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The Journey to Presidency – Parting Shot

In a year I have seen a reflection of myself being built from a typical Rotaractor who is only fun filled with no responsibilities to become a responsible young leader.

The road to presidency was one that was filled with many challenges and experiences that have made me who I am this day. In 2007-2008 RYLA a very naive Michael become best Rotaractor, this helped shape my future in seeing myself in a different perspective.

I often ask myself if I didnt win that award would I really have become president of RCNC? Would I have had the same kind of fire I have now? Is this the same thing with other Rotaractors who still see themselves unable to lead until recognition is given?

The year 2010-2011 was received with great anticipation having been given a slot at a Rotary meeting to be guest speaker. This was at our sponsor club meeting, The Rotary Nairobi at Nairobi Club.
That set the platform and the bar of how high the club had expectation of me to lead in the club and my work was clearly mapped out. About 25 Rotaractors came to the talk and was greatly honored by their presence. This made it clear that they believed in me and I was not going to fail them.

The club having suffered seriously interms of membership retention it was upon my board and I to work on the key strategies that would assist us get to where we were years ago. In the previous year I took my time to prepare my plans and create partnerships with corporates, friends and Rotarians in and outside the country as well as world over.

There are times when a leader has to make sacrifices and I believe for a whole year I put my studies on hold to serve diligently to the letter. Nothing is achieved without a sacrifice. The results of the work we have done were received during this years District conference, we received an award for runners up for best community service project. We also got to be mentioned in Standard newspaper by the Habitat for Humanity director as co-sponsors and we also made it to Nation TV for a live recording of the Buy a Brick Build a house campaign. We did make it to the Mau too and helped in its preservation, same as Ngong hills with KQ team, KENVO Kijabe tree planting where we did 2300 trees and so many more. Am really humbled to have received all this help from all of you. THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

Am grateful to God for giving me the strength to lead in the Mai Mahiu project and bringing in other Rotaract clubs on board to join hands. We had at least 2 main visits where we went with a large number of Rotaractors to build houses for the Internally Displaced Persons. Till today I wonder why we didnt get much more support from our sponsor clubs. Is it due to the relationships that are being built now?

Is it that we have so many other projects? Should there be a platform where Rotary and Rotaract should share their project ideas and come together to implement them? Will there be a time when the youth will step up and really realize their potential? This are my questions even now I still see the cracks but our own recognition at times becomes such a big thing that we forget what the goal was. This is not to say that competition is not healthy between clubs and rewards should be abolished. Thats not what am saying, the clubs can continue to work independently but target various projects in the year that are joint and done as a whole. Whether done by Rotaractors or Rotarians or Interactors. Am happy Rotaract has taken this seriously and we are seeing more joint activities coming up. This should be encouraged.

The dream of Mai Mahiu was to see Rotary and Rotaract help bring peace and restoration for the IDP’s. The dream is halfway done but my time is up, the incoming board will have to followup and see the final completion of this project.

I had a visit in Nakuru where one of the Rotarians from our sponsor club had let me see how USAID and FHI work. I got to discuss with one of the Canadians who had come for a distribution about what Rotary and Rotaract can do.

So I shared with him this dream.

My dream is to see Rotary and Rotaract join hands and change the face of the world. Starting from our homes area and the projects at hand, I compared the Lions hospital in Kangemi Nairobi Kenya and how it had managed to reach to so many and have such an impact. If this was to be effected at Mai Mahiu whose nearest hospital is Kijabe with two schools in the vicinity this would have an impact. A food program just like the one I had the pleasure of visiting at Nakuru covered only 5 acres of land and produced 1.8 tonnes of food. With the vast land in Mai Mahiu and the displaced persons in that area a business model of running a food program could be run by professional Rotarians. Rotaractors would create a whole new generation of service in this region by changing the face of that whole region.

We would be doing projects that impact us too, what better way it is to live doing what you love best.

The many Rotaractors I know who are nearly leaving university can have such a base as their launch pad into their careers through training and life skills. The Interactors too will start service early, I have always thought to myself if I started as an Interactor how much I would have done. All the exchange programmes I would have gone to. The number of people I would have impacted and how professionally trained I would be in a very tender age. The society will only change if we begin with us, in our homes and in our own small way. Thats the BIG picture.

Such kind of projects would be replicated all over the country with the use of technology, skill and Rotary goals to succeed in securing the food security. Its not a Mai Mahiu focus but country wide as well and D9200. Ever thought why sometimes we work so hard because we need our bread and butter. If your brother or sister doesn’t have you will be obliged to share. So how do we achieve life’s fulfillment? Call it self actualization if your not as spiritual as I am but what is the PURPOSE in SERVICE?

This was my dream which I have now actioned at a personal capacity, starting small through mentorship at Hot Springs girls high school. They have about 60 girls from the Maasai community and the IDP families that were displaced. The school needs water, a laboratory, a library and other facilities to function as it should. I have visited before and seen how this girls are. They really have needs and they need to be mentored. They also need a second chance, they have been caught in the post election violence some lost family, some are married off during holiday time and I cannot possibly sit bac and act like everything is okay when its not. I sat with them and listened I realized I had so much to give though I thought it was very little.

This weekend will be my 2nd visit but it will be a 1st with 4 girls who are in good standing in Rotaract, career wise and very knowledgeable to handle the kind of questions this girls ask. They will be speaking to them and taking there hand to help them achieve their dreams. One day we will mentor young men too they also need us.

So in many words that is my dream and my wish list which I do hope that I will have the strength to fulfill in my own small way. The reality of it is that theres much more to be done but it all begins with YOU.

The Rotaractors and the youth in general need to take initiative in tackling issues that more often than not they have thought will be solved by our elders. We have to stop criticizing and help each other out where we can. I have had a team so dedicated in the times when I couldn’t manage a thing but they all managed to keep things running and sane. Allot of support from the board, fellow presidents from other clubs, friends and family is what kept the dream going. Its a good time to say I had so many butterflies getting in as president I honestly thought I would eventually goof up. Well the year is gone I believe we did a good job.

I do hope in my time as president that my service has been worthwhile. Those that I may not have pleased or angered please forgive me. For the new board all the best in your year.

From here where we are we can only go up.

God bless you

IPP The Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central:
Michael Waiyaki Ng’ang’a

Current District Conference Chair 2011-2012

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