Monday, April 18, 2011

Did I Miss the Announcement?

Ode to Leroy Jethro Gibbs, leading character of my favorite T.V. show NCIS for the title of this post :)

There are certain times I like to sit down and ponder things that are going on around me in this day and age, and there are some things that I observe that when I think about them, I ask myself the question, "Did I miss the announcement?" I mean, since when is being a jerk considered the "new cool"? I have observed so many of my fellow males act like complete jerks towards other people, especially those of the opposite gender, and their friends giving them pats on the back and high-fiving them like it's no man's business. What? You think it's cool or something? Some say chivalry is dead, (I don't believe it is) but even so, what happened to acting civilized in front of other people? Whenever I think about acting like a jerk towards somebody, the image of my mama comes to mind and I remember her words. The prospect of her popping out of nowhere with a wooden stick scares the hell out of me too! lol And so when I observe my fellow young men (and sometimes boys) acting like jerks like it's the coolest thing on the block, I ask myself, "Did I miss the announcement?"

I'm in the cafeteria of our student center during Sunday brunch one afternoon and I am in front of these two male students and I happen to eavesdrop on their conversation (I mean, would I be too far from the truth in assuming we've all done it at some point in our lives?). Anyways, these two guys are in to it debating over a particular topic. I couldn't help laugh a little, but also feel really sad at the conversation I was eavesdropping on. These two guys were busy debating whether or not "Jewish" was a religion. I mean, last I checked, Jewish (or Jewish people) are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating with the Israelites or Hebrews. Judaism is the traditional faith of the nation. On so many other occasions, I have been left speechless and dumbfounded at the level of ignorance exhibited by some of my peers. "Do you speak African?" "Do you ride elephants to school back home?" "Do you know such and such a person? He's from Africa?" And a personal favorite, "You are from Africa right? Did you leave a wife and children to come to school in America?" Please note this is not intended to be a pun on my brothers and sisters that I have had the privilege of getting to know during my time in the States, but sometimes things like that boggle my mind. If we are going to continue to brag that our generation is so much advanced technologically, which makes access to information so much easier, shouldn't we take time to read up and become knowledgeable on some of these issues? We can no longer condone mediocrity and ignorance, not in this day and age. But when I encounter such mediocrity and ignorance, and some people being okay with it, I ask myself, "Did I miss the announcement?"

On occasion, I like to go online and read up on the current affairs in my home country reported by the major newspapers. I came across an article in The Post Newspaper, the country's leading news reporter, about drinking. The article had the following title, "You are not drunk until you are belegede (basically passed out or...worse)." While the article in of itself was in no way advocating drunkenness, it highlighted the drinking situation at home. Basically, it has become the norm that on weekend's, most Zambians (particularly the youth) indulge the bottle and feel there is no point of drinking unless you are belegede. Such is the moral decay of our society that this article made me sick to my stomach. Since when is getting drunk on the weekend a social norm? And since when is being belegede the acceptable standard for drinking? "Did I miss the announcement?"

Recently, due to technological innovation and advancement, I have been able to reconnect with some of my friends from back home through Facebook--friends that I went to high school with. Now, this is in not intended to question the moral character of my friends. One thing that I have seen as a trend is that when most of my friends post pictures on Facebook, it's pictures of their kids. Now, I graduated from high school in 2005, quite some time has elapsed and things do happen, people change, blah blah blah. So sometimes I imagine myself, at 23 here in a couple of weeks, having one, two, maybe three kids, and of course, it's just my imagination running wild. There are times I feel like I'm being left behind you know, know that feeling? But then again, this is not a race or about who has the most kids by a certain point. But I wonder sometimes, when I sit down and ponder such things, I find myself asking the question, "Did I miss the announcement?"

Thursday, April 7, 2011

And so the countdown begins...

Yes, I would be one to start a countdown a month away from such an important milestone in my life, but you know what? I am totally okay with that. I know of some people that start a countdown a year from the actual date, and I am okay with that. Some start it six months before, three months before, a week before, a day before, or, if you really want to be really picky, hours, minutes, or even seconds before and guess what? I am okay with that too! :)

I mentioned it's an important milestone in my life, well, it's actually two important milestones in my life, as to which is more important, well, I'll save that for another time. The first and closer (by about 48 hours), yes, I am counting the hours, is my 23rd birthday (May 5th). In the summer of 2008 when I went back home, I had a wonderful opportunity to speak during a church service at my home church in Lusaka, Zambia. I shared about how God has blessings in store for us, but we sometimes fail to claim them. I used an example of having a certain amount of blessings in store each day, and all you have to do is claim them. Feeling the need to explain this point further, I used the number 23, joking that I chose that number because I would be 23 when I graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in Business Management. It was a prophesy to some degreel. What if you had 23 blessings (I am not in any way trying to limit the number of blessings for you because in fact, they are countless) just waiting for you each day you woke up, and all you had to do was say, "Lord, I am claiming my blessings for today?" Anyways, 23 has become somewhat of a significant number for me, for some reason or another, and I find myself waiting eagerly and in great anticipation of my 23rd birthday.

The second milestone is my graduation, which as of today, is exactly only a month away. Scary yet exciting! This is a major achievement for me, not only graduating, but the realization of a childhood dream to one day study abroad. God answered my prayers in a huge way but opening doors to AU for me, and on May 7th, walking up that aisle onto the platform and receiving my diploma is a way of saying, "I did it" and more importantly, "God did it for me!"

And so, with that said, the countdown begins: 28 days till my 23rd birthday, and 30 days till Graduation/ Commencement!


Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A bittersweet feeling...

This past weekend, the International Student Association (ISA) at Anderson University (AU) hosted the International Dinner: Recognition Dinner- a semi-annual event that seeks to fulfill the ISA mission of sharing culture with the AU and Anderson communities. For those that know my story, it should not come as a surprise when i say I have been involved in the ISA all four years of my time here at AU, serving as Vice President in my Sophomore year of college and as President in my Junior and Senior years. Nonetheless, April 2nd, 2011, the date of the event this semester, marked the 8th time in a row that I have attended the International Dinner at AU, and sad to say, my last as an undergraduate student and as President.

The very first time I stepped on the AU campus, I was met by students that were in the ISA and who served on the ISA Council. These particular students went to great lengths to make sure that, as an incoming international student, my transition to life in a new environment was a smooth one. Their presence was a major factor in my acculturation process. This was the birth of a passion in me-a passion and desire to give back to this organization. And so, leading up to my Sophomore year, I was encouraged and expressed interest in serving on the ISA Council, for me, a chance to give back. in a rather unprecedented turn of events, I found myself taking on the role of Vice President. I made a commitment to myself, a commitment to help other incoming students adjust to their new life and environment, a commitment to do all I could to ensure the transition process was smooth. This became my driving force in my years of service, and it has been an incredibly wonderful journey. And like most journeys, it has had its ups and downs, the low points when all I wanted to do was call it quits, but the force (not to confuse this with "the force") kept me going in those rough times.

It's kinda crazy as we near the end of this semester, and for me, as is the case for most seniors at AU, the end of our Undergraduate journey, to look back to how far we've come, and as sad it may be, that we have made it. We also look to the future with anticipation, excited to discover what lies ahead in the next phase of this journey we call life. As I look back, I cannot help but express my heartfelt thanks and appreciate to all who have played such an important role in my journey. You have helped enrich my experience, and your support and encouragement these past few years has meant so much to me. From the bottom of my heart, zikomo kwambiri.

Finally, as the days trickle by and May 7th draws closer and closer, as sad as it is that these are my final days at AU, I am so excited to see what God has in store for me. The following words bring so much comfort and so much hope for me: "I may not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds my tomorrow."

Stay blessed.