remains far out of reach especially for our rural and vulnerable peoples.

Challenges such as Lack of access to safe sanitary materials, ignorance on proper hygiene during menses, inadequate washing facilities at institutions and in public places, absence of safe disposal points for used sanitary materials, limited access to clean water and the shame and embarrassment around the subject still hinder the practice. Some cultures still treat it as a form of “uncleanliness” therefore, it remains important to continue addressing these cultural misconceptions on the subject.

“Given the multiple challenges women and adolescent girls face, it is evident that promoting menstrual hygiene management (MHM) is not only a sanitation matter; it is also an important step towards safeguarding the dignity, bodily integrity and overall life opportunities of women and girls.”

World Bank Feature story, May 25th 2018.

Studies continue showing that effects of poor MHM go beyond sanitation and into the social and economic wellbeing of women and girls with some of them lifelong. These include; absenteeism from school and work, Bullying and shaming by their male counterparts in schools, restrictions in mobility and participation in normal activities, diseases such as Urinary Tract Infections and anemia among others. Recently, the movement has gained traction and a lot has been done but much more still remains.

Borrowing from UNICEF’s pillars of Menstrual Health and Hygiene (MHH), I have identified three key aspects of MHM I believe when targeted will directly improve or enable we as the youth improve our menstrual hygiene today.

  1. Access to sanitary materials during menstruation. Access, both financially and physically will ensure every woman and girl is availed with these materials when necessary. By subsidizing the prices of sanitary materials to an affordable price and providing them free of charge to all school children, access will be boosted. Cost friendly alternatives such as reusable pads and those made from natural fiber like bamboo, papyrus and banana are sustainable options and should be promoted on the market. Examples include; Makapads and Afripads. Many are ignorant of their existence or skeptical of their effectiveness.
    School girls holding packs of Makapads; a papyrus fiber alternative pad developed in Uganda. photo credit; knickersfornewlife.org
    Fluffy vagina blankets: Reusable sanitary pads are a period ...
    Sample of reusable cloth pads in different sizes. Photo credit; Telegraph UK

    NGOs have also taken to training on hand making safe reusable cloth pads and how to maintain them. The commonest type of sanitary material used by the poor, this has efficiently improved their menstrual hygiene and should be encouraged.

  2. WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) facilities. Strategically locating free and accessible washrooms and clean water points has helped women manage their hygiene wherever they are. These can be found in slum settlements, rural areas, schools, universities, hospitals and some public institutions. Development agencies like the ADA, GIZ, World Bank, AfDB in association with the government continue to fund and implement these sanitation and water projects and, doing so bring these services freely & closer to the people. However, to embrace and utilize these services, educating and training of students and communities about personal hygiene needs to increase. This will also facilitate more construction of WASH facilities in homes enabling women practice better menstrual hygiene.
    Schoolgirls in Ghana exiting a new toilet facility, made possible by the Improved WASH in Ghana project by the Water and Development Alliance (WADA). Photo credit: WADA
    School girls exiting a toilet facility made possible through the Improved WASH in Ghana project by the Water and Development Alliance. (WADA) Photo credit; WADA

2(a) Safe disposal of used sanitary materials. Clean, private and accessible disposal points should be set in place in both public and private buildings. Given the nature of menstrual waste and the materials used during menstruation, safe disposal is important both for hygienic purposes, environmental protection and dignity.

  1. Awareness of menstruation health and hygiene.
    Menstrual Hygiene Day 2019 - It's Time for Action | Global Communities
    WASH for Health (W4H) beneficiaries with Be Girl reusable period panties. (Global Communities photo)

    Raising awareness on MHH has helped break the silence surrounding menstruation and lift barriers around females it brings. Through talk shows, print media and school & community engagements, organizations such as Straight Talk Foundation Africa and OXFAM have increased understanding on menstruation and how to safely manage it and why. Increasing these interventions will empower more women and girls but most importantly show male figures in their lives how to step into their different roles as fathers, teachers, leaders or policymakers and support them.

An institutional view on Menstrual Hygiene Management
Credit; World Bank Blogs

Benefits of WASH facilities to girls and their education.

More details on the work of Global Communities Organization on promoting menstrual hygiene.

Join us as we celebrate menstrual hygiene day 2020 on 28th May!!

*Feature image by Ian Macharia from Unsplash

Day 5; A day in lockdown.

I wish I had some fancy tale that involves “jogging” with the Local Defense Unit(LDU) chaps or how I once tested positive for COVID-19 in a nightmare, but no. Lockdown has been like a song on repeat for me; Wake up, exist and repeat. Because my mere existence has a purpose however, I created a list of daily activities through which I attempt to find out what that is. Am yet to find out.

woman eating yogurt and looking out the window
Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

The day(s) always starts the same for me; waking up at 5 am, 6 am and 7 am to switch off the alarm and go back to sleep. Every time am setting them the night before I assure myself that I will wake up and do what I ought to and almost every day I do not. Why not remove them you ask? If I do, then I will miss out on the days I could actually wake up and stay up. The alarms are staying. They have worked for me twice so why not give them a chance?

Whether I have woken up early or not, my day usually revolves around the same old routine. Here you go, not just a day but days in lockdown for me.

  1. Communing with God. As I said before, one my goals is to intentionally grow my intimacy with God. Aside from my prayers throughout the day I dedicated my first few minutes every day to Him. Sometimes I pray or nod off and other times all I can get out is a yawn. What matters is, either way am spending time with God.
  2. Sleeping. Aside from the six hours of sleep I get every night, I spend about an hour everyday dozing as I transition between activities or taking those euphoric afternoon naps. I regret every nap I refused to take as a kid so am now using this time to have as many as I can. Usually I wake up feeling lighthearted and gay, as though all of my troubles are gone. These should be made compulsory at work because they are so rejuvenating!
  3. Taking a bath. I bathe religiously every day. Some days more than once depending on what time I exercise. I always imagine what a show I must put on for the God and His angels as I unsuccessfully try to bathe but not get wet. The phobia is real and the shock as the icy cold shower water touches my skin never hits the same. Of course it is impossible to shower without getting wet but that does not mean am going down without a fight.
  4. Eating. Breakfast undoubtedly is the most important meal of the day. It is so important that at times I have it thrice i.e. in the morning, afternoon and evening. I am also a great fan of porridge and I eat about 2 liters in a day. In between the porridge and “breakfasts”, I do throw in a meal once every while so that I do not starve.
  5. Reading. I made it a point to do some reading every day even if just for a few minutes. Whether it is for research, bible study or just for entertainment, daily I must read. Currently, am reading “the richest man in Babylon”, studying the book of Hebrews and working on a short research paper.
  6. Exercising. My new found love. Like all new relationships, we have had our ups and downs and believe it or not, the silent treatment. Already? Yes. One of us still has to learn that personal space is important and lack of it usually makes one sore, cranky and frustrated. I have set aside half an hour every day to do some cardio and stretches. A third of that time is dedicated to learning push-ups and so far Mzee is still far better than me but I will get there.
  7. Cruising online. This is a real activity taking up about 3 hours of my day more than half of which consist of me stalking people on social media. Am I proud of it? No. what I do now is spend some days off and try to use those online productively by doing research and watching educational/motivational videos. Am also considering using it as a source of income. Ideas are most welcome!

PS; Aside from prayer which I always do first, the rest happen in any order as I deem okay. Sometimes “breakfast” comes at 3pm and exercise at midnight. What matters is that I get it done within the 24 hours of that day.

Has my life always been that boring you ask? well, yes. The lockdown I must say has brought some color to it actually. Check out these articles in which I share my experiences on the far reaching effects of the virus prior to the lockdown.

COVID-2019; My Ugandan diary

COVID-19 Diary; Day 2

COVID-19: Day 4

Day 4; Lessons from Covid-19 pandemic.

Lessons i have learnt from the COVID-19 pandemic apart from the beauty of scientific weddings!

1. Everything is possible.

“A few months back had someone come up to say that something like this would happen, I would have been among those that would stone them to death”

A colleague of mine with whom we shared a sentiment towards the matter said to me the last day we went to work. All of it I could identify with, except for the stoning part. I would probably ignore that person and write them off as demented. Guess what? Here we are now. In hiding due to fear of some invincible and unseen enemy a billion times smaller than us. Wow!

To imagine that nearly three quarters of the world is literally in hibernation. The bustle of activity, no more. The legendary hours long traffic jam, a myth. After this, nothing sounds ridiculous anymore and all information hereon I vow to process open-minded. If I had done that earlier, I would have stocked up early enough and not suffered buying stuff at inflated prices.

2. We really are not in charge of our destiny.

We could have a say in it by working it out with He who holds it; God almighty. Other than that, we are just in for a ride. All this talk of “you run your life” and this “do you, be you” propaganda are not holding up to what they promised to deliver. So many of us want to, feel like and can even afford to do certain things but cannot anymore. Seems to me we were never really in charge.

This pandemic has blown the illusion of humankind literally having authority over the future and we ought to be thankful. As a born again Christian, this only serves to affirm my faith and am grateful it has helped others question some of the beliefs that have been peddled all over the world for so long. The real meaning of being in control today is being flexible. The ability to take whatever comes your way, adapt and use it to continue thriving. Anything above that is beyond us as humans whether we believe it or not.

3. Freedom is underrated.

I never fully appreciated freedom until a part of it was taken away. To be confined to my home, even with all the necessities I need sucks. It sucks not because I hate my home, but because I cannot leave to go where I want to when i want to. When I had that option, I never really thought much of it. Now it is a luxury. Not even the well off can afford it because the currency in which it is traded now is not money but some extremely rare stickers. It is time to appreciate every ounce of freedom we have. Did you know in Switzerland some people need the landlord’s consent to flush their toilets past 10pm? Be thankful.

4. It is time to invest in other types of capital other than money.

As we see now, time is going to come again when money is of little or no use at all. When all your billions cannot pay for your life to be saved or cannot keep up with the ever changing economic nexus. As I write this an ounce of gold is expected to hit a new high of close to $3000 in the upcoming months! The price of an oil barrel however has plunged into negatives! The contrast is to show the volatility of money and draw your attention to other forms of capital.

We can have the same level of income and still have me being richer than you. Keeping all else constant, basing on the connections i have and the goodwill I possess I am far richer than you. Why you ask? Social capital; better known as Ani akumanyi?” Loosely translated it means “whom do you know?” I bet you those well connected persons are some of those that boast movement stickers or better still, may not even need them at all. You on the other hand if not eligible for it may have to get one illegally and at the cost of your conscience. (Totally not worth it guys.) The use of connections as a means of exchange has been around in the country for a while among the few elites. Now, their importance can hardly be ignored especially in such a time as this were money is of low purchasing power than never before.

Intellectual capital. We have all heard of knowledge being wealth. It is one of those types of wealth that are immune to inflation. Knowledge will place you before kings and presidents. It will forge for you connections to the powerful and place you in their favor. When put to use it will grow your income as well. It does not end at how much you earn. How much value can you add to the universe? At the end of this phase we will not have more billionaires but rather more intellectuals as the world being faced with a new challenge is seeking direction. If in doubt, check on the amount of money being directed to research concerning Covid and its effects.

5. Time is relative.

Turns out Einstein was right. Again. The last few weeks have passed by differently for each of us. Some days seemed like 48 hours each and some weeks 3 days long. Some are complaining of them dragging by and others keep wondering where their days went. Before the lockdown, I had about 5 hours per day to myself and I was able to ration them and complete my daily goals. As of now, with all my days to myself I have achieved almost nothing compared to before! Why is that?

At its core, time is really a concept. How you and I perceive it and act differs from individual to individual. This is now more evident due to the absence of the usual structures and routines that normally dictate our consumption of time. What I have learnt therefore is that there is no such thing as “enough time.” For as long as I do not purpose to do something I will always complain about lacking time. The issue thus is not how much time you have but rather how you allot it that determines productivity.

6. Emergency funds are life savers.

Am glad I was not new to the concept of having an emergency fund. It has been very helpful even prior to the Covid pandemic. I have lived off of mine for the last 6 months. All those times Dave Ramsey shouted at me have paid off. Saving should be a culture. It may be the pandemic today and something else tomorrow. This pandemic has been what I would call a refresha course on the subject.

Last but not least, trust in the Lord and lean not on your own understanding. Times like this that humble the human race remind us that we are not self sufficient. This cuts across rich and poor, white and black, male and female. Eventually we all reach the end of our selves. Then what?

Day 3; Five favorite books and why.

My five book suggestions for you!

Okay, this might come as a surprise to the bloggren but, I would not say am a seasoned reader. Not for the past eight or so years anyway.

Before that, I read everything from encyclopedias to labels on bottles. In high school I was the typical book freak. Always alone with a book huddled somewhere or alone traveling through my utopia and hanging out with my very real (read imaginary) billionaire FBI boyfriend who had a British accent but hailed from Israel. (R.I.P Ira)

Because I owned no novels of my own to use as leverage and was last in the pecking order, I rarely had a place on the book waiting lists. As a result, I was forced to “borrow” the novels in an attempt to read them overnight. Since their owners were not aware they had “lent” me their novels, I had to read them and return them before they noticed they were missing. As you can imagine, I was not always successful and before you know it, i had earned myself a reputation among our literary club as a “swiper” and further out of reach went my “drugs”.

I needed my “fix” and therefore had to improvise. I mean, why fight for a spot on the waiting list when you can avoid it all together? I am a pretty fast reader so i figured all had to do was befriend a few people with solid spots who were also slow readers. Once in their good books i’d then piggyback off of them and read the novel whilst it was still in their hands. Genius huh?

Long story short, that was a success and I almost never missed out on reading any novel in circulation. So successful it was that by the end of my O levels, my sight had badly deteriorated and I could hardly see past 2 metres. I guess reading on a torch was not such a good idea. Anyway, sight can be fixed which is why today I wear glasses.

What could not be fixed however, were my grades. Reading a novel in class almost got me suspended. It was the closest I came to it and with my parents involved, I had to tone down a little on the novels. I thus switched to the library and made it my cave. There I hid when I skipped classes just to pore over decade old national geographic magazines and almanacs from Tasmania.

Anything worked as long as it was a book. It was not long before i picked the interest of the librarian. You see, i’d go to shelves and pick out the books and magazines then carry them back to the reading section. Right in front of me i’d pile them; an Everest to be explored. The Librarian however was not as enthusiastic and threatened to chase me away because of my choice of reading material concerned that it never included classroom notes or textbooks.

I managed to pass my O levels but by a thread with a consolatory distinction in English. When I changed schools after that I swore to cut out novels and the like so that I could concentrate on my studies. Cut them out I did. I am now struggling to pick up a book to read. Yes, it did pay off and I excelled in my A levels. I carried the habit forward to university and it still worked. I never recovered my zeal for reading to date. I am basically cultivating the habit from scratch!

As i write now, reading a book every month is a constant on my ever changing goals. I am trying hard that I can tell you. Luckily, as long as I can bring myself to start reading, the rush returns and keeps me going albeit reluctantly and slower. To answer today’s prompt i have listed both books i am trying to read and those i have read from before this anti reading era. The “why” represents what drew me to them in the first place.

1. The richest man in Babylon by George Samuel Clason. Every wealthy person has read this and since I am going to be one of them soon, I may as well read it. Plus, nothing beats learning and having fun while at it.

2. Digital fortress by Dan Brown. My first book by Dan and I was hooked from then on. I did not go far with the Da Vinci code because that was the time everything was illuminati. How much more a novel with the name of a supposedly illuminati founder…lol.

3. When God whispers your name by Max lucado. Am working on growing intimacy in my relationship with God. Besides, Max has a way of bring scripture to life. He is humorous and witty in his writing yet still delivering the points.

4. The power of habits by Charles Duhigg. The quest for self mastery led me habit formulation which in turn led me to Duhigg. I am yet to regret it.

5. Not a penny more, not a penny less by Jeffery Archer. Beside being Jeffery Archer, the plot here is simple yet twisted and keeps you on your toes till the end.

Day 2; 20 Facts about me.

Hmmn, where do i start?

1. Am loyal. This is the only explanation i can give for having long lasting friendships. My friends are few but, they can always count on me.

2. It is either black or white. There is no inbetween.

3. I am currently transitioning from being a serial procrastinator.

4. I am a dreamer. The things i dream of have never been heard of on this earth.

5. I love my space. If you want to vex me come into it uninvited.

6. Empathy. I have that in immeasurable doses. Too much so that it may become a weakness if i let it run loose.

7. I love animals. This is one of the branches of my empathy I guess. I have to console myself everytime I have kill a mosquito that I find biting me.

8. I love my family. I love you mum. I love you dad. I love you M. As a matter of fact, I love you too. Yes you!

9. Green used to be my favourite color . Now am more inclined towards earthy tones.

10. I love boots! Ankle boots, knee length, thigh high, gumboots…name it.

11. I will choose a natural look over makeup any day.

12. I am the first born and am as “first bornish” as they come. My younger brother calls ma’am.

13. Am smart, or so everyone says. Sounds smart would actually be more accurate and am sure my grades could not agree more.

14. Am generous. Almost stupid generous but am learning to be more “stingy”. Shout outs to all those who took advantage of my generosity. I could not have learnt this without you.

15. As you can probably tell by now, my sarcasm is always in full gear. Working on toning it down a bit.

16. I am a sucker for 90s music. The nostalgia is almost therapeutic!

17. I have been called “too serious” too many times. After months of consideration I now agree with the statement.

18. I am a lover. Rarely with my words but always with my actions. Learning to be more verbal.

19. That endless pursuit of achievements and goals, turns out it is called being ambitious. That i am.

20. I love God. Everyday I fall short but nevertheless, everyday I try again. I do not intend to stop.

This is a bonus for you. (Am generous remember?)

21. One day am going to live on a farm with a pet Rabbit i will name Rudolph. This farm will be in the middle of the amazon but also next to the Indian ocean so that i can tazarn into the ocean.

Day 1; Why do i write?

Why do i write? Be my guest to find out . #UgBlogMonth 2020.

Why do i write?

I have only just started writing this quarantine season so it is yet to come easily for me. What can I say? The writer’s block has been real. Currently, I write because I set a goal of writing an article at least once a week. Until I have, there is a nagging guilt that I cannot seem to escape.

DearVeteran” writers did this happen to you when you started and if yes, how long did it last?

When I get over the initial reluctance and start writing, then I write like it is what i live for even if it is just for a few minutes. So far, the following reasons have kept me going at this writing thing. Faithfully.

  1. I write because I find unbridled freedom of expression like I never have in reality. I can be whomever I want and no one can stop me. At times it reveals to me things about myself i’d never known.
  2. I write because it empowers me. To have a voice and be able to use it to cause change in beliefs and narratives. Oh, what power!
  3. I write because writing liberates me both literally and figuratively. There is a wave of freshness that sweeps over me as i lay out my soul on paper. Yep, it comes from deep there for me. I just do not know how to not bare myself when writing. Reading past writings scares me actually because the rawness depicted makes it like am prying!

To be honest, deep down (really, really, deep down) I also write because I believe I could be the Paulo Coelho of our generation waiting to happen.

Here is a picture of my beloved “mentor” Paulo.Paulo Coelho Stock Pictures, Royalty-free Photos & Images - Getty ...

What? A little confidence did not hurt anyone before. Yes, “a little”.

Anyway, we shall never know if i do not keep writing shall we?


Emotions and better decision making.

Emotions. we love them and we hate them. Find out how you can use them to better your decision making!


Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

“Emotionally driven people usually lead frustrated lives. They are filled with creative ideas but are unable to settle down long enough to lay out a blueprint and get a solid foundation. They want instant results and if they do not get them they are usually off to another new project that will also fail.”

The confident woman: Start today living boldly and without fear. Joyce Meyer

Feels familiar? I hope not. Unfortunately, that has been my story for so long. Before, it was easy to blame everyone and everything else.

I am too busy. I work an 8-5. Fit a relationship in there and the time I have left over is to rest. I need a life, don’t you?

No need to exercise now. Summer is still three months away. Besides, I can always swim at night. Beach body what?

I gotta save for rainy days but suppose I die before they come? On second thought, I might us well enjoy my money now. Did you know that it is a gift from God to do be able to do so?

Live on a budget? Am a big girl and no one tells me how to spend my money and especially not some random guy with a red goatee on youtube! Next round on me errybody!

I mean, I wanted what I felt was right for me. I had my best interests at heart more than anyone else. Right? How then did I end up in this rut surrounded by broken dreams and targets that seemed to grow wings the moment they knew I was onto them? I will not talk about how unfaithful to-do list have been to me. The longer they were and the more thought I put into their compilation, the harder it was to tick items off them. Clearly, it is was I against the world. I and frustration. He never seemed to leave me alone. Yes, it is a he.

Frustration is the last thing anyone needs today. Sadly, many of us are living frustrated lives and we do not even know why. We have done and tried everything in our power to change our habits or achieve our goals but all in vain. So much so that at this point if we encounter anything that does not give instant results or gratification then it is not worth it. After a while we become so good at masking it that it becomes a way of life; giving up, inconsistency, avoidance, denial, procrastination and playing the blame game.

I was a master at that game. The danger started when I lost track as to when it changed from a game to reality. I was falling short compared to my fellow employees. I was always behind deadlines and was literally living hand to mouth. I had never followed through an exercise routine for longer than a week. I was constantly falling back into habits I was trying to break. Before long, I was too ashamed to seek for help from my friends because I had run out of excuses.

And so I spiraled until I hit rock bottom. I was ashamed of my failure to rein in my appetites that my indulgences became detestable to me. Impulse buys I had amassed over the months depreciated so much that I gave them away to avoid looking at them. The possibility of how many opportunities had passed me by wore down on me heavily and my anxiety rose to an all-time high. It was too painful to even think of the great relationships that could have been. Being the “strong” person I was, I was too proud to seek help.

With all that pressure and no exit for it, I was lucky God intervened and cut short my streak of bad decisions that were eminent. Over the years I had come across many a self-help book. My dad had had quite the collection. Ironically, his life was not any different from what I describe above. At the time however I was too young to exercise good judgement concerning his lifestyle. He did as he felt and it had worked for him until it did not. It was only recently when the realization of the similarity of our life paths and choices hit me.

As a young adult struggling to find my footing in the big world, I could not afford to take chances anymore. The consequences of my decisions were solely to be borne by I. Remembering the pain and hardship we went through as a result of my father’s impulsiveness and what it cost him, it was like seeing light at the end of the tunnel. I remember crying out to God to help me not make the same mistakes he had. I guess you can call that my turning point. It is also at that point that I came to know what my issue was; emotional decision making.

Not to be misunderstood, emotions actually play a key role in decision making. Those of us who are constantly aware of our emotions can balance them out with rational thought to come to what would be termed as the best decision. Most of us however are yet to tame our emotions and have made one too many bad decisions that seemed right at the time. Right based off how we were feeling. Feelings can be deceptive and emotions change more than anything. That coupled with the fact that as humans we are wired to take the path of least resistance can be recipe for disaster.

Identifying your weakness of leaning greatly towards your feelings when making decisions is a start. A start like how downloading a workout app helps you get fit. It does not. If you do not go through with the app exercises consistently, nothing happens. Having the following tips has proved useful to helping me be more rational in the thought processes following my decisions.

Check with the word of God. As Christians we are called to honor God in all that we do. So my first tip is to cross check with His word. Hebrews 4:12 says that the word of God judges the thoughts and the attitudes of the heart. By doing this you are also acknowledging God’ s power and wisdom. It is hard to go wrong when you obey God. Be sure to humble yourself and actually follow through with whatever the outcome is. It is pointless to do so if you intend to go your own way anyway.

Emotions have been known to degrade rational thought. Your feelings usually come off as justifiable sources of reason because their suggestions are not entirely unreasonable. You are hungry so you have to eat. That is true, but what you eat, where you eat from and how much you eat matter. At times the cost matters more. Point is, you have got to be careful not fall into that trap. It helps to double check with a trusted friend. Sometimes the deception is subtle and may be missed. It should not make sense only to you because sometimes you are wrong.

Emotions do not alter reason. It may seem reasonable to you to donate your rent to charity but I do not think uncle Bob will be that understanding come the end of the month. I understand that generosity is a good thing but so is common sense. Uncle Bob will tell you that too. I cannot recount the number of times I have given away more than I can afford to. Despite it being a noble act, that did not stop me from starving a few days. Surely, we all have that day after a really silly decision that we wondered what was really going on in our heads when we made it. It was your emotions. You are welcome.

Discipline is our best friend. Just because you felt like eating a kilogram of ice cream does not make it right. Am sure the toilet agrees with me on this. Look, I do enjoy some vanilla mango myself but, if I have to take too much that my stomach has to run then there is a problem. It matters not whether I can afford it or if no one is watching. Learn to say no to yourself. You are all that stands between you and your goal. For any of these tips to be fruitful then we have to discipline ourselves. I have a love-hate relationship with self-discipline. In the actual moment of denial, it feels like am punishing myself. When it pays off however, it is worth every sacrifice. Luckily it gets easier with time but it takes patience.

I hope these tips can help you get a grip on your emotions when making decisions so that you do not get carried away in the heat of the moment. Some decisions have lifelong consequences. In as much as you cannot always know for sure that you taking the right decision it helps to know that you did all you could to be cautious. Lastly, do not underestimate the little decisions. Our lives are a reflection of the sum of our decisions. Each decision matters so start small and keep working on it until you succeed. Please feel free to share your tips with us too!

Note; For purposes of this article I use the terms emotion and feeling synonymously.