A Day In Lira Town
The greatest of gifts are given from the heart; that tap on the back, that unexpected text/ call, a warm smile, sharing coffee beans or a cup of water on a hot day, a kind word or gesture, your precious time. These gifts, and many others like them, given or received in return enliven us and breathe new life into our weary bones. After all, as beautifully stated by Lao Tzu, “the heart that gives, gathers.”
Last week I had the privilege of witnessing this proverb at work when a group of female leaders stopped everything they were doing and traveled to Lira. The trip had been scheduled at the beginning of this year at the "Executive Directors’ gathering" organized by CivSource Africa where the leaders agreed to pay a solidarity visit to other female executive leaders to share their leadership experiences and find learning from each other’s leadership journeys. Even though this follow up visit had been agreed to, there was no guarantee it would happen. At the heart of their unwavering commitment to make this visit happen and the willingness to turn the belief in this solidarity visit to action was unwavering love. Not just any love, but the love that desires to see other women winning and thriving in their leadership journeys.
Spending a day in Lira was beautiful - the conversations were raw and vulnerable, there was fellowship and breaking of bread, we were home. Our hosts went all out to make sure we were well catered to. They gave of their time, their stories, their pains, their delicious food, they sang with us, laughed heartily and showered us with gifts. The meeting space was colorful and full of all the right energy. We asked questions and basked in everyone's experience with leadership. We traveled to Lira to give of the little we had received in January and the ladies in Lira out-gave us. They opened their hearts to us and received us, and while they learned from us, they gave us so much more than we had anticipated. They gave us love!
Africa (in this case Uganda) is not short of generosity. We are givers naturally because we have been raised to understand that “the heart that gives, gathers." We know that life is so much better, much more peaceful and so much more enjoyable when we give. We embrace “omutima omugabi" (giving with heart) so gracefully and without strain.
By Sanyu Penelope
Team Leader Femme Forte Uganda