Thank Go(o)d(ness) It’s Friday!
A war cry that echoes to the heavens after a seemingly brutal five days of work. Uttered loudly by the weary and work-worn and even louder by the idle and disorderly. [Side note: Did you know that many countries and cultures have experiemented with five, six and ten day weeks? And that what you call a "week" now has lived through multiple incarnations over time? True story.]
So it’s Friday! Time to lose yourself, wind down, do something crazy.
Time to parrrtty! And! Forget! Your! Problems! Right?!
The average weekend night in Kampala sees more than half the revellers spending between 50,000/= and 150,000/= ( $20 and $60), which, if you are the afore-mentioned average reveller, puts an average dent of 200,000/= to 600,000/= in your average wallet on an average month. The beautiful thing? You never quite notice it until you’re doing the maths on Saturday morning and wondering where the expletive the 200,000/= you withdrew from the ATM machine went.
You know the drill perfectly well, don’t deny. You put in an insane where’s-my-overtime-money five minutes of extra work, leave the office at 5:05PM and high-five your work-colleagues like the world just handed you another 100 years. You head to the ATM, withdraw 100,000/= for groceries, baby’s diapers and maybe, just maybe one beer. You bump into Fred or Agnes and it goes something like this:
WAAZUP PLAYER! FRIDAY, RIGHT?!
Totally! Hectic week man, need to just CHILL!!
Sooo… whatsup, where are you heading?
Not sure man, but Scovia said she would HOOOLLA! OH, HANG ON. *phone up* JAMES!! Waaaazzzzzuuuuuuupppp. PLOT?! For real? We are SO ON. *phone down* SOOO. There’s this thing at Cayenne!
Niiicee. Right on my way home. But man, two beers and I’m out. Mama baby WHAAAT!
*car or boda* BLUUUUURRRRR.
Roughly 10 hours later, there are suddenly 60,000 people at some house party in Namugongo, and you cannot fathom where the expletive they came from, how you got here, and everything is so damn bright, and everything makes perfect sense and there is this humming noise SMACK IN THE MIDDLE OF YOUR BRAIN and everyone is SO loud and some poor soul is hanging onto your every word like you are GOD! And you ARE GOD!
Noon, the next day and the ATM is informing you unblinkingly that you actually withdrew 250,000/= last night and would you like proof, because, hey, it can print it out for you and no, you cannot get any more money, because yes, my faithful friend, you are dead-broke and in some distant corner of your foggy mind, there is the sound of church mice accepting humbly that there is someone officially lower than them.
So, as I hand you this umbrella and a towel to dry off after raining massively on your TGIF parade, allow me to offer a few humble suggestions.
The world is huge. Mind-bogglingly huge. And yes, it does revolve around you, but no, it doesn’t revolve around you. Your world revolves around you. The real world doesn’t give a sh*t about your existence, and will only pay attention if you are one of those types that just wants to watch it burn. Then it will throw everything it has at you and you will rue the day you were born.
But yes, the world is huge, and there are seven billion people in it. And the people need you, although some, honestly, wish you were dead, but most need you. Some more than others, and others need you a lot more desperately than you can imagine. So I have a challenge for you.
This weekend, just this one weekend, like 1 out of the possible 3,500+ weekends you might live, do something different. Change just one life around you.
Just one life.
Get that 100,000/=ear-marked for this weekend’s party, and give it to someone who desperately needs it. Because, to be honest, you almost always regret wasting money the morning after. Give it to an orphanage, or the lady you live next to who’s always struggling to feed her children. Or the security guard or maid who honestly does really hard work but never quite feels appreciated, or the school kid who is always home because he cannot afford to pay fees.
Or the next time you buy something from someone on the street, give them 20,000/= or more as a bonus for braving the heat of the sun to eke a living or walking tens of kilometers with stools on her back trying to make that one 5,000/= sale that will feed her children for the week.
Or take a minute to talk to someone who you know is in pain, physical, spiritual or emotional, but you have chosen to ignore. Ask them genuinely, how they are, how they are feeling, if there is anything you can do to help.
Or, if you are the spiritual type, take a minute to pray with or for someone.
Or put some fuel in your car and go visit that friend or family member you’ve neglected for so long. Even if it’s a two hour drive, take the time to make it.
Or maybe all these things are petty and beneath your class. Take someone out for a great dinner with no strings attached. Give someone in your life the experience of just being in a place like Speke Resort or the Serena or the Sheraton.
Or simply remember a kindness someone showed you, maybe ages ago, and Pay It Forward.
Lastly, don’t think this is just some holier-than-thou rant from a guy who sits at a desk and pretends to wax philosophical. I know what it’s like to lose weekends and money to things and times and people you barely remember, but I also know what it’s like to change a life, or to see someone’s face light up because you bought an extra bogoya from them and still gave them a 5,000/= bonus.
It took one phone-call to a family friend and a 5km journey on foot to his office to ask for a job. He made another phone-call that changed my life. I got my first S.6 vacation job at an internet cafe, got onto the internet for the first time, and honestly, here I am. One phone-call, one small favour has made me what I am today.
Each day, I try to repay that kindness, and many, many, many, many more I have recieved throughout my life, and yes, sometimes it never works out, sometimes you get in too deep, and sometimes you feel like your help is not appreciated, and sometimes, it leads you into trouble with the people you love. But just do it anyways. And if you can, do it again and again and again and again.
So what do you think? For a few hours this weekend, starting today, thank God It’s Friday, and go change a life.
“What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others.”