Some aspects of our cultures greatly affect us and bind us in mediocrity

Net File.

This past week-end, I had  the  opportunity to travel upcountry for a retreat of  one of the charities am involved in , when I was on my way home, I saw newlyweds(bride and groom) walking on the street with their bridesmaids and the crew. Did I mention that they were WALKING? It is definitely not often that I see newlyweds walking on the day of their weddings. Most weddings that I, probably some of you as well, have attended are usually accompanied by fancy cars, expensive dresses, luxurious venues, you name it! When I saw this couple, of course I was taken aback and they made me think about the very content of this new blog.

I live in a culture that greatly encourages solidarity and fraternity. We are called, from a young age, to help our brothers in need; in times of troubles, and rejoice with them in times of joy. That is great! Who wouldn’t appreciate such a society? However, these very same aspects of our dear culture make people lag behind and bind them in mediocrity. You may ask me how solidarity can lead to mediocrity; let me illustrate this for you with a personal story.

The wedding season, in several    African communities , is one of the most stressful season (you could also say happy but I omitted the comment). I think it is only in Africa where the invitees, the organizers and the couple are equally stressed. The pressure of solidarity becomes unbearably stressful when a wedding turns into a fundraiser where those invited are blackmailed into giving. If you do not contribute, you should not even attend the wedding. And the sad thing in this situation is that the couple is solely relying on the donations to organize a ridiculously expensive wedding.

Wedding Venue. Net File

The African culture  does support solidarity but to what extent should this be tolerated? If people let this aspect of culture drag them into a hypocritical form of begging (blackmail and forceful giving) where would this stop? My friend, a few months ago, borrowed a large amount of money from me to  help him support his family this was after his wedding. WHY DO YOU GET MARRIED IF YOU DO NOT EVEN HAVE THE RESOURCES TO PLAN YOUR WEDDING? Of course I did not say this out loud but it was a clear disappointment. However, I am not blaming my friend; this has been fed into the minds of us Africans from generations.

Back to the first couple that was walking; I cannot express how happy I was that they did not feel the urge and need to waste millions on a single day. And, did I mention that they were HAPPY? Many people, especially women, equate the cost of their wedding day to the happiness of their marriages. It is NOT the amount of money you spend on your wedding or engagement ring that will build your marriage.

As a married person (and I’ve been married for some time), I would like to propose to young lovers out there planning to get married; PLAN YOUR WEDDING ACCORDING TO YOUR FINANCES! Please, do not drown yourself in debts before you even celebrate your first anniversary! It is not worth it! I am not saying that your wedding day is not important. I am saying that there are more important days to come. Do not waste your money on imported flowers, rugs, and wines. Save your money for your future, your children, and maybe a house? You should plan for a wedding that you can afford. Do not try to impress people.

Net File.

Unfortunately, us Africans have been trained to impress; “Fake it till you make it” is our motto. We take captive of any opportunity to prove what we are not. This is one of the biggest reasons why we throw extravagant weddings. We worry about what people (who don’t even care about us) will think about us. We want to impress people who do not matter. I am writing this because it is high time that we change things around.

We will forever drown in poverty if we do not stop investing in things with no returns. I would personally rather help a sick person, than spoon feed a young man organizing his lavish wedding. If you do not have enough money to get married this year; get married NEXT year! Do not beg! Work Hard! And by the way you might even get married without having a 1000 people at your ceremony .THINK ABOUT IT!

When we start believing in self-reliance, we will value hard work, savings, and time. I do not think that those who will attend your wedding should be as stressed as you are. Take time to plan and organize not just for the wedding day but, most importantly, for the marriage! Even if it means that you will walk from the church to the venue, if that’s the cost for a happy and healthy marriage, do it. I surely commend the couple who arrange their wedding the way they could afford it and not how it is expected of them. Remember, it is not the amount you invest in your wedding day that will make your marriage happy.

This question goes to my followers how can we use our rich culture to embrace development? Remember Japan was once poor but after the world war II the embarked on development by exploiting their culture.

 

You can reach us at ryarasa@ryarasa.org

 

 

Religion’s Power to brainwash our People

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I haven’t uploaded a blog for quite a long time (I apologize, dear readers) but I never cease to observe the people and situations around me. Recently, I thought and meditated very hard on the power of Religion. I have many employees who are so devoted to their churches and gospel trends that, when I observed their behaviors, I truly wondered if they were healthy. Do not get me wrong, I am NOT an atheist; matter of fact; I do go to church; I read and quote my bible and pray. Although we all have room to grow, I wonder if I would like to become like so many of the “Highly Ranked” Christians that I see around me.

Christianity and belief in God should not lead us to mediocrity in the workplace or elsewhere. On the contrary, this is the very thing that should lead us to excel in all walks of life. In Africa, unfortunately, religion has been so saturated with lies and hypocrisy by its leaders that they are luring the people to touch their pockets rather than to touch their hearts. African pastors and religious leaders have turned the house of God into a place of manipulation, hypocrisy, mediocrity, and lies. I do admit that they have found a great way to make easy money by involving the emotions of the vulnerable. But, very sadly, they have found a way to destroy the societies trapping them into worlds of superstition and irrational beliefs.

Back to my observations in my workplace, I am always appalled by my fellow colleagues who go to church every single day, and spend their working hours listening to several sermons by “prominent prophets, faith healers, and holy spirit evangelists.” They seem to be waiting for the great day when Jesus will take them to heaven and all pain will end; “there shall be no more mourning or tears on that day.” (I did laugh while I wrote this.) Of course religious leaders use this to manipulate their fervent followers.

May I submit to you that Heaven; the so much awaited Heaven, actually starts from here and today? May I also suggest that pain and suffering are not necessarily here to ruin our lives but to teach us and push us further? Instead of blocking the reality of the world of here and now with several songs and sermons, why can’t our African brothers and sisters begin to think critically and rise above all challenges? The people have become so absent-minded in the workplace because “the world is not their home.” Well, I believe it is for now.

It is crucial for the people, especially my African brothers and sisters, NOT to live in a superstitious state forever. Your employer is not firing you because he has demons but because you might not be performing well. Instead of locking your room for days to pray, do consider reading and increasing your productivity in the workplace.

I always try to suggest some of the things that, in my opinion, could improve some of the mishaps in our African society. I would like to tell the religious leaders to stand for truth and encourage their people to become more critical and more aware of the world. The very word “world” has been used in so many ways to lure people into superstitions. But I want to say to all fervent Christian out here that we ARE in the world so we might as well make the most of the time that Almighty God has given us. We must open up our eyes to the realities here below, think critically about solutions to our situations, and strive to be as productive and accountable in all walks of life. I truly believe that this is the kind of light that Jesus wants to see shine in the world. He did say that we were the light of the world

Thank you