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Monday, July 25, 2011

My Journey to a great event

It's been more than a month that I am here in Burundi (away from North American paparazzi lol). So far, I have not had time yet to see all my friends , but I am having a great time. I have been to the airport twice and it was nice to see some fellow Torontonians coming down here.

My time has been mainly devoted to my upcoming wedding (we are only two weeks away, stay tune to a TV channel near you), but I have been involved in some other stuff as well. I am part of an organization called Heart of Africa Alliance based here in Burundi, and for the last two years, they have been doing some cool things. Heart of Africa Alliance is an organization that was founded by journalists and former journalists who are still working in the communication field, and its main purpose is to promote excellence by giving awards to people who have been working more than others in different fields. Last year was about rewarding those who have been involved in the children rights, and this year it will be about the environment.

Last year's event was so great but I did not get a chance to be there (I only sent a video). But this year, not only will I be there, but I will also get the opportunity to see my friends Kijanya and Nicolas from Toronto perform at the event (after so many years away from Burundi). We have a few other high profile guests (other than me of course), and the big announcement is a few hours away.

As the event is a few days away, we have been running all over the place talking to different businesses and organizations asking them for sponsors. I was amazed by people's generosity. Everybody wants to be part of it (who wouldn't? The fact that I am part of it is enough to bring sponsors, and I am saying this with my legendary modesty lol). Just kidding.

At some occasions when we meet business owners, I get a chance to tell them what I do, and I can see that in a near future I will be working with some of them. It is great to see young entrepreneurs taking big steps and making things happen. How pleasant it was to see one of my former students running a great organization helping others to achieve their dreams! I was like, either he was a brilliant student, or his teacher was brilliant . After a few thoughts, I am saying that he was a brilliant student. He made me so proud.

There are so many great things happening here, but it is sad to say that we do not have enough opportunities to hear about them. I purposefully do not listen to the news (that so often are saying that the sky is falling down on us), and have decided to focus on the good things that I see. And you know what? There are plenty of them. This is another proof to the saying that goes like “energy flows where attention goes”. If our focus is on the good things, guess what? We will see more good things and more good things will come to us. This is the Journeyman wisdom and it is free of charge.

Moral of the story? Do you want to see more good things coming to you, just keep reading my blogs and you will be invited to a great event

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, July 18, 2011

My Journey to the Mountains

What an adventure I had last Sunday! In my quest to be back in shape (I really need it lol), I accepted an invitation for a hike. It's a club that has been doing it every Sunday for thirty two years now. I grew up seeing them every Sunday walking the streets of Bujumbura but I had never been part of any of their activities.The club name is "Les Amis de la Montagne" (Friends of the Mountain)

I thought it would be a piece of cake. Come on, I have been a Basketball champion (at least as a coach lol), I have climbed the CN Tour four times,so walking should be easy. What an illusion!

What I did not know was that, whenever I saw them walking, it was just a forty minutes warm up. After the walk, they go for a hike in the mountains, and that, my friends is something. I learned my lesson. For about half an hour, we were just walking, and I was chatting with longtime friends of the family who are part of the club, and they were explaining to me how things work in the club. I was very much impressed.

They told me that, after a while, there would be separate groups who will take different routes according to the degree of difficulty of the hike. I thought to myself:I will certainly be in the elite group.Remember, I have been a Basketball know the story. Then we got to the hills; the leaders showed us the way for the different routes. A and B (the tough ones) would go this way, and the C would go that way. I was definitely an A.

Off we went, A and B together. After about ten minutes of walking, I was sweating like crazy, almost lost my breath. Then something happened. We stopped. I was like, it was high time we stopped. The leader then said: Group A you go this way, and group B you go that way. This time, there was no way I would go with A. No way

Group B took off. Man, it was crazy. By the time we got to the top of a mountain, there was another one to climb. And I was like, what in the world did I get myself into? I wanted to call my wife, my mom, God...., anyone who could help. Needless to say that I was the last one in the group. And all the time I was thankful that I did not go with group A. I would have been dead by this time.

At first, the group members wanted to wait for me, but I told them to keep going because I didn't want them to loose their momentum. I was hopeless. I was stopping every two minutes. I started asking for directions from the people who live there. I was asking them if they saw any men and women with white T-Shirts (that is the club uniforms). They gladly showed me the way, but after a while, there was no way I could get to them. I was done.

Then, a young boy offered to help and show me my way back by taking a shortcut to the main street. I thought it was a shortcut. We walked for half an hour before getting to the street. I was so exhausted man. By the time I got to the main street, I met a club member who took the shortcut as well. He had a meeting to go to, that is why he did not go all the way. I asked him where were all the others and he told me that they were still climbing. I was like, are you serious???!!! These people are machines

I will be honest and tell you that, for years, I thought this club was for old people who could not practice any other sport. How wrong was I! I have never been in any basketball drill that was this hard (maybe it's my age as well). Compared to this hike, climbing the CN Tour is a piece of cake. And these people have been doing it for over thirty years!!!!! That is impressive

How often do we judge people at the first sight without trying to get to know them? So often, we are quick to judge and have an opinion on everything without even trying to understand that person (at least that is my case). After last Sunday, I had a whole other view of the club. It was respect. I had also a great respect for the people who live in those mountains and who, day after day, come down to the city to make a little bit of money and return home, sometimes with nothing for which to show. They are at the heart of our economy (the food we eat comes from there). I learned my lesson

Moral of the story? Do you want to learn your life lesson? Just put on a white T-Shirt and go for a hike in the mountains and you will take a shortcut

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, July 11, 2011

My Journey to a cool week

After a few days in Rwanda, I returned to Burundi with no other plans to travel. I have to prepare for the main event in August (remember to watch CNN that day). However, that alone cannot take all my time. I still have time to relax, visit friends, do some Goal Achievers Work, play some Basketball and run in the morning up the hills surrounding the city. I have also had the privilege to meet some government officials and top business owners so that I could have an idea of what's going on in the business world down here. I visited my former high school, my former place of work, and Le Maquis, my favourite restaurant. What a blast! Their chicken is still the best after so many years (or was I just hungry?)

Just two days ago, I decided to stay home all day, no computer, no work, no TV. It was awesome! All I did was read my book, listen to some audios and rest. I cannot remember a day where that was all I did.

My friend Jeff came over from Rwanda last week-end and spent three days with us. I grew up with Jeff in Ngagara, one of the nicest places here in the capital city. We decided to go back there and visit. It was an awesome experience. I could remember all the houses, friends who use to live there, some of them are still there. It was like returning to my roots. All the people I met brought back great memories from my childhood.

As I was reading my book, suddenly an idea came to me. I called up my wife who was watching her favourite movie (I think she should be an actress. She watches so many movies). She thought it was something serious I wanted to ask her. I then asked: “Can you tell me ten things for which you are thankful? (I thought I would be the top one lol)”. She looked at me and said: “these books that you're reading are driving you crazy. Why are you asking me this?” But she saw that it was a serious question. And my charms were enough to make her respond to the question (at least that is what I tell myself).

We started counting our blessings. At first, I didn't know I could find ten things for which I was thankful. But as we kept counting, we couldn't stop. It's funny how we never stop and think about these things; and there are plenty of them. Once we start to focus on the good things, we begin to realize how we are just blessed to be alive and surrounded by our loved ones. I heard someone say that energy flows where attention goes. Why not focus all our attention and energy on the good things that are happening in our lives all the time? That would be a cool thing, don't you think? You know what? When we do so, our so called problems seem to disappear all of a sudden. Let's just make it a habit to count our blessings on a daily basis, and our lives will never be the same. That is the Journeyman prediction's.

Moral of the story? Do you want to have a problem free life? Just count your blessings and you will read cool books.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman

Monday, July 4, 2011

My Journey back from Rwanda

It's Monday morning, I know you will read this blog a week after I had written it, but I couldn't wait to write this one, as I know you couldn't wait to read it. This reminds me of a story of a guy who was writing a letter so slowly that it started to bother his friend who was with him. When asked why he was writing that slowly, he simply said: it's because my friend, who will be reading this letter, is a slow reader. Go figure!

I was in Kigali for both to see my in-laws and for the traditional engagement party before the William and Kate like wedding day on August 6. You are all invited, but if you cannot make it, just watch it live on CNN.

The party was simply amazing. I was in a traditional outfit that made me look like Eddy Murphy in Coming to America. I was the Prince of Zamunda. It was a learning process for me as Rwandan tradition is a little bit different from ours in terms of the engagement party process. They even had to find somebody from Rwanda who would represent our family to deliver the speech (we did not want to mess things up, otherwise I would go home without my bride). What a good surprise when I met our representative. It turned out that he is the father of a longtime friend of mine and classmate! It is really a small world.

I arrived in Kigali on Thursday, before my family and friends who were coming the next day from Burundi. I had to meet Jeff my Best Man, and go with him to visit my in-laws where we watched a DVD of a previous engagement party (not mine of course lol), so that I could have an idea of what would happen in mine. After watching it, I had a broad picture of the process.

Now that being said, the day of the party, I couldn't remember everything. It took somebody like Jeff, who is familiar with the complete process, to guide me every step of the way. Even my bride was whispering some stuff in my ear (which I didn't mind lol) just to let me know what was coming up next. In the end, it all worked out fine and the party and after party was great. And just in case you were wondering about the after party.....well yes, I entertained the guest with some of my moves to a great selection of music.

I am trying to figure out why I am telling you all this.

Oh, it just came to me! You are all lucky that I did not lose my inspiration. Maybe it's the nice smell coming from the kitchen. It looks like I will be having a great lunch (there is no way I could cook this good)

Back to my story. For me, the whole thing looked like achieving any goal. We need to see the broad picture of what we want to achieve (me watching the DVD before my party), but most importantly, we need to have mentors who know the process and who can guide us in achieving our goal (Jeff, my Best Man was my mentor). We may stumble in the process, but if we trust our mentors and keep the big picture in mind, all will work out fine at the end.

My challenge to you is, if you have any goal in mind, or if you are working on something that you have no idea as to how you will achieve it, how about finding a good mentor who has the experience of already being there and who knows what to do? That would make the process easier for you, and maybe cut in half the time it takes for you to achieve your goal.

Moral of the story? Do you want to find a good mentor? Just have your traditional engagement party and you will look like the Prince of Zamunda.

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman