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  • Writer's pictureChrista Preston


Leading a Life of Value: a story from a Special Education Teacher in Uganda

Three years ago, on a one early Monday chilly morning, I was on my way for lectures, when a bird quite huge flew in the sky carrying a fresh twig on it’s mouth. This prompted me to stare at it as it went and eventually faded away in the far distance like an echo of a thunder. Obviously, not everyone would waste precious time in the world on a mere bird yet there are better things to think of and work upon. However, watching this bird to me, was beyond what anybody else would see.’’Different men often see the same subject in different lights,” said Patrick Henry.

In life, there are certain events we encounter and tend to dump them at first sight in the trash without thinking first or second about how they impact us. Every moment, be it of sorrow, joy or both is a learning opportunity, source of inspiration, a starting line for sought dreams and above all a profound component upon which the existence of mankind revolves. Virginia Woolf wrote, ‘’The beauty of the world has two edges, one of laughter, one of anguish, cutting the heart asunder.’’

Bear me witness, in the mind of the bird this twig was a building material, and in the mind of the twig, I assume, it was meant for that purpose in this particular context.

I relate the twig to people like Kate Condon, Christa Preston, Martin Luther King Junior, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, Che Guevara, Phillip Sydney, Bob Marley, Lucky Dube, Tracy Chapman, Jesus and many more who place the necessity of other people above their necessity, and who with great humility live simply so others may simply live! For the bird, it’s associated with the vulnerable, marginalized, degraded and the oppressed.

The presence of the twig with it’s freshness gave hope and determination to the bird to fly tirelessly to it’s destination. But what we should not forget is that this twig was a representative of other twigs the bird had already collected or was yet to gather, and this implies that offering a shoulder for one to lean on is a collective responsibility. The bird’s size is an indication of the categories of problems each individual faces, and early cold morning means that every minute, hour, day, night, season, etc, somebody is thirsting for redemption.

At the time this happened, I was in Kampala at Kyambogo University, but even where I live currently I still see this species or birds in general, and this tells my conscience that in every corner of the universe, people crave for survival, revival and support. I could not figure out clearly the nature of both the bird and the twig since they were a little bit high in flight and it brings out the idea that no matter what religion, color, tribe, disability, origin, etc. we all need to help or be helped.

The height at which the bird was flying with the twig from the ground is the unknown secret which systematizers (people who are more interested in things than people) don’t understand when one commits him/herself to be there for another person. The height above the bird and the twig are the uncertainties which we can’t handle as human beings due to our limitations and which only God Creator of heaven and earth can!

The best thing is being of value to be lifted up like the twig, than being lifted up because one is of success. I am not blindly opposed to success, am opposed to blind success. Each generation has it’s own people elevated, but what makes the difference are the various ideologies each person embraces. Ideologies that are either value based or success based.

‘’Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value,’’ stated Albert Einstein.

Mpuya Josha

Special Education Teacher for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders


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