By Mike Ssegawa
Dude, I know you do not want to be compared to other people. Agreed. And I don’t like bothering you with stories of be like so and so. However, today, let me tell you about a guy called Amos Wekesa.
This name Wekesa must be from the eastern part of Uganda or western Kenya, isn’t it? Well, that does not matter. What matters now is that you should learn a thing or two from this chap.
Amos Wekesa is synonymous with Uganda’s tourism. I have just met him for the second time in less than a fortnight. And there are thousands of things I have learned from him, so should you.
Dude is full of life.
The one thing I need you to learn right away from him is having great enthusiasm for what you do as a person. The other, is to be simple in your tastes.
Well, I will demonstrate this without being dramatic.
Amos wears this smile, from the time you meet him to the point you go separate ways. He gives his interactions a human touch that you enjoy talking to him and look forward to meeting him again. For some people who pay a leg and an arm looking for a dose of motivation from inspirational speakers, the few minutes you interact with Amos is worth $5,000 and more. Yet, he gives it free of charge.
This is a man who wants to see Uganda becomes the leading tourist destination on the continent, not so much for himself as he will makes millions of dollars, but because he believes Uganda has so much to give the world in terms of nature, history, wildlife, culture, leisure, etc.
This Wekesa man, believes when Uganda strikes tourism oil, fewer people will be jobless as many people across the value chain will have something to trade. This is the message the young Ugandan population needs to hear. So is myself.
The other point was about being of simple tastes. Simplicity does not mean being cheap. Instead, Amos told me that although his company makes a lot of money, that money does not mean he should out there to waste it.
In Kampala, you have seen that young man or woman, who got their first job. He does not want to move in the taxi or move on a boda anymore. That chap takes a loan to buy a car, and moves in a Najjeera apartment to prove to their peers that it is his or her time to enjoy.
Wekesa has a strong message to the younger Mike; you only need to spend a little of what you earn. After all, you do not need all that you desire. Although the tourism man is loaded, he does not hang out in bars, or, live large and rub it in the eyes of the public like some young men and women do. You will find this guy in his checked shirt or t-shirt and jeans, going about his work. He does not mind walking on the streets, or, pick a rolex in Wandegeya as he goes about his work. Yes, Amos has a lot to share with young people of Uganda, if they are to stop calling on “government” to help them with this and that.
Simplicity and enthusiasm aside, Wekesa has a simple message; I have been poor before, and I have been rich. But I never want to be poor again. That is why I wake up to work everyday.
Go and work, Mike. Work with enthusiasm. Purpose. And remain down to earth despite all levels you manage to reach.