Monday 15 January 2024

Resolve To Succeed Financially: I now have knowledge I am not poor anymore said Amos Wekesa

Photo by From YouTube

 By Arthur Moses Opio

"If you are resolutely determined to make a lawyer of yourself, the thing is more than half done already... Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." ~ Abraham Lincoln

A friend of mine called Moses Isiagi resolved he was going to do his Masters in University of Cape Town in South Africa. With that resolve, he kept applying and one day, he tells us, I have gotten an offer, I have been accepted. 

The daunting task now was the money for fees, ticket and many other things. For him, the key thing was to get there. He talked to a few friends and some money was raised. To cut the long story short. He found his way to South Africa, studied and graduated and is now pursuing a PhD. The journey wasn't an easy one, there were so many ups and downs, tough nights, brokenness, etc. but that did not break him, instead it gave him to momentum to resilient to achieve his dream.

The above quote from Abraham Lincoln to a young man who asked how he could become a lawyer is so profound. 

"Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing". Nothing gets going until we resolve to get started. The inner determination to say, I have what it takes to build this dream is the first step in ensuring the vision or dream gets started. 

While listening to a TikTok video with the handle @cleaningtheairwaves that has been making rounds on social media, I couldn't hold back but put this excerpt into this article as it speaks to the topic of resolve. 

The interviewee Rinah Hicks said, "It will help you so we started that journey how did you identify what do we do and he’d come we sit we talk and he would bring 2000. The first amount he bought was 5000. He used to earn part time I think when he came here, he had earned 19,000 shillings and he gave us 5000 to start his journey. He started his journey and I worked with him for four years. After four years I had grown and moved into a different department and I handed him over to a friend of mine. 2011 Richie now I am approving payments I’m now in operations and I see his a check and a request for payment and I see his name on this thing and it’s 2.4 million shillings. I called him, "Please can we have coffee? Like how did we get here. So what are you asking me? I was consistent sometimes it was 2000 sometimes it was 5000 and then I got to a job and then I just continued." This guy used to eat chapati dondo  once a day just so that he would save money but he remained super consistent. I asked myself, "My darling sister what is in your account at this point in time and I realized I had messed up again because I took it for granted what I had." And he told me he was putting a down payment for an office at Crawford Business Park. I am like what, "So he put his down payment, got a loan for the balance and he rented out and I think now he has paid it off but he has continued to be consistent to this day. Those days he was 2000, 5000, 10000 now it's 100,000 every month. Let me just tell you that one client is the reason I have money wise, one of the reasons.""

Dave Ramsey says, "Your income is your most important wealth building tool." Following through with the story Rinah shared of the man who said he was consistent and continues to be to this day. It seems he knew or knows something about using his income as seed to grow and produce more seeds. He invested, bought an apartment, the apartment continues to give him rent and he continues to invest? What have you resolved to do? 

My first job was as a cleaner. I was earning 10 dollars a month - Amos Wekesa

Amos Wekesa once said, "When I started doing business, it's about 5/6 years, every time my mother looked at me, she could shed tears. It's not until 5 or 6 years ago that she opened up. When I was born she was so poor that she contemplated killing me. She planned to kill me on a Friday not because she did not like me but because the conditions were very difficult for her." Let that sink in, poverty can be that bad, it can make us think of doing crazy things.

I watched the interview between Amos Wekesa and Wode Maya and learnt quite a number of things, he said, "I hadn't eaten meat for so many years, I looked old but I was not that old. I went and served meat and I remember walking home and I cried and told God, 'Why did you make me so poor?' that even meat is such an important thing and that day I made a renewal of my life and that if I get a chance, I will work so hard and my dream was to work so hard to eat a lot of meat."

Today Amos is the face of Tourism in Uganda, he founded PELA commodities to produce grain and he continues to pioneer in many areas in his life. His resolve to work so hard can be seen with the results of his great works through Great Lakes Safari Lodges, Elephant Plains lodge,  Primate Lodge Kibale, Budongo Eco Lodge, Simba Safari Camp, MV Kazinga (boat cruise).

"I understand poverty. I have first hand experience with poverty.  Poverty is very demeaning" says Amos Wekesa. "When we were born, I hardly ate chicken. When I came to Kampala, I went to a slum and I was paying less than 2 dollars. I had this land lady from Hell. She would go and drink and come at 3AM tell me how poor I was."

"My first job was as a cleaner. I was earning 10 dollars a month. I never used to use a car. I would walk 20kms for 3 hours, that was my normal life, I never used to question it but it was also hard, I went to a good school for A-levels, most of my classmates went to University and to be honest it was one of the toughest times finding my former school mates and trying to say, 'hello' some of them would see me from far and cross the road." Amos further says, "One thing I have discovered about life is that once you have done your best in the small job you have been given, the voice will be clear that it is time to move on. But if you go to a job and complain, you will not hear that voice. There is a lady who used to make me katoogo of beans and cassava, I would go home boil and take 3/4 in the evening and 1/4 in the morning. That was my life, from Monday to Monday because I couldn't afford anything."

"For my third job, I became a Tour guide." says Amos Wekesa, "That's when I discovered my gift." I guided the dutch people and I was earning 1 dollar a day and God is my witness, "For my first trip we were doing a camping trip and I guided these guys for15 days, my boss gave me 1,000 Uganda Shillings. I sat in the car and I cried and I said man, after 15 days."

Cutting Water Melon Story: Resolved To Never Ever Be Poor Again

Amos says, " The last day, we had bought watermelon from Lake Bunyonyi. The Tourists asked my boss, 'Why aren't you giving guys something to cut watermelon?' I remember the boss saying, ''You see that guy, I am paying him almost nothing but he can never do better than this in his life. That day In front of Tourists, 'I stood up and I said, but in my life, I will never ever work for you again and I can promise you, I will never ever be poor, I am leaving you today and I will never work for you again. I am just tired of the same stories. The tourists were shocked, they knew I was poor, 'I said No! I now have knowledge I am not poor anymore, I knew my gift and I knew I  was good with tourists and with Tourism as a subject. I went and got my last job where I was a desk guy and earning 35 dollars a month.' So I worked for a year and saved up 200 dollars. On 22nd April, 2001, I registered for Great Lakes Safaris. and 23rd April, 2001 I started Great Lakes Safaris. I looked out for opportunities for weddings on Thursdays, I would show them I have cars for weddings. I would make 5 or 10 dollars. Everyday by 6AM, I would be at the washing bay to make sure the cars were clean and I hand them over for 9 months and that's what made me survive, then I saved up for my first office under a stair case. It was a good location. My first employee was earning 20 dollars a month but it was hard and many voices kept coming."

We all know who Amos Wekesa is. His story highlights how he resolved against all odds to not be poor ever again, this reminds me of a story of a lady called Lisa Nichols echoed a similar statement, “I will never be broke again”

We must resolve, that's the starting point. You can tell yourself, "I will save 5, 10, 20m in one year, I will reach half a billion by 40, I will save and invest 'x' amount of money every month, I will study financial education so that I can make better money and investment decisions, etc."

In the interview Amos shares a line that says, "When I think about poverty and how much I went through poverty, I do not waste any resource that I get as a person. In fact, a day of a hungry man, should be a day of inspiration for him."

Abraham Lincolns Story:

Digging a little deeper into the story of Lincoln, From his book, "How To Develop Self Confidence and Influence People by Speaking." Dale writes, "Lincoln walked to borrow every book within fifty miles of his home. Log fire was kept all night in his cabin sometimes he read by the light of the fire. As soon as it was light enough to read in the morning, he rolled over his bed of leaves, rubbed his eyes, pulled out a book, and began devouring it."

We wonder why Lincoln had some of the best speeches but it goes back to his resolve, determination and thirst for knowledge. If he could walk within fifty miles to read, have a log fire to read, wake up and read, then what he pictured himself becoming allowed him to embrace the pain of the process.

How do the above insights and stories from my friend who went to study in SA and Lincoln speak to us about our personal finance. Some people sit back thinking it's too hard to attain what the high fliers are attaining. The high flyers are up there because they went an extra mile. They did not just stop at believing or saying, "I wanted to be wealthy." They acted on their dreams inspite of the hardships they faced. 

  • It is possible to get out of debt, you must resolve;
  • It is possible to start investing and living a debt free life but you must resolve.
  • It is possible to attain any kind of education without excuse but you must resolve.
  • It is possible to fund that dream, company, factory from your savings and investments but you must resolve.

 “Fuss has never led anyone to success.” says Julian Wilson. With your determination and plan, get yourself rolling. As Amos Wekesa kept growing, he kept saving and investing for his next goal just like he did to register his company, to rent his first office space under a stair case, to buy his first car for business, etc. 

I conclude this by rechoing what Amos said when he resolved he would never be poor again, He said, "I said No! I now have knowledge I am not poor anymore, I knew my gift and I knew I  was good with tourists and with Tourism as a subject."

We can see from his experiences, he kept gathering knowledge and every experience contributed to his growth. Knowledge is important and many people perish for lack of it. This applies to any discipline including financial education. Dr. Sunday Adelaja says,"Your pocket might be empty today, but if your mind is filled up, then you are not poor. It is just a matter of time before your filled mind will cause your pocket to be filled up." and Benjamin Franklin says, "Take the money out of your pocket and put it in your mind."

Let us resolve to be great and grow in our financial knowledge because as Abraham Lincoln told the young lawyer, "Your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other one thing." Those who learn, earn. Resolve today to get that big hairy financial goal. Resolve to have financial peace, freedom, investments, etc.

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