Today 27th September 2017, I broke the ice, I delivered my first Toastmaster speech, the Ice breaker. The Ice breaker is the first speech delivered by every Toastmaster member. Like its name suggests, the objective of the speech is for a speaker to introduce him/herself to the audience or club members to meet objectives of the Competent Communication Manual provided by Toastmaster International. A speaker talks about himself. Subjects vary from family, career or other interesting experiences or all of these. I spoke about the year I turned eight. My speech won the Best Speaker Award of the day, which I wouldn’t have won without the help of my Toastmaster mentor, Karim. And oh, I got a standing ovation from two members.
But first, what is Toastmaster? At its simplest, Toastmaster is a club where members and guests practice public speaking, general communication and leadership. It is a safe, supportive place where participants are allowed to make mistakes, learn and grow from their mistakes. Here is more information on ToastMaster. Below is my speech, I must admit, I forgot a line or two.
8 Years Old
So I wanna start by inviting you all to take a trip to the past-to when you were eight. The question is what do your remember from that year?
Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and Guests, good evening!
The year I turned eight was a profound year for me. I would like to share three things that happened, that set my life on its path. The path that brings me here today.
- I got confused
One day my mother decided to take me on an 8 hour-long bus journey, from western to central Uganda. A journey that would take me to my new home. There, I met my father, my four siblings and step mother and other people who lived there. Their way of life was different from what I was accustomed to. So my language, experiences and anything I had known before then became utterly useless. The sudden changes messed with my little mind, and left me a bewildered 8-year-old girl.
- I met my first role model
My step mother was a nurse at a local hospital. She wore a white dress, a blue belt and a white little hat to work. She looked angelic. Like the angels my birth mother had told me about before I was eight. Neighbours from far and near often came home seeking her help. Watching her go about her work with passion, diligence and a soothing smile ignited a fire in me.
Second role model
Later that year, I met my second role model. Caesar-one of my siblings. Caesar was smart, he topped his class in the final exams. I learnt that he always came first. My parents were super proud and spoke very highly of him. These are things I wanted for myself. I wanted my dad, stepmother and most definitely my mother to be proud of me (am sure they were). I desperately wanted to be Caesar-to be like him. I later inherited his clothes, his books and copied his handwriting word for word.
My calling and career
What I didn’t inherit though, was his brain. Caesar went to medical school and became a surgeon. However, the seeds of hard work and aspiration were already rooted when I was eight. I later found my calling; studied Business IT at university and started my career as a programmer or software develper. Two years later, I went into project management. Got opportunities to work in Nairobi- Kenya, Dar es salam- Tanzania, Joberg and Capetown in South Africa. I visited Rwanda, Botswana, Swaziland and Ethiopia, some of the very beautiful countries in magnificent Africa.
Marriage-In 2011, I got married and followed my husband to Edinburgh in Scotland. There, I fell in love with the city; the architecture, the history, the language, the people and I loved tap water. The water tasted crisp, like it had Scottish whisky or my favourite white wine.
I progressed my career; worked in IT, education, and banking. I completed graduate school. I traveled within the UK. I met wonderful people and had amazing experiences.
Move to Dubai-Last year I followed my husband yet again to Dubai which has been home for nine months.
- I received my ultimate gift
In 2002, I lost my birth mother after a short illness. My father had passed on two years before. At her funeral, it struck me. Without sounding dramatic I realised that my mother had in fact given me my ultimate gift when I was eight. The gift of a family that deeply adores me, including the most delightful kind-hearted and loving step mother. I don’t know what life would have been like with my birth mother, I know this though. My step mother mothered me since I was eight. She taught me values especially the value of self-love and love for others. With this realisation, I said goodbye to my birth mother and turned to hug my step mother.
Today, I strive to be a better person and a leader-like everybody here. To me, this means many things, for instance I have a responsiblity to fight stereotypes and there are so many stereotypes all around us, to give everyone a chance and to be fair. So tonight I invite you to judge for yourselves, are all stepmothers really wicked?
Mr. Toastmaster, Fellow Toastmasters and Guests, thank you for listening.
What did I learn from the experience? …to be continued after I have done nine speeches or projects from the Competent Communication Manual from Toastmaster International.
Thank you for stopping by 😃