Beautiful Vine

Photo: Marijoëlle

I once dated a great girl. She was perfect.

See, we danced to the music in our heads, she held me and span me around every day as a ritual to nonexistent music and she often whispered, “listen closely, you will hear the music.” And as she held me and rhythmically moved me around, we lost track of time and transposed to a whole new world where only the two of us existed. We created magic and spread that magic in all we did and said.

She spoiled me stupid with gifts. Please it’s no secret that gifts are my love language and boy, did she communicate. I loved and cherished every gift and the anticipation of one made my members sing.

She left me handwritten notes all over the house in hidden spots and loved me tenderly with her mind. She had a way with words, that one, and made sure I indulged my mind with her beautifully crafted notes.

She loved my people. Y’all know I am deeply relational and she deeply cared for my loves. Checked on them, remembered their important days, and showed up when she needed to.

I once dated a great girl! She was phenomenal. At least according to the testimony of her life,

She loved deeply, trusted wholeheartedly, and gave every bit of herself to make me happy. See, she gave me all of her and I loved the responsibility of stewarding that.

She wanted to more than know my body, she wanted to connect. She sought a lot more than the simple release of sexual pleasure, she gave more than that.

She invited me to her world and gave me the most important seat to watch life with her unfold. It was fancy and sneaky, fun and explosive, daring, and adventurous. It was everything I needed to get out of my shell.

She introduced me to her God. The one who is all-knowing and merciful. His grace carried us to places I can never take you with words. Her God loved and blessed me, and we, together, thrived and flourished in the land that was provided for us.

I once dated a great girl! She was beautiful. At least according to the state of her heart.

She created magic for every space and everyone she met. There were no bad days with her because she carried sunshine itself. She smiled and time stopped. Her eyes were the true definition of glorious. Her smile stopped the traffic every time.

She walked with such grace you had to rhythmically put her in slow motion every time to understand her aura. The energy she left with the people and spaces she encountered was indescribable.

I once dated a great girl. Her name was beautiful vine.

Dear HC…

Our “Inspector Derrick”, here are the things I love about you;

  1. You are curious.
  2. A good listener.
  3. Generous.
  4. Compassionate.
  5. Alive / woke / full of fire.
  6. A learner.
  7. Present: body,mind and soul.
  8. Playful: humorous, energetic.
  9. Your laughter is deep.
  10. Your wisdom is ageless.
  11. You love deeply and are kind – empathetic.
  12. You have a good eye – your attention to detail is fascinating.
  13. You are a excellent orator.
  14. You have mad writing skills.
  15. Your fashion sense is out of this world, literally!
  16. You are well traveled and exposed.
  17. You carry healing energy, whether it be through comfort, presence or affirmation.
  18. You love yourself and it’s evident – those stretches you do are intense. Your vehicle has been serviced well.
  19. You teach so effortlessly well.
  20. You are beautiful.

I stan!!

Plagues And Pains

We were sick before, COVID-19 only exposed our rot and wickedness.

Let’s not pretend that we are shocked about MPs getting UGX 20m or is it UGX 40m now? They have stolen a lot more and we have watched on. The Black Monday Movement exposed the maleficent theft of public resources and the people pillaging this country and we called them noisemakers. Now, theft has become the new normal and we are still waiting for a sign, some miracle to prove that the country is being plundered.

Impunity lingered in our beds and households and we turned, and looked the other way. Women and men were shot and murdered in cold blood, and we asked why they were moving at night or alone. Women were raped and we asked what they were wearing and why they were hanging around their abusers.

Unpaid care work, exploitive bosses and poor pay existed before COVID-19. The pandemic only exposed our indifference to them before the crisis.

Hunger, violence and strife, hopelessness and sheer madness loomed over our streets but privilege blinded us from reality until we were all put on forced lockdown.

Why are we pretending that we are now awake? Why are we crying now for a country and economy that died years ago? Are we just discovering the body is missing? Did we not laugh and clap while the body lay in the streets; devoured by vultures and violated by flies and maggots?

How many calls to wake up have we received and yet still snoozed because it’s not yet our time ? How much money need to dispear before we rise up in arms? How many must be raped, tortured, and murdered before we realize that enough is enough?

Are we not the ones who accused bicycles riders, motorcyclists and taxi drivers for driving recklessly only to turn around and drive like lumpens? Were we not the ones who sang songs of victory while our laws were raped and abused continually? Did we not say the rest were mere noisemakers because “it was our turn to eat?”

We all know we have been sick a long time? The signs and symptoms were clear and we still chose not to medicate. Now, we are witnessing the impact of our misbehavior in failed systems and a falling economy and we are still silent.

Foolish Ugandans, who bewitched us?!

Solution Architect!

Thank you for the many messages of love and celebration that came pouring in. We are committed to sharing all of them with our world.

I don’t remember the year or the day we met (I seriously need to hire someone for this because wow!) but I am sure i remember the happenings. We were gathered at Worship Harvest Naalya for a service…no it was not a Sunday service, it must have been the special kind that happens at the end or beginning of the year or in between.

They called for those with testimonies and there she was; tall, strong, beautiful, and very confident as if she had been a part of this Church for the longest time and I was perfectly sure she was pretty new to this congregation. As if that wasn’t enough, she was talking about climbing mountains. ‘I guess she is just as strong and confident as she looks,’ I thought to myself.

The following year, Penelope was everywhere from the music team to organizing Church events; you could think she was one of the founders of the Church. Everywhere you turned she was there, from celebrations to burials – Penelope! Always fixing broken things or building something; anti solution architect!

I have not met anyone who gives like you Penny! You go all out every single time. I remember you at burials working like you were a blood relative, at hospitals to comfort those who had lost a loved one, taking charge of situations, keeping the ship afloat!

I used to ask myself, does she ever break down! She always seems to have it all figured out and then I discovered the vulnerable side of you. That side of you that reminds me that you are human; you hurt just as much as you love. For me, that’s a clear reminder that what you do for others is a sacrifice. You are no superhuman, you simply choose each day to look beyond yourself so you can touch another life; the kind of heart the world needs.

Someone once said that love is something we do and you my dearest Penelope have lived it out so well. You touch lives and they stay touched. Just a simple hug in the hardest times and we stay hugged forever. Thank you for giving of yourself! I love you my dear one!

By A star Katooko

Gem. Sister. Anchor

This is a continuation of the birthday messages that came pouring in and we are committed to sharing all of them with you.

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Once in a while, in the middle of an otherwise ordinary life, God bestows on us a gem. Penny, you are that gem and I am so honored to know and love you.

When I first met you in our first year of law school, we were both just young girls. Even then, I knew that you were someone special. We were drawn to each other as friends and both our lives are the better for it. You are one of the kindest, most generous people that I know. Over the years, we have shared some really difficult moments but our love for each other comforted us and when we were celebrating, our love helped us to share that happiness with one another. In that way, love has been food for our souls.

As we have grown older, we grew apart at times as we began to forge our own paths. But we always found our way back to each other. Not only do I feel privileged to know you, but I also feel lucky enough to have witnessed you grow and blossom into the Penny the world has known and fallen in love with. It is amazing to see all the people who love you and it is a testament to how big your heart is. The world is yet to see all the greatness encapsulated within your frame.

Thank you for following your dream and daring with Femme Forte. There can be so much sadness and loss in the world, but because of you, the women you serve at Femme Forte know that there is good in this world as well. They know what we, your friends, have always known – that when they are caught up in a storm, they are lucky enough to have something or someone to hold on to.

Keep soaring. We, your friend-sisterhood, be cheering you on.

By Priscilla Tamale 

This is Only The Tip of The Iceberg

This is a continuation of the birthday messages that came pouring in and we are committed to sharing all of them with you.

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Once upon a time, in a land far off, a young woman groaned as her baby came.

Even with the groans, one thing was for sure – this baby understood that she needed to wait just a little while. It was important that her arrival wasn’t rushed. Once the mother got to the hospital, a dimpled baby was born. With the sweetest smile in the whole of Mbarara. For those privy to the details of the journey, you know why she waited.

That wait became a part of her life. With many decisions made, I have on many occasions told myself this is the time, and she has said, not yet. When the time is right we will know. Her meticulous relationship with timing and its power didn’t just come to be today. It was a work of art from many years ago.

This child came with detail. The dimple tells the story. The pictures  taken to date capture the effortlessness of the mark of beauty as a sparkle twins with the dimple. This is simply the beginning of the detail orientedness of that child who was born many years ago. Her clothes are organized in a manner that changes every after a few months but I would never know the difference until I moved something. Even the dirty laundry basket is organized. This child didn’t arrive as an ordinary one. Writing this reminds me of the story of the Princess and the Pea. Only a true princess felt the pea upon the many mattresses. With her, the pea shall be felt irrespective of the layers of disguise made.

Morning went and evening came…

The child grew in beauty, wisdom, and stature.

Many a time, beauty may turn into vanity, wisdom into pride, and stature into I am not sure. Not with this child. To date the beauty radiates more, wisdom abounds and stature more visible.

I am glad I met this child. I am blessed that I have basked in her beauty, wisdom, and stature. This child, still one in the eyes of many is a mother to an entire tribe, a sister to an entire generation, and yet in the midst of all of this, the little details with which God sent her to earth still abound.

The child is currently building an empire, teaching the nations to return to the act of selfless loving and giving, taking care of dogs, wiping tears from everyone whose tears need to be wiped, and holding the hands of many.

In birth, she cried to open her lungs and announce her arrival, In middle age, her lungs roar with a cry of justice for humanity. Today, her voice is heard over the hills and around the nations in a cry for dignity to be enjoyed by all.

Some know her as their baby who waited just a little while, others as the woman who held their hands and wiped their tears, others as a sister, and others as the giver who arrived just in time.

I know her as all this and more.

I celebrate the child who leads the pack of wolves

I celebrate this lioness of a woman.

The one who is my friend, sister, confidant, therapist, and disciplinarian.

Happy Birthday, Sanyu Penelope.

Akiteng Isabella

The Force That Is Sanyu

This is a continuation of the birthday messages that came pouring in and we are committed to sharing all of them with you.

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She knows who she is, it’s in the way she walks, talks and presents herself anywhere
She walks with a spring in her walk, depicting strength, determination and poise
She smiles with her heart, it shows in her eyes, she knows that she is loved.
She is not afraid to fall or fail because she always gets up, knowing there is a team in her corner.
She loves people and generosity is her second nature
But she is fierce, with an eye for opinion to say it as she sees it
She is a hard worker, who stands out because of her dedication and drive to change the world and to see others succeed
Above all, she loves others with no restriction and likes a good laugh
She is a child of God, she is a woman, she is black, she is Sanyu.

Happy Birthday, Penelope Sanyu.

By Martha Kaylie

A Rare Kind Of Friend

This is a continuation of the birthday messages that came pouring in and we are committed to sharing all of them with you.

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It is rare to find a selfless, open-hearted, genuine, outgoing, and intense friend like Penelope Sanyu.

I have had the privilege of knowing her for about 5 years and time would fail me to tell of all the selfless loving and generous acts she has done for me and my family. I will share one though.

We made the decision to get married in 2016. My wife and I were quite naïve about what it exactly took to pull off a wedding. When we reached out to her to organize our wedding, she willingly and graciously agreed. She ran the meetings, fundraised for the wedding, topped up millions of shillings wherever there was anything lacking, and made sure we had the best day and most stress-free wedding of our lives.

I know that your impact will live on for many generations to come. Your generous heart is helping millions find hope, love, and achieve their God-given dreams. You will live to see the multiplicity of God’s immense blessings and will testify to His goodness over you forever. We love you. Happy Birthday!

By Blessed Ivan Muhumuza, Pastor Worship Harvest, Makerere.

Meeting Shweety

This is a continuation of the birthday messages that came pouring in and we are committed to sharing all of them with you.

Complex Hall (CCE) 2nd Semester, 2007

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Please don’t ask me about the first semester because I was still in my excitement of being at campus. My results of said semester snapped me out of this phase.

In  the second semester, I decided to join a discussion group with my friends in Complex Hall. Unprepared for my first discussion, I just decided to do my best at paying attention and seeing how I can relate academically with my friends. On the upper left side decker, when you got in, lay Sanyu Penelope (Penny for short).

Everyone had a different reaction to her; some afraid of her, some not sure what they felt, some very cautious around her but me, I just saw Sanyu Penny. I introduced myself and we became friends almost immediately.
We discussed in that room several times, Penny in the same chiller mood & relaxed mindset like she didn’t have a worry in the world. By this time I had graduated to nickname basis and she was no longer Sanyu Penny but ‘Shweety’. I was no longer an ordinary friend but a trusted one.

Through Penny I became friends with some awesome people i.e Diana, Kiara, Papa Nogan, Mr Kirunda, Sandra (amazing vocalist in there), and I got to be a part of organising super surprise birthday parties like the one where Micheal proposed and for her friends like Diana’s birthday surprise video in the cinema.
By the way, through you I even met Ruyonga. Hehe.

With all the years between 2007 and 2020, not once has the friendship disappeared despite the distance and lack of get-togethers. If I met her today, it would be like I was with her a few hours before that.

Penny loves the people that love her, she loves what she does and she loves God. She’s very serious when it comes to these three aspects of her life. She will celebrate you with the same energy that she will scold you with when you wrong her.

I can go on and on because I have 13 years of stories 😂😂😂but I will stop here and save some stories for next time.

But on this your birthday, let me take this opportunity to say thank you.

Thank You for your friendship,
Thank you for organising the get-togethers,
Thank you for inspiring some of us to chase our dreams,
Thank you for the parties,
Thank you for everything.

Happy Birthday Shweety 🌹

By Rodney Kangumba

A Friend That Is Closer Than A Brother

 

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It was a Thursday evening like any other, I walk into Worship Harvest Naalya for Music Team rehearsal and I am introduced to a new member who wanted to join the music team. I said hello, asked about her music background and what voice she sang. She seemed withdrawn, wanting to be in her corner but oh, was I mistaken. This discovery was made when a one Dennis (commonly known as Deno) showed up and this missy became very bubbly. I knew I liked her. She had a force, a good force with and in her and I liked it.

A man who has friends must himself be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24)

This is what I can say of Penelope Sanyu. She is a woman who has friends because she is very friendly herself. She is that person you call and are sure will come through for you.

In 2016, while I lay in hospital at IHK oblivious of what was going on, she had rushed back to Uganda from Nairobi, Kenya where she had gone for a meeting. She didn’t even wait to drop off her luggage at home, straight from the airport she headed to IHK to see me. She had made several calls the day of the accident to find out where exactly we were in Mbarara, called all her friends and tried to get us help. That is the Penny I am talking about. At IHK, she tried to get me to speak even when I clearly couldn’t. She made it her life’s mission to cheer me up, holding my hand throughout, rubbing it, ensuring that I was comfortable and had everything I needed. She shopped all the things a girl needs during an emergency including ear buds and puff holders. I was humbled by her acts of service towards me, the genuine care and love she showed me. She became my bodyguard all the time I was in hospital, spending days with me from morning to sunset. Simone de Beauvoir once said, “That is what I consider true generosity, you give your all and yet you always feel as if it costs you nothing.” With Penny, giving is what she knows to do to express love and I learnt it during that period.

Have you ever had someone who believes in you more than you do in yourself at times? Well, I know quite some but today I am focusing on this phenomenal lady. Some call her mother, others sister, and others friend. She is so many things to many people and everyone calls her friend because she is a friend who will not cower to tell you when you have blown it, when you are being fake or when you sell yourself short. Penny believes in people and will go to lengths to walk a journey with you so that you can see greatness in yourself. Several times when am being tough on myself or when am doubting myself, she is one of those few people who will speak to me and I will believe what she says because I know that she doesn’t fake it nor will she sugarcoat what she is saying. She will throw a challenge at me and she will expect me to accomplish it no matter what because she knows that I can. She has on several occasions asked me to do HR work in areas that I don’t usually work on and I have had to spend sleepless nights reading and researching and surprisingly, I have delivered.

When you ask me about a fearless influencer, Penny has been that fearless influencer that I know will take a bullet for the ostracized people in society. She has demonstrated, been to prison, walked dangerous roads and even gotten into some serious fights only to ensure the voice of the voiceless is heard. I had a chance of working with Penny on a consultancy level for a period of 6 months and listening to her speak about what keeps her awake at night, what makes her blood boil, what drives her and what makes her work all night made me understand what purpose is about. She knows why God has placed her on earth and she won’t sleep until she achieves it.

If you haven’t met someone who will give up her all for the well-being of others, someone who will smile amidst tears, who will laugh heartily, someone who will love genuinely, someone who will go an extra mile, then allow me to introduce you to Penelope Sanyu.

If I have learnt something from Penny it’s to be selfless, to stretch myself, to never give up on my dream and above all to love and love some more.

Penny, as you celebrate your birthday today, know that you are leaving footprints in the sand for others to follow. Know that as you go about doing life the way you do, you are causing change in society and many are watching and following. May today be the beginning of greater and better opportunities for you.

By Evelyn Nuwagaba