The Kampala sun is a different one. It has a way of being bold without clearly showing. It is like a boss who says no to you politely. They do not necessarily convince you that it is a no. You have this window of hope that they might change their mind. They don’t. That is the Kampala sun for you.
It has a tendency of showing up in the middle of the day when everyone is out into the world. That moment when even the people who worked on the nightshift have slept and are now awake. It catches you unawares as you run from one meeting to another trying to make things happen making.
Should it find you outdoors, it deals with you the best way it knows how. First, its rays, sharp and thin like pins, pierce through the blackness of your skin disregarding the material of the cloth you are wearing. They just dig through causing a confusion to the body lotion rendering it useless. But this is a silent battle. You do not see or hear of it, all you feel are stray beads of perspiration meandering all over the body unguided. Then you are too busy with the boda boda honking that you do not notice. All that there is on your mind is getting to your destination whole.
I found myself in this banter with this Kampala sun on my way to my next meeting. I was going to meet Ann. Ann K Muhangi.
Thank God for the atmosphere of Bambara Lounge, our meeting point, for the kindness of their air conditioned space. I left my past behind me the moment I entered and settled for the conversation with my guest.
However distracted you might be, one sure thing is you cannot miss to notice Ann make her entrance. Ann is tall. She walks with a bold confidence bouncing off with each step she makes. With a black Gucci handbag swinging gracefully on her right hand and the laptop bag on the left, she calls me out. “Hello, Kangye, good to see you!” she beams with a smile on her face. Well the entire space is without people, we choose to sit in a corner.
I am supposed to be the one asking questions but on the contrary, she takes the lead asking me how I am fairing. I rarely get asked so it is a good feeling.
This is the kind of person Ann is. A person who deals in the business of helping other people make informed decisions of their lives. Every other day she wakes up ready to impact a life. Her daily life, she tells me, is about meeting people. Talking to people as individuals. “It’s always a different experience meeting people in person. There’s a lot you learn,” she says looking at me with a sharp eye before continuing, “that helps you to stop and reflect on your own life.”
It has been six years of running Wholesome Consult, a company she founded to help corporates live a fuller life. This work entails speaking to a different organisation every other week. In addition, she also meets people in smaller groups or as individuals to hear them out and help guide their decision making process.
It is this very work that challenged her to go into schools to influence the minds of the young ones and the decisions they were making in life. “If we are saying, the children are the future, then we must be able to help them grow holistically. They should be confident to face world once they are out of school.”
The idea of working with students came to her after realising that adults usually find It hard to change habits especially their lifestyle and financial habits. The children in school are yet to start on their journeys. Through Wholesome, Ann has launched the Snipers Club which she is running in a number of schools to teach the children on financial literacy. She also runs the Wonder and Alpha Clubs where girls and boys respectively get to learn about life skills.
“Has it always been like this?” I ask.
“No. There is a story to it.”
For more than half a year, Ann was sick. She could not go to work. The world around her changed. Things did not go according to plan. An examination at Nairobi Hospital revealed there was no particular illness affecting her. Her body was just tired. It was asking for a break. Between unmet expectations from the world she thought she was living in and the reality that was manifesting, she learnt that she had prioritised on the wrong things. Her focus had been about work and growing up the career ladder. What she forgot was minding her life.
She made a decision to redirect her life on living the reality. And the reality, she found, was about choosing to live and be happy. She realised she had been existing and chasing after things.
Upon resuming work, she could not fit in anymore. Her priorities in life had changed. Hers had been a house of cards and she had seen it come crumbing down. Most of the people around her were living a similar life and she opted out. Someone had to come in and help others. She offered.
It was not easy transitioning. “No sane person leaves a high paying job to do ‘nothing’. Some people thought I had run mad. To me, I had started questioning my purpose in life.”
“I purposed to help people living life the way I was before to damp it and do what made them happy. I was eager to see people decide on how they wanted to live not what society dictated. I have seen a difference.”
Every day Ann wakes up with a mission to help people live the real life full of happiness and laughter.