2016 At the Academy of Life 

At Queen Elizabeth National Park. Photo Credit :The Incredible Andrew Pacutho

Alot of my 2016 has been about growing. 

An introduction to life outside the norm.The brilliant light of it and the absolute sheer darkness.

So how do you write about a year that has been everything you hoped for and more, while being the perfect split between the worst and the best of your  life?  I guess we are both about to find out. 

Since  we are here, I can gratefully say, the good guys won..

I started 2016 somewhere in a prayer circle. It wasn’t a crowd, there were no great lights and perfect sound or heart lifting music, the kind I always find at Watoto Church every other end of year. (If you are in Kampala it’s the place to be) 

It was a group of friends, someone’s sitting room and two guitars all night long. There was neither an  epiphany, nor rhythmic shaking in the atmosphere no fire works. 

It felt ordinary, maybe even boring and yet 2016 has been everything but. 

At the beginning of every year, I usually text or tell people,  “happy calender change “, because frankly that’s the only thing that changes unless your birthday falls on the first day of January. 

I also don’t do New Year’s resolutions because as awesome as it is to have ambitiously incredible plans for 365/6 days,  the academy of life has taught me not to exert too much pressure on my calendar, because it always has away of creating enough detours. 

Let me confess right now that even as I type this, I have no idea where this is going. But how about a pose on the rambling, and just good old gratitude, wrapped in a number of lessons?

It’s been a growth year for me.Epic even, because it’s not every year that I find myself on a plane to the United States of America, for a full 8 days , at zero cost to me.

I also struggled with alot of things as well as suffering an amount of pain (it wasn’t physical and nobody broke my heart )  I still cannot believe exists. 

I also survived that pain, and  at this point, non toxic drink in hand, I would like to propose a toast to everyone who has come out on the bright side of pain in 2016. That’s the first thing I  am grateful for.

Moving on swiftly.Here is the list of lessons  am graduating the academy of life with in 2016/ the things I am grateful for. 

1. The ability to write.   Before this year I was playing. I had no idea how much being able to express myself through words meant, but having this blog and writing beyond it, is something am very thankful for. 

I have learnt of the therapeutic power of piecing words together to form sentences and then paragraphs. I have also created amazing friends from this place, some even really special ones. 

I have experienced the rawest form of my emotions while ink hits paper or where  fingers meet keyboards   in an effortless attempt to vent,make sense, or just to be alive. 

 I told the whole world here when I won the World Bank writing contest and how my feelings didn’t catch up as fast as I had hoped.  It was very frustrating, until I picked up my notebook and nice clear pen at the airport. 

I learned in that moment at 2am in the morning, that writing is my heart and soul. I may not feel like doing it everyday but feelings are also very overrated.

2.Investing in experiences.  I love clothes, one of my sisters thinks am a hoarder of clothes. Over the years I have accumulated so many clothes I don’t wear, need  or those that are simply ugly.There is a point to all this..

I have hardly bought any clothes in 2016 despite the fact that I have had the most money in my life, because I started to invest in experiences, and by experiences I mean #koikoiug. 

I have traversed this country, and seen it with a different set of eyes. 

I have seen waterfalls, and showered from them. I have  taken mini hikes and long forest walks. 

I have watched wildlife bond and scatter. I have taken a ferry and boat  ride on Lake Victoria and abseiled next to Sipi Falls.  

I have learnt about coffee and even brewed some on the slopes of Mount Elgon 

I have spectated while the  sun kissed the  lake in an effort to set only to  watch it  raise behind mountains later.  I have unsuccessfully learned about photography and I have met great people.

In 2016 I decided to do something about my everlasting swooning over #koikoiug by joining them to travel this pearl of Africa and tell authentic Ugandan stories. So I guess the lesson is buy less clothes and pay for more #koikoiug trips.

3. For Myself. 

I learned something about obligations and the need to please, but  more importantly about choosing myself above all as well as  the difficult  balance.

I have learnt that #FOMO doesn’t mean I must show up for an event and that I can still go alone if no one else is going. I have learnt that my friends and I don’t have to like the same restaurant.

That taking myself out of the crowd doesn’t make me anti social and that it’s okay to leave the party before it ends. 

That some people grow together and others apart, and it’s okay for some friendships not to last a lifetime. 

That as amazing and well thought out my opinion may be, I don’t always have to give it unsolicited. 

I have learnt about the reality of  depression, the disease, and especially the stigma, as well as the power of family  and am grateful for the success story in my household.

2o16 has been a great year, I will be going back to my prayer circle sometime tonight to express some of this gratitude to God. 

I look back on the last 365 days and like the psalmist,  I know that if it hadn’t been for God, I would not have made it out. 

Happy Calender Change 2017.

What did the academy of life teach you in 2016?. 

Thank you for reading my blog in 2016, don’t go anywhere.



  1. Mama Aida

    Your writing has evolved beautifully too! It’s been an absolute pleasure meeting you again in words….if you know what I mean! Happy calendar change to you too my dear.

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  2. Hope Jakisa

    I promise not to go anywhere cz this awesome way of putting words together got to be read. I am always inspired by your writing. Thanks for sharing. Happy new calendar change 💜

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