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My First ever Rotaract , Fellowship my Experience

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“Once you find your purpose (what you are meant to do or become in life), hit the road right away and hit it running and never stop learning.” And “When you hit rock bottom, cry for only two minutes and get back up again, do not drown yourself in so much self pity.” Must have been my two biggest takeaways from our guest speaker’s talk. But well, before I even say anything else; allow me say this to you; Rotaractors are a very fun, happy and welcoming family. Glad to have got to experience this first hand. Kale, here goes my narration.

So, Thursday 30th January later last week, I attended my first ever Rotaract Fellowship; got to fellowship with the members of Rotaract Kampala South that meets every Thursday at Hotel Africana from 6:30Pm. Being that I am an internet junkie; that means I am online for most of my time of the week (for the obvious reasons that I write stories and news for various online avenues, plus I am a digital marketer), there’s this one events, hype lady and emcee, who also doubles as a presenter on radio. She is also very passionate about the environment (got to know the environment bit of it during her delivery at the fellowship) I always root for. Her name is Miss Deedan (real names Diana Muyira). Got to know about her when I one day tuned into 97fm RadioCity back then in 2018 when I listened in to her program (The Jam) which she co-hosted with Kella McKenzie back then. And from then, I just liked her energy, her Genuity, sincerity, sense of humor, liveliness, and commitment to and in whatever she does. Need I mention too that she’s a “daddy’s girl”, and since I have so much love and respect for mine as well makes me and her so relatable. I love radio presenting too (one of my hidden inner passions actually). Fast forward to early this year; I made a personal pledge to self- to always give free tweets to any events she is to host and make a presence at events or shows she is to make a presence at; well to just be there, cheer on and support. The story was not any different this past Thursday too. Since I follow her on Twitter, that means I get to see what she posts, so she did put up a poster on Tuesday on how she would be guest speaking at the forthcoming Rotaract fellowship with the group that meets at Hotel Africana on Thursdays and I definitely knew I had to be onto that plan. Fast forward to the dee- day, and our lecturer at campus who had to handle us from the time period of 4Pm to 5:30 was no show up and communicated they could not make it to come teach us. I can guess you know who used this opportunity to trek to Africana (as I listened to Fireboy DML’s Laughter, Tears & Goosebumps album); snice there was terrible traffic jam on Jinja Road, walking proved to be a more efficient choice.

There is this thing about me I actually shared with my cousin about last year (about how if I am very interested in a program, link up, appointment, convention or even meeting of some sort, I will always make it in time there; citing an example from 2019 at the TECNO and MTN partnership which happened last year at The Sheraton Hotel Kampala where we were expected to be by 8:30am but because of my passion about both brands, I was at venue as early as 8:05am, bearing in mind that I actually stay far from town. Yes, you read that right. I was there as early as that.) Enough of the “lugambo” (rumormongering), now back to my narration: Initially arriving at the venue by 6:12Pm, I inquired about the hall room we were supposed to be using for the fellowship and one of the people at the reception told me we were to use (Mayanja Hall) and it was still being arranged and was advised to sit in the waiting room. Barely had I rested on those comfy seats of the luxurious hotel when I saw the Queen of the Mic herself; Miss Deedan walk in; all elegantly clad in a Mauve pink dress and heels alongside her team. Kati obviously my village excitement hit me so hard and you see a thing about the people of where I come from, we are too honest and expressive people; if we love something or someone, are happy with or mad at someone, we openly tell them how we feel (express it); which of course a few people might have an issue with but I do not if I were to be quite honest. With a smile lit face, I carried my small self and went to say Hi, Welcome Ma’am, we are glad to have you; as though I were an usher even. (*insert Shy Monkey emoji). Told her and her team that the hall room was still being arranged. So, we sat at the gardens area as we waited for the folks arranging the room to be through as grabbed a little breath back this side. Moments later, we were informed that set up was done and we could get in.

Upon entering the hall room, being a serial back bencher for life, I had got a seat at the back and made myself comfortable. The Rotaract Chairperson who was the main host at the fellowship encouraged us to take up the seats at the front and I did just that; thinking Miss Dee (since she was the guest speaker) would be taking up one of those at the front but “waah”, they sat at the back. The fellowship eventually kicked off with members introducing their neighbors they were seated with, and then later on reciting the pledges.
Well, for those who might not know, the Rotaract club is a program that brings together young adults of ages between ages 18 to 30 to take part in their communities, develop their leadership and professional skills and have fun as they interact and challenge each other to grow. They engage in various activities that are geared towards bettering and improving communities. From providing school supplies to free skills training to people in the various areas where they belong to.
The members were then requested to each talk about the different activities related to Rotaract that they were engaged in; right from Friday till Wednesday (since they meet on Thursdays). It was really a fun-filled session I tell you; as members made jokes amidst their presentations, and accents of all sorts came out gwe; (tweny tweny) to mean twenty twenty, and even more. You should plan on attending a session and witness this feeling of belonging and love being spread for yourself. During the fellowship, I also got to meet Kabs Derrick in person; been following on the socials and I must really say it was a pleasure and a humbling experience. He was actually my neighbor during the fellowship.

The long-awaited moment reached; Miss Dee (our guest speaker) then hit the podium. And those who know her for her energy know how she can be a power force as soon as soon as she comes aboard. She kicked off the session by randomly sampling from members of the audience as she asked them: what they wanted to be like in terms of work when they were around six years of age and what profession they were currently doing”. She then proceeded to share her life story; telling us that her childhood dream was to become a Nun, then her dreams kept shifting, with her sharing stories about her various high school escapades and how life was like in Kenya; then the very first day she was dared to grab a microphone while there and her saying to this challenge has never left her the same; as emceeing ha opened doors for her and is still taking her places; and hey here we are. She really shared some good pieces of advice that I wish to share with you my dear reader too. Here they are, in no particular:

1. It does not matter at what age you get your breakthrough in whichever dream you are chasing. Do not beat yourself up just because your mates are getting ahead in life, career and dreams way faster than you; causing you to feel like you have disappointed or betrayed you and your future self.

2. In life, only work towards bettering yourself and not competing. You see, with competition you will lose your sense of passion for what you are doing because you are too busy trying to beat everyone else. Just work on YOU for YOU.

3. The ultimate goal is to grow together not to carry bad blood towards each other. This means consulting those in your field or career path, being open minded and flexible enough to adjust where necessary so as to improve yourself and your delivery and rather not trying to downplay everyone else.

4. We can only learn from our mistakes. Because to Err is human. And there is no such thing as a “perfect” person. It’s okay to mess up. However, make sure you learn from those mistakes and avoid repeating them in future.

5. Miss Dee also encouraged us to learn to communicate. In terms of opening up to our close contacts in case life gets too overwhelming, and being honest.

6. Once you find your purpose (what you are meant to do or become in life), hit the road right away and hit it running and never stop learning.

7. In whichever field you are in, do not get too comfortable where you are and in what you know. Always be hungry to learn more. Make the necessary research, and put in the work and make sure you turn yourself into the best at what you do.

8. Use what others may see as a weakness in you in your favor. She shared about how some people used to make her feel bad about how deep her voice is, but hey look here we are. She turned this all around in her favor. And now you cannot name 5 events in and out of Kampala on a line up without her appearing on at least two of them as the official host; (unless you want your event to be boring; that’s when you’ve chosen not to hire her). 😂

9. Make and expand your social circles whenever you can. In other words, “build your social capital”. She illustrated this with a more vivid example saying that almost three quarters of the jobs and gigs she has been given or contacted for have been through the friends and people she’s met over time.

10. Always be straight to the point when introducing yourself and avoid small talk as the world is really moving at a very fast pace. Make it as brief as; “Hello I am so and so, we met here, and I do this and this (work). I was wondering if you could use or know anyone who could use my skills which are … this, this and that…”. Cut out all the other small unnecessary talk and be straight up.

11. When you hit rock bottom, cry for only two minutes and get back up again, do not drown yourself in so much self-pity.

Miss Deedan, delivering her keynote during the Rotaract fellowship.

12. In this day and age, it is advisable that one gets themselves a side hustle because surviving on only one job in this economy can prove to be tricky. (A side hustle is like a one-off errand you run for a temporary basis or permanently but is not your main job. Usually in; service delivery or products making such as photography, emceeing, art and crafts, deliveries, decorations or even becoming a make-up- artist.

There was then a Q&A (question and Answer) session where one of the members asked that “what do you do, in the case that you lose your drive or passion or energy along the way as you pursue your dream or hustle). Her answer was very interesting and it brings us to pro tip number thirteen.

13. Always remember what inspired you to start. Reflect on the past feeling you felt the day you decided you wanted to pursue that, that you are doing. She (Miss Dee) compared it to a relationship saying that you always have to treat your hustle like the very instance you set your eyes on the person you are dating or fell in love with; remembering the excitement you felt that day as you approached them somehow keeps you staying in the relationship; so, should be the case with the grind. Another question by another member was about substance abuse; as the entertainment industry and this era in general is flooded with so many cases like this and how people can cope with learning to break them; where she responded saying;

The journey to breaking an addiction starts with acknowledging it, accepting it and deciding to stop or drop it. She said, quote, “I won’t tell you it is easy. But again, when you stop and ask yourself if this is really good to you or your health, is where the answer and push to the journey of fighting so hard to drop the addiction lies”.

14. Our greatest strength lies in doing and taking up these little things that everyone else despises. With this, she encouraged members of the audience to be enterprising and make use of what they have at hand so as to tap into their untapped potential and market needs (giving us a free business idea anyone could execute at the Blankets and wine event; only those who attended the fellowship can surely know this one).

Last but not least, Dee advised us that in case you wish to try out an idea or craft such as singing, dancing, emceeing or even a product, its best you try out with your family members. They usually give the most honest feedback; whether you like to hear it or not. They will. 😂🤞🏾

The fellowship was crowned with a cake cutting ceremony and pictures taking, plus networking. Really looking forward to the next. So, like I like to say; Onto the next one. 🥂