Essays, poems and Stories of an African-American

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Thomas Rogers Muyunga Mukasa on: The friends we make, can in turn make or break us!

I grew up like many of the people in Uganda. As a boy I took on roles as the eldest son and did indeed look after my own siblings. This followed the loss of our dear parents. I therefore did not enjoy the structured or expected life of a young man who comes out of University, Higher institute of learning or any such milestone in life to move on and get a job.

I managed to see my own siblings join Universities and go on to get work. This made me so happy. I felt this as a blessing. I also knew this was a message of hope and a reality of promise.

I have met friends and made good.....and bad friends. I am very good at community mobilization and organization. I have helped many groups win funding in Africa. I was approached by many to help them come up with winning proposals. Among these were the genuine ones as well as the crooks. The crooks left me regretting. But, I have since realized they never made it in life. Not that it is anything by way of consolation or a prayer one should in all sense wish for anyone. This was way back in years. But, I have since moved on. My advice: avoid friends who claim they can handle responsibilities and "that you do not need to bother about them." That statement became the bane of my life for a while until I met these friends and asked them to pay me back. They were all squeamish and ashamed. They failed in life even to date. One did go to South Sudan and there worked as an NGO-social worker. In the end he failed. Two others left Uganda briefly, went back and to date they are failures in life and are addicted to all sorts of intoxication.

But life goes on, we do not need to be pulled down by the bad friends. I still recall those days with shuddering.

As a human rights defender, I have advocated for respect and dignity of many persons in Africa. I was beaten and tortured for speaking out for the rights, respect and dignity of persons said to be"un-deserving." Un deserving is relative. I always approach people who are judgmental with caution. Not that am scared of them. No! But, I sense bias in certain attitudes. Any way, in one such experience I even lost many friends who feel my rubbing shoulders with different kinds of people who are undesirables. I told whoever would listen, I detest bigotry and comments by those who are not putting on others' shoes! For that reason those condemned also happen to be the butt of their comments. Wear the person's  shoes before you make comments about that person. For airing my opinion on this, I have made friends as well as lost many.

Life is an opportunity to engage in positive aspects. Martin Luther king Jr., says: " One of the most enduring questions that is still un answered is, what have you done to help another?" That is the question I leave you as well.