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Monday, June 27, 2011

My Journey back to Kigali

It has been now more than a week that I am in Burundi. I am getting used to everything. I am getting used to eat (very) nice food that I did not cook myself (lol), I am getting used to being mistaken by childhood friends who do not recognize me at first (extra pounds I guess), I am getting used to speaking my broken and almost forgotten Swahili (yes, I am multilingual), I am getting used to meeting my friends and laughing so loud, leaving our neighbours wondering what's going on, and I am getting used to having my afternoon nap (what a delight!).

I am also getting used to changing my relationship with time (half an hour meaning two hours lol), and also having my to do list broken by half as everything is slow. Maybe things are not slow here. I was used to the fast North American pace, but sometimes it's good to get things done quickly than wait longer. That's my opinion.

I am now heading to Kigali to meet my family-in-law. I can't wait. What a great family! Please don't think that I am being biased. These folks know how to enjoy life. The last time I was with them, I laughed so much that I could not sleep in the evening.

I am dreaming of a place that could take the positive aspects of both African and North American cultures and merge them into one. What a perfect world it would be! That would be living the American dream with a sense of community (the African way). It would be like driving a huge school bus with a Ferrari engine. Yes, we will certainly get there faster, but will have a great time along the way as a group.

Down here, it is like a big family. Everybody knows everybody. You go to visit your friend, you find him having his lunch and needless to say you are automatically invited (and you know that is my favourite part of our culture). People don't have to call you before they visit. They just show up and you share what you have.

Today, I witnessed something amazing. Two young guys were trying to rob a lady in her car. Too bad for them. Somebody saw them before they were able to escape. Did he call the cops? Not at all. Instead, the entire community came down to chase after the two guys. Simply put: If you try to rob one person be prepared to deal with the community.

Am I missing some North American stuff? I think having faster line ups would help a little lol, and 9 O'clock meaning 9 sharp would help a brother lol. Other than that, I am really having the time of my life, especially when I think that this was a goal of mine at the beginning of this year. It's like living in a dream that I have created myself. Sometimes we tend to forget that we have the power to design the life that we want and go out there and live it. All we have to do is think outside of the box and decide what we really want. The rest is not even up to us. Of course, that's just my opinion.

Moral of the story? Do you want to live a dream life? Just create a school bus with a Ferrari engine and you will eat food that you did not cook yourself.

Always a pleasure
Patrick
The Journeyman
patrick@goalachieverscanada.com

Monday, June 20, 2011

My Journey to Burundi

You knew this one was coming. Some of you were stuck on the computer waiting for this one to come out (at least that is what I say to myself). I made sure I wrote it on Saturday so that I could post it on Monday (the Internet here is that slow). Now I call my home Internet “my school of patience”. But I am loving it!

I landed on Thursday at 1.30 PM local time, after a trip that took me from Toronto to Washington DC; from there I flew to Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally to Burundi. It was a long flight and I had to be at Pearson Airport at 3 AM on Wednesday to catch my first flight. When I finally went to bed on Thursday, I had spent more than 48 hours without sleep ( I think I am Superman, what do you think?).

Some days are more symbolic than others. June 15 was one of them for me. One of the things we do at Goal Achievers (yes, that is a plug for my business), is we ask people to set goals and attach a date to them. June 15 was my date that I had set in January of this year. My goal was to fly to Burundi and spend three months there. Did I know how I would do it? The “How” is rarely in my thoughts. It always shows up when needed.

How things unfolded is really like a movie. Somewhere in the middle of April, Phil Taylor, the founder of Goal Achievers International asked me to take over the Canadian division of his company. You know what was the result. I said yes, but it took some, I would say, serious investment in terms of cash. Next thing you knew, it was time for me to send some money back home (yes, weddings cost a little). Three days after, my friend and mentor that I call JG agreed to be my business partner (after me begging him lol). That too took some more monetary investment (don't ever think I am Bill Gates lol)

I also found out that JG's wife is a flight concierge. He said "She can take care of your flight to Burundi” and I in return said "Sure! Bring it on". Did I think about my bank account at that moment? Well, just a little (if you know what I mean). Kerri is super amazing! In her concierge business she aims to take care of you every step of the way and that is truly what she did for me. She found me a deal that I could not let go. She is just a genius. However, I had 24 hours to pay for the flight otherwise I would have lost it. I said to her: No worries, it will be paid on time. Did I know how? Well the "How" is rarely, ...I guess you know it by now.

Long story short, the ticket was paid...5 minutes before the deadline, and guess what? Are you ready? Do you want me to wait and tell you the story in my next blog? I guess this would be a great time to go for a commercial break....if my blog was a TV show. But it is not, so I will tell you the story for free. This is what happened: The ticket was given to me as a gift. Yes, you got it right. I did not pay for it. Somebody did. The gift was given to me, check this out: 5 minutes before the deadline. How about that? Did I tell you that that the “How” is rarely..., now you know it by heart

Those of you who are planning to fly somewhere, please check out Kerri's company at: www.kerriholley.com. She is the real deal and she is way more than just a travel agent. Trust me when i say she will take care of you every step of the way.

This was just one story among many that I can tell you. June 15 was really a symbolic day for me. Stay tune for many stories to come.

Moral of the story? Do you want to achieve any goal you have? Just set the date and you will get stuff for free

Always a pleasure
Patrick
The Journeyman
patrick@goalachieverscanada.com

P.S. Get my $295 - 8 Lesson Goal Achieving Audio Program for FREE
(limited time, limited quantity)"
http://goalachieverscanada.com/free-8-lesson-audio-program/

Monday, June 13, 2011

My Journey to an emotional week

What a great way to finish the week as I am watching the Dallas Mavericks win a well deserved NBA championship. I guess they knew I was about to leave North America, and they did not want me to miss game seven.

I had a very emotional week at many levels. It was my last week at my job as I am transitioning into being in business for myself full time, and I am about to go back home to spend three months with my family and live the married life. What a dream come true!

It's a new beginning for me, but things have not been that easy as I have been struggling for years to finally live my dream. I had to overcome a number of obstacles, but there is a lot to celebrate (boy I had so many things to change on me!). What a journey!

I remember telling a friend of mine in 2002, freshly new to Canada, that I will be a millionaire in three years. I am glad she did not ask me about it in 2005 (when I couldn't even pay attention lol). Was I naive? Maybe. But I am glad I did not give up on my dream. As I look back now, I wanted to succeed, yes, but it was for wrong reasons. I was driven by self-promoting ambitions to prove to the whole world that I was the man, that I could do anything.

Here I am, nine years later! Am I a millionaire yet? Not at all. But my mindset is different. I want to succeed by helping others. I had to go through a lot of painful pruning to become who I am today. Now, I understand that it is all about the journey not the destination. The hard times were for me to get rid of what was preventing me from succeeding. I had to learn to be patient, to get rid of my anger, to stop trying to look good, and accept to be myself no matter what.

It was humbling to hear what my boss had to say about me at my farewell party at work. I thought she was talking about Oprah. The gifts I received from my co-workers, the financial contribution I received from my community and friends, and the words of encouragement from my business partners were just unbelievable. It has been a while since I had cried this much. I really did not know what I meant to people around me. It is really humbling. I kept asking myself: what did I really do to deserve all this? I can tentatively say that, maybe it is my decision to be a servant of God and help my fellow citizens of the world.

The focus is not on me anymore. I have learned so much in my nine years in Canada that I think it's time for me to share it with the world. I remember reading and finishing five books in a week, listening to 33 Cds in 3 days, going to sleep at 3 AM night after night while studying the Bible, getting home at 1 AM every night, traveling every three months to go to conferences and seminars to learn from successful people, spending days without eating as all my money was going into my education. You know what? If I could do it all over again, I would not hesitate a second. The peace of mind I have now is worth the whole world. I think I have invested in my biggest commodity: Me

I came a long way, but what lies ahead of me is something amazing. I just feel it. My biggest celebration now is to go home and see my mom living her dream as her two sons are getting married at the same time. She is a hero of mine. She went through a lot as a single mom raising three boys, one of them being a brilliant, intelligent and yet modest blog writer (why are you laughing?).

I am staring a series of FREE lessons that I will be posting on my website. The first eight lessons are already available. You can check them by clicking here: http://goalachieverscanada.com/free-8-lesson-audio-program/

I am so excited to be posting my blogs in the next few months from the sunny and beautiful Burundi in a very good company (if you know what I mean).

Moral of the story? Do you want to enjoy a trip to Africa? Just keep reading my blog and I will update you on my adventures

Always a pleasure

Patrick
The Journeyman
patrick@goalchieverscanada.com

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

My Journey to San Diego

I did not go to San Diego (I wish I did), but every time I speak with Jeanine or Lara, I feel I am in San Diego. Hey, Jeanine, now you cannot brag about the beautiful Californian weather anymore. It's nice in Toronto as well.

Jeanine lives in San Diego and Lara is her friend. Lara, I hope we will get a chance to return to Ngoma before you head South of the border.

Have you heard of BFI (Burundi Friends International)? If you are a true follower of my blog, you would certainly remember my last trip to Montreal where I met Jeanine after decades without seeing her. That day she shared with me BFI's mission which is to help fight poverty in Burundi by providing education, healthcare and self-sustaining enterprise opportunities on a village-by-village basis.

Quick question for you: who wouldn't want to be part of this? Especially when you were born in Burundi (by the way; can't wait to be there in a few days), or if you are a person who loves to give a hand.

After my first meeting with Jeanine, we kept in touch regularly and I was made aware of the various activities they were doing in Burundi. I tried to help as much as possible. A few months later, I received a call from a woman named Lara who introduced herself as Jeanine's friend. I could hear the excitement in her voice. Do you know why she was excited? Well, she had just returned from her first trip to Burundi and with that she told me: “Oprah needs to go to Burundi. This place is so beautiful!Oprah could spend a year meeting and interviewing one Amazing and Inspirational "hero" after another.. Plus, yes, the place is magically beautiful!” Of course I couldn't agree more. However, while we wait for Oprah's visit, another superstar will be there shortly: Me. Lol.

A little while after, a funny thing happened. Lara told me that she was attending an African fashion show in Toronto and mentioned that maybe we could meet there. Well, guess what? I was the MC of the event (do you remember my meeting with Pathe'O?). Since then, Lara and I have become good friends.

Let me be the first to tell you, if you didn't already know, that there is something truly special happening at BFI. They seem to attract the right people at the right time (this time I am not talking about me). Things are rolling down in San Diego. Can you believe that a BFI supporter donated a 40 feet container to be shipped to Burundi? All they have to do is fill it with medical supplies for clinics and hospitals; and books and clothes for orphanages. How about that! That's not all; money has been raised to pay for the shipment to Burundi. Is that cool or what!

Sometimes opportunities may come with new challenges. Now BFI's challenge is to find people who are interested in helping others by donating the things they need to fill the container. Would you join me in helping them? It could be ideas, contacts or even a word of encouragement. These people have their hearts in the right place. What a commitment! They have trusted me and made me part of the BFI family and now I would like to invite all of you my Journeyman followers into my new family! In fact, consider yourself already part of the new family for just taking the time to read this blog. You can get more information on this great organization by checking out www.bufri.org. You can also see this video of one of BFI partners.Simply amazing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q65OJrXqG10

Moral of the story? Do you want to take a trip to San Diego without flying in an aeroplane? Just talk to BFI people and they will get you there. You may be on your way to Burundi.


Always a pleasure

Patrick

The Journeyman

patrick@goalachieverscanada.com