SI Graduate Spotlight: Michael Wacha – Eventually, all things fall into place
Recently… as recently as two Sundays ago, I sat with Michael Wacha on a bench next to a pool. He’d said that outdoor interviews make him feel at ease and allow him to be his authentic self. The Nairobi sunshine had been so welcoming and it was one of those mid-mornings that seem to taunt one into taking a cool, refreshing dip in the pool. Ever the poetic nature enthusiast, Wacha says that this spectacle of consistent warm rays brings a frisson of energy to his fingertips.
Taking in this refreshing Nairobi weather, we chatted in our characteristic pattern, the laughs and the serious intermingled. Profoundly proud of his little and big wins in life, he seemed to enjoy narrating his life journey that landed him on a path to pursue the Diploma in Business Creation and Entrepreneurship at the Strathmore Institute of Management and Technology. He recently graduated with a distinction and was feted with an Achievement Award for being top of his class.
“I know this might come off as cliché,” starts Wacha sounding like a young David Attenborough, “but I believe in forever being a student of life. Every day presents endless learning opportunities and I’d say I am living a very simple yet fruitful life. Growing up in Uganda was an amazing experience… it still is. I was always that one kid who wasn’t afraid of playing in the mud or dancing in the rain then timidly walking back home expecting an African mother’s wrath; that flying sandal or wooden serving spoon landing on my body in the name of instilling discipline and driving my mischievous spirit out of me. I, however, always wanted to make my parents, and myself proud. So I did my very best to study hard and to receive an award every end of the school year.
Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion…
Albert Schweitzer once said that “Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment, and know… Everything happens for a reason!” I was almost transitioning to my A-Level when I travelled to Johannesburg. This meant that I had to miss examinations and the logistics involved in trying to request a special examination for just one individual were starting to prove tedious and time consuming. That one decision changed the trajectory of my academic career and possibly, my life. Coming back to Uganda, I could not advance to my A-Level and that meant that my shot at a tertiary education was increasingly dissipating into vapour.
As we all do at some point, I questioned whether everything really happens for a reason. But somewhere, in the back of my mind, I knew there had to be a reason for it all. I just couldn’t find it at the time.
Any time we fail at something, we’re overcome by a sense of defeat. It’s nature. And it’s part of life. We all go through it. Does it feel good? Nope. Not in the slightest. But you can’t always expect life to be rainbows and sunshine. I could not afford to despair. I took up a course in Management Accounting and did a couple of papers. Some weeks into this newly found passion, I bumped into a family friend at a wedding in Uganda. He’d studied in Strathmore and floated the idea of me pursuing a course there too. It sounded really exciting! I went on to browse the many courses on offer in the University and just like Archimedes in that historic Eureka! Moment, I found the Diploma in Business Creation and Entrepreneurship appealing to my every need and passion. I knew this would be the gateway to an undergraduate degree.
Creating indelible bonds
2019 really was the turning point in my life. Coming to Nairobi, creating indelible bonds with classmates who turned into family, building lifetime friendships and the soft skills gained all through really was a wonderful experience for me.
The recent on-campus graduation was one filled by an avalanche of emotions; nostalgia and elation from meeting my friends after a year and a half away from each other. It was a euphoric moment for all of us, like a family get-together after a long time apart. I feel like I got more than an academic experience at Strathmore. The practical industry visits with charismatic lecturers such as Mr. Oneko and Ms. Kiboro, and the many guest lectures by Alumni and industry practitioners who’d made a name for themselves in the entrepreneurship world made it wholesome.
My classmates Tracy, Shamim and I participated in the Hult Prize at the end of 2019. This, I later got to learn, was the first time Diploma students had taken a shot at the competition. It was a life-changing opportunity where we got to discover a new version of ourselves. I’d say it ignited in us the confidence to go out and create a real and long lasting impact in our society through meaningful solutions. We came second runners-up and we’d have gone on to participate in the next level but the pandemic interrupted things.
I am currently working at TrailBlazer Business Strategies Limited and I continue yearning for more experience on the business front. I still want to pursue the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course as I prepare myself to becoming an industry mogul.
The one thing I’ve learnt is that we should never let a bump on the road halt our journey to greatness. Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going!
This article was written by Francis Kabutu.
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