It happens or rather it is meant to happen. Before I was that girl, the one that would just go to town and window shop and take walks through Makerere University wondering whether its walls or the grass or the people I passed by would recognize that I was about to graduate from these walls.
I was a proud alumnus and could use any excuse to bow down to the very buildings that housed my genius for three years. I loved to laugh at people who had failed and mocked their effort like it wouldn’t match my own.
I laughed at life and mocked the problems that affected others. There were decisions I made for myself that I regretted but there were those that were made for me that to this day I still regret. Like taking this picture while holding these plastic flowers (covers face with left hand and shakes head).
But after graduation everything changed or rather I changed, I became the girl who woke up every morning telling herself, Sarah, you’ve got this…this is the day you supersede yourself…today you are going to change the world…you’re going to determine your future…you’re going to rewrite history.
Suddenly I felt smarter than anybody who ever lived including Jesus. Every morning on my way to work, I would either be bickering with the taxi conduct or the Boda Boda rider on how badly they were handling their jobs? If I happened to pay my taxi fare and the Conductor or Boda Boda guy said he had no change, I would give him a pep talk on his job description.
It always went like this; “now look here your job as a taxi Conductor is to open the door, usher in clients and look for change…you should always have change. For you to tell a client you have no change shows you are incompetent”. Some Conductors were kind and listened to my advice while others abused me and drove away. But that didn’t deter me; I was out to change the world and taking initiative felt like the next best thing to possible.
I was that and also doubling as the littering Police, I would always ask people to pick up their rubbish, if I happened to see them littering. If they refused I would pick it up and put it in my bag until I reached the next garbage disposal.
I walked the environmental management talk. In fact Bob Nakileze, our department head would have crowned me Miss Environment if he had seen what I was doing in terms of preserving the environment.
I stayed away from sodas as much as possible and would want to crush anyone I saw buying stuff from roadside vendors because of the health implications it would cause if ingested.
I would smell causes and dangers of head poisoning miles away. I always accused my mother of polluting the air because she insisted on using mosquito repellants. I read the content lists of products before buying them or even eating them. I used litmus paper to test the bottled water PH before I took it, something most people found bizarre. I was that drastic.
I wanted to live the environmental way even if I wasn’t practicing it. Unfortunately it’s only been five years and I have quickly turned into a tired warrior. I have taken more soda’s than I thought I would ever take (forgive me Mr Basalirwa I still do remember your lectures on carbon dioxide and industrial additives. I never intended to). I have found myself supporting the same things that I vowed not to.
I have bought tomatoes, oranges, mangoes and a couple of things from roadside vendors well knowing the implications of their exposure to petro fuels and the different types of cancers I would get from ingesting such foods.
I have harbored the desire to own a car and I have caught myself many a times throwing that plastic bottle or polyethene bag on the street a couple of times. I have supported swamp reclamation and deforestation in favour of modernization.
I stopped reading product labels and contents because I view it as a waste of time and as for environmental law…gosh I feel like a big loser. The environment lost the best lawyer it could use all for the love of writing.
I am far too gone and the more the years pile up the more I lose my environmental ways to a more liberal way of thinking. If the Boda Boda men and Taxi Conductors and the people I made pick their rubbish find me now, they would be shocked to see the very woman that preached ethics and preservation abusing the same ethos she stood by.
If I could go back in time now, I would tell myself, ‘Sarah, preserving the environment isn’t all about protecting it but cleaning it up so you can live in a clean and healthy space’, may be then I would not have given up.
Have you noticed any changes since you graduated? If so, share with me in the comments below.