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In The Face Of Hope

July 21, 2018

I don’t know about the rest of you, but I personally wish the DART buses were available in the whole of Dar Es Salaam. I have some hope that one day, we will have some operating between Bunju and Morocco. I say this because they literally save you hours, hours one would have spent stuck in unmoving and frustrating traffic. With those buses covering all major routes in Dar Es Salaam, productivity would increase by leap and bounds. 


The other day I needed to go to Ubungo from Posta during rush hour. I needed to get to my destination in less than an hour but knowing how traffic between city center and Ubungo during rush hour is like, I decided to go for the DART buses, or Mwendokasi as they are fondly referred to. Around that hour for those of you who use those buses frequently you know they come in fast and furious, and so it was no different on this day. The only thing is that most of them were the “Kimara Express” buses. This particular bus is interesting because it leaves Posta and doesn’t stop until it’s final destination (Kimara), and if it does stop along the way, it is just to obey the traffic rules. In other words, from Posta to Kimara, one can take exactly 40 minutes using this bus, a distance that usually takes people 2 – 4 hours because of traffic. Anyway, sorry for digressing. 


So I waited and waited and waited for the Ubungo bus, but bus after bus came and left but none was going to Ubungo. Finally after almost 35 minutes of waiting, one finally came and I boarded it as it was going to the Ferry Terminal, hoping that by the time it got to Ferry the driver would not reroute it to another destination. Fortunately, my faith and hope worked and I got myself a comfortable seat and as I always do when not driving, I took out the book I was reading that week and continued reading it, until I got to my destination 40 minutes later.  


What kept me waiting for the Ubungo bus? Is it the fact that I had already bought my ticket? No. It is because I knew that no matter how long it took, the bus would eventually come and I would make it to my destination on time, as compared to if I had driven all the way to Ubungo at that hour. I kept hoping that the next one would be my bus until it eventually was.


Hope kept me waiting.


I’d like to share with you a true story of someone who saved his son’s life because he kept his hope alive.  This story was written by one of the authors of Chicken Soup For The Soul, Mark Victor Hansen. Here goes...


In 1989 an 8.2 earthquake almost flattened Armenia, killing over 30,000 people in less than 4 minutes. In the midst of utter devastation and chaos, a father left his wife securely at home and rushed to the school where his son was supposed to be, only to discover that the building was as flat as a pancake.


After the initial shock, he remembered the promise he had made to his son: “No matter what, I’ll always be there for you!”, and tears began to fill his eyes. As he looked at the pile of debris that once was the school, it looked hopeless, but he kept remembering his commitment to his son.


He began to concentrate on where he walked his son to class at school each morning. Remembering his son’s classroom would be in the back right corner of the building, he rushed there and started digging through the rubble.


As he was digging, other parents arrived, clutching their hearts, saying:  “My son!” “My daughter!” Other well-meaning parents tried to pull him off what was left of the school saying:


“It’s too late!”


“They’re dead!”


“You can’t help!”


“Go home!”


“Come on, face reality, there’s nothing you can do!”


“You’re just going to make things worse!”


To each parent he responded with one line: “Are you going to help me now?” And then he proceeded to dig for his son, stone by stone.


The fire chief showed up and tried to pull him off the school’s debris, saying, “Fires are breaking out, explosions are happening everywhere. You’re in danger. We’ll take care of it. Go home.”


To which this loving, caring father responded, “Are you going to help me now?”


The police came and said, “You’re angry, distraught and it’s over. You’re endangering others. Go home. We’ll handle it!”


To which he replied, “Are you going to help me now?”


But no one helped.


Courageously he proceeded alone because he needed to know for himself: “Is my boy alive or is he dead?”


He dug for 8 hours..... 12 hours ..... 24 hours ...... 36 hours..... then in the 38thhour, he pulled back a boulder and heard his son’s voice. He screamed his son’s name, “ARMAND!”


He heard back, “Dad! It’s me, Dad! I told the other kids not to worry. I told them that if you were alive, you’d save me and when you saved me, they’d be saved. You promised, "No matter what, I'll always be there for!" You did it, Dad!”


“What’s going on in there? How is it?” the father asked.


“There are 14 of us left out of 33, Dad. We’re scared, hungry, thirsty and thankful you’re here. When the building collapsed, it made a wedge, like a triangle, and it saved us.”


Come on out, boy!”


“No, Dad! Let the other kids out first, because I know you’ll get me! No matter what, I know you’ll be there for me!”



If you are the emotional kind, take a few minute to wipe your tears and take a sip of water before you go on. I have read this story many time but it gets to me every time I read it, like am reading it for the first time.


The “What If” questions I ask myself every time I read it are too many. For instance... 

What if the father had not promised his son that he would always be there for him when he need him, would he have had the push and the strength to keep digging?

What if he had listened to all the nay-sayers who were surrounding him, would he have saved his son?

What if he had give up at hour 37, not knowing how close he has been to saving his son, what would have happened then?

What if he had not saved his son, would he have forgiven himself for feeling that he let his son down?


Friends there are very many lessons we can derive from this story, but today, I want to focus on just one lesson; HOPE. George Iles said it very well when he said, “Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark


Yes my friends. Hope is staying positive even when the facts on the ground show you that there is nothing positive to hold on to. Unfortunately many people give up even before they realize the power of hope in their lives. I don’t know what you might be going through right now but I am here to tell you today that if only you could stay hopeful, you will be surprised at what will happen.


You might have tried to get pregnant for the last ten years without success, and now your in-laws are pressurizing your husband to marry another woman who can “bear children”. As long as you know you and your husband don’t have any infertility issues, be hopefully and trust that God is still in the business of performing miracles.


You might be looking around and not seeing any breakthrough for your business or for your career. Don’t give up. Be hopeful that soon you will get just one idea that will turn everything around for you. The only thing is, keep digging like Armand’s dad kept digging. Digging in this case could mean reading more, sending more applications, trying to be innovative, etc.


Many people today have lost hope and as a result they are living angry, frustrated and unyielding lives. Nobody ever lived up to fulfill their purpose without faith and hope. Like Martin Luther King Jnr correctly said it, “We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope


In line with this message of hope, today in the ongoing #52BooksIn52Weeks2018 Book Reading Challenge I am recommending a book by Eckhart Tolle called, “A New Earth: Awakening To Your Life’s Purpose”. This is the second time I am recommending this book so it is your chance to read it if you didn't read it the first time.


No matter what is going on in your life, keep digging.

No matter how  difficult and how tiring it becomes, keep digging.

No matter who or how many people tell you to stop wasting your time, as long as you know what you are doing, keep digging.


Without hope, people die, but with hope, people who were almost dead have come back to life. May this message of hope revive you and give you a fresh desire to go after your dreams.


Be ignited. Be inspired. Be influenced. Be the best version of yourself you can ever be.


PS: This article was originally published in Tanzania's Guardian On Sunday on the 15th of July, 2018, under my weekly column "Thoughts in Words".​​





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