“If you don’t know where Iam coming from, you don’t know where I’m going”-Anonymous
It’s that time of a man’s life when he doesn’t dance to all songs that the DJ is playing, that same time, when you think it’s awkward to imitate MJ’s moon walk instead of inventing your own. I think that time has come for me too.
Since 1998 when my father was involved in a serious road traffic crash (I was an 11 year old virgin ), my quest to become a medical doctor was born. I thought that being a Medical doctor-and that I promised my old man, would be a magic pill to remove all the suffering in the world. That dream was short lived, as I instead wanted to be an Engineer in my 2nd year in Secondary School. I thought, the Engineer is a bad a*** of a guy who takes no orders from anyone and just INVENTS and MAKES THINGS HAPPEN. In my last year in Secondary School, I had no idea who I really wanted, as Engineering didn’t look any different from our local car mechanic. And now, you know, how I ended up doing a Bachelor’s degree in Education from MUST-it was sponsored by the Uganda government. (Claps). Still, I never imagined myself teaching Chemistry and Biology in School-although I came back to University and taught public health for 3 years. (Proud of that, by the way). An advanced degree came along with many opportunities including an ‘Ego’ which I call the ‘Balls’ to question ‘What and How do we know we’re making a difference’. Ah…but, I’d like to give tribute the girl, I consider to be my first date:
The Uganda Red Cross…
I joined the Uganda Red Cross as a 14 year old youth volunteer at one of “Coca Cola Post Primary School Soccer Competitions’ as a first aider. Well, because I was too small and too young to appear on the school team (but as hell knows, I was good). It was the first time that I put on that pretigeous symbol of humanity…and how badly I wanted to put on that for a long time. And I did, as I grew up to become the reliable and faithful decision maker regarding the Prehospital Care Agenda of the #UgandaRedCross for 2 years! (Cheers to that) My proudest moment will always be the time when I was a youth volunteer though. With a new goat to roast, along the way soon, I wish to write this tribute to my fellow staff, volunteers, public and private partners whom I met at the Uganda Red Cross and International Red Cross movement since 2000.
I take this opportunity to extend my sincere thanks for all your support and guidance throughout. I have enjoyed working with you as part of the #RedCrossArmy both village-ally, district-ally, region-ally, nation-ally and internation-ally. You had been my mentor, girl friend, wife, father, mother and guide:- the one who gave me a chance to make a meaningful contribution to the prehospital care agenda in my proximity. While I thought, I were the king of multi-tasking, I developed the skill to handle work pressure without letting out on the team members, encouraging and inspiring colleagues , advocating and practicing quality standards for the well functioning of the Prehospital Care Unit. I have hardly known any other organisation with such great grass root community volunteer network.
I hardly remember any day that I regretted for my stay as it was ‘…more than just a job’. I just wanted to make use of my much awaited opportunity to be allowed to do something in my field of experience as a certified public health freak. I have learnt a lot from you and my colleagues during my work here. It’s really nice to learn a lot of new things which would have not been possible without all your support. Learning new things will definitely add to the knowledge and profile. Not only professionally, but our friendly relationship had given immense motivation. I will miss my colleagues in my line department and that includes Donor Country Representative:-a very articulate, quality minded hell of a human being you wont easily find even with the help of the US Seals but most importantly the great times I had with the VOLUNTEERS! That includes long distances to reach out to local communities, holding learning camps with rain on our backs, holding meetings for long hours under trees, conducting community trainings in local settings, all WITH A HUMANITY SMILE!
I have always believed with the famous quote that ‘The wisest man knows something about everything but not everything about something’. I intend to be the latter man. I am leaving on 14th November 2014 with a heavy heart although I am happy to leave for a good reason. I will try to keep in touch always. Do give me a tweet @BrianBilalK1 and my private email address firstname.lastname@example.org as they will remain the same.
Thank You for everything especially the professional guidance and support, national and international exposure that I received during my stay. My new employers (to be announced soon) will be lucky as you prepared me very well!
Ps. I might have stepped on some live wires unintentionally, upon which I apologize. I will always be a proud ambassador and life volunteer of the Uganda Red Cross, and the International Red Cross Movement’s principles, core doctrines and ideals. Hopefully, when we meet again, let’s share the #HINIVUU greeting.
Brian KM Bilal