African wisdom

“The Other Side of the Veil” (One of 25 things that make me happy)

“The Other Side of the Veil” (One of 25 things that make me happy)

Last night, in the middle of a very stressful phone call, I was given a word-image.  The caller told me about how, earlier in the day, “Jjaja Jack” (Grandpa Jack, my dad) had taken little, individual ice cream packets to the kids at our home in Nkumba (pronounced "in-KOOM-bah").  Somehow, the Read more [...]

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Yet another way to use the Light

February 10, 2013
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Yet another way to use the Light

The room was just another fancy DC hotel ballroom, but the Academy of Achievement's team had transformed it by mastering the use of light.  The space was mostly dark except for the candles on the tables, swirling lights cast onto the wallpapered walls, and the spotlight on the dais.  There were only Read more [...]

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Are you being served?

December 29, 2012
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Are you being served?

“Oh no, no.  I can get it.  I don’t need to be waited on!” Have you ever said these words? If so, I invite you to ask yourself why. Your answer might purport to have something to do with humility, or not placing yourself above another. May I challenge you on that? The experience of…

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“Music in the Dark” (A 2-minute read.)

From my African journal:  Every evening, I hear music coming from an obscure location in the middle of my village town, Masaka, Uganda.  It is joyful music with heavy rhythms and multiple voices in song.  Between choruses, there are great shouts, and bursts of speech in Luganda.  I have trouble making Read more [...]

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“Unexpected Ways” (An 80-second reading on what I am enjoying most about this human experience.)

Early this morning I was seated in the lobby of one of Kampala’s oldest hotels, The Africana.  The Senior Advisor to Uganda’s First Lady had asked to meet me there.  We have been friends for many years, and I happened across one of her properties yesterday, a space that would be perfect for one Read…

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“Africa in Your Tone” (A 90-second reading on how diversity informs authenticity)

February 24, 2012
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“Africa in Your Tone” (A 90-second reading on how diversity informs authenticity)

“Good afternoon, sir,” I said to a distinguished Ghanaian scholar who had just joined our already-crowded minivan as we headed out for more school visits in Kasoa, Ghana last month.  We then made introductions around the vehicle, and I mentioned that I had lived in Uganda for nine years, and still Read more [...]

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“Hello, TOO!” (A 90-second reading.)

February 13, 2012
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Years ago, I worked for the President of the Arizona Board of Regents.  My office was in his law suite, along with his law partners and the lobbyists who worked for his firm.  I seemed to often arrive just behind one of the lobbyists, Missy, meaning I was walking several paces behind her from the…

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“Thank you for that courage!” (A 45-second reading.)

February 6, 2012
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One day, many years ago at home in Uganda, I had the opportunity to give an employee some positive feedback.  He looked at me with a big smile and said, “Thank you for that courage!” While I assumed that perhaps he meant to thank me for my encouragement, I liked the notion of courage as…

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Four Leadership Lessons from a Ghanaian Immigration Officer

January 23, 2012
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Four Leadership Lessons from a Ghanaian Immigration Officer

I keep thinking about the very intimidating-looking immigration officer who reviewed my papers as I exited Ghana on Thursday. He wore a dapper, tailored uniform, and sat very proudly in his cubicle. The vignette of order--within the larger scene of chaos that is the Accra airport--was remarkable on its Read more [...]

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