I spent last weekend with some of the most amazing people, in one of Uganda’s most beautiful destinations. The SCL retreat is something I had looked forward to from the very inception when the activity and program calendar was released. Even with this anticipation, I almost missed attending and I can’t imagine I would have missed out on such a fulfilling time of spiritual renewal, adventuring, self-reflection, connecting with nature, and connecting with amazing leaders that I am blessed to be associated with.
The School of Community Leadership (SCL) is a one year leadership program offered by Watoto Church that seeks to build and equip leaders for transformation and expansion of the Kingdom of God in the different spheres of influence including Family, Governance, Health, Entertainment & Arts, Education as well as communities and nations. At the beginning of this year, I made a reluctant decision to join the program and it is the best decision I made this year. Without a doubt, it’s the principles I have learnt through this program that have enabled me to go and grow through the year that 2020 has been. Proverbs 16:9 has never made more sense than it did this year. And for me, SCL has been God’s way of guiding my steps. Someday, I will tell the full story.
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.
Proverbs 16:9 NIV
Through the SCL journey, I have been blessed to meet and connect with amazing people, leaders that are intentional about their purpose in life and are working towards fulfilling that purpose. It is these very amazing and humble people that I spent the weekend at Musana Camps with. One of the things that I have experienced a lot this year is an overflow of knowledge and wisdom from real people with real stories and a wealth of experience. This weekend was no exception. From doctors, to teachers, artists, lawyers, creatives, journalists, farmers, CEOs, students, pastors and the list goes on. People from different parts of the region and continent. Africa is definitely ready.
As the SCL 2020 family, it was a time of recapping and reflecting on the things we’ve learnt over the past 10 to 11 months of the program, but also, a time to have the deep conversations about issues that matter, a time to bond over games that brought out our creative side. The games and challenges came with a lot of leadership lessons. My highlight was the commitment bridge challenge. This challenge requires two people to walk across suspended wired lines connected to 3 trees forming a triangle without letting go of each other’s hands. The start is easy, but as you go on, the space between the two people widens making it almost impossible to keep held onto each other. The reality as we got to witness, however, it is possible for the two people to get across the lines (and even bypass each other) without breaking the bond. The key requirement is that each of them relies fully on the other by pushing them at equal measure. The lesson herein, is that leadership is a journey we cannot walk alone. Collaboration, team work and equal commitment towards accomplishing a goal are core to effective transformational leadership. The challenge clearly actualizes the concept of synergy. These games and challenges truly put a lot of leadership principles into perspective; the need for commitment, the need to work as a team, the process of problem solving, among many others. It was an enriching and reflective experience.
Besides the connection and moments shared with the people, Musana Camps, a camping site that sits on over 700 acres is a marvel. It’s amazing how beautiful Uganda is, everyone needs to explore the Pearl of Africa to appreciate the genius and power of God, but also enjoy everything nature has to offer.
When the location of our retreat was shared with the class, the impression was that we were heading to Mukono and that wasn’t so far for some people that had planned to return to town to run quick errands. It was a shock for many, as we ended up deep in Buikwe, after hours of traveling almost 72KM from Kampala. Most of us never noticed how far we had gone because the conversations and catching up on our way to Musana was one of the unforgettable experiences.
With the vision of Encountering Truths and Transforming Lives, Musana Camps is a place every lover of nature should visit at least once. I will certainly be going back. I am a lover of trees, water and the cool breezy environment that these two create. It is also pretty hot when the sun is out, perfect for chilling at the white sand beach. The view of the sun rise is to die for, as the cottages are on a hill overlooking the lake.
Not only is it naturally beautiful, the construction and artificial attributes of the camping site exhibit excellence at it’s peak. From the landmarks and signage (who puts speed limit signs and turn signals on a road in the middle of a forest with no animals?), to the cottages, the use of renewable energy, the amenities and artifacts. When it came to the service, it was nothing short of excellence. Timothy was our host, and he exemplifies everything Musana Camps stands for.
One of my best experiences while at Musana, was the hike through the thick forest to the waterfall. Yes! it has a natural waterfall. What made this experience even better were the challenges we had to overcome and the competitive games between the two teams (Ignite & Impact). Of course, my team (Impact) won. We had to make an impact. But it was more than just the challenges and the need to win. It was the connection, the fun, the teamwork, the jokes and the conversations while panting up the hilly forest that made it a worthwhile experience. After the long hike that lasted over an hour, we made it to the waterfall and it was spectacular. Going up to the highest point of the falls and standing under the water long enough to feel the freshness but short enough not to lose my balance because of the pressure was epic. This was everything I’d looked forward to all through the hike. This was followed by water baptism by immersion in the lake which also led to great fun at the beach and swimming. This particular evening was climaxed with a movie and for some of us, more moments of catchup at the bonfire. It really was a weekend I would wish for anyone especially after what 2020 has put us through. In all this, we had taken prior measures and real time precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19.
The experiences and the moments shared are really unforgettable, but what is most important and assuring is the purpose for which we all came together. To reflect on our purpose as leaders who have been called by God in our different spheres of influence, and hear from him. But also, to start working on a plan to bring about real change in the communities and spaces we have been placed. My greatest joy is in knowing that there is a group of men and women I can count on to bring kingdom influence to the marketplace and the different spheres we have been called to, for the glory of God.