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Showing posts from 2011

My Journey to my best Christmas Ever.

Please ask me how I spent my Christmas this year. I am serious. If you do not ask me, I won't tell you. My bad! Let me rephrase my question. Please do ask me with WHOM I spent my Christmas.

You are so right. She is finally here. I did not want to tell you that before she comes just to avoid the paparazzi at the airport. I am talking about my wife of course (I know you were thinking that I was speaking about Angelina Jolie).

Yes, this Sunday December 25, 2011, my wife finally landed to Pearson Airport at exactly 12.49 PM local time (I was so mad the plane was 4 minutes late lol). Do you remember our small wedding ceremony last year? It was on December 27. If you can count, you can realize that she just came to Canada two days before our one year anniversary. What a timing!!!

It is simply a divine blessing to finally see her here. I am so happy about that, but I know someone who is so mad about this news. I am talking about the guy who owns a convenient store where I used to buy my ca…

My Journey to Newmarket

As my friend Jim is driving me to my speaking engagement in Newmarket, he just says: I think your next blog should be “My Journey to Newmarket”. And here it is Jim. I kept my promise.

I like to be around Jim, who has now become my speaking buddy. Whenever he is asked to speak he often invites me to go with him, and I have learned to do the same. Boy are we having fun together.

So, on our way to Newmarket, he asks me: “What are you going to speak about?” , to which I responded “I don't know!”. He laughed so hard at my response, but it was the honest truth. I have been speaking a lot the last few weeks that sometimes I find myself in front of the same people who are attending the same events I am attending, so I don't want to repeat the same speech they have heard many times. Good thing that I have so many stories to tell, all I have to do is remember one of them.

And it happened. By the time we got to Newmarket, I saw a number of familiar faces that had seen me speak before, so I …

My Journey to My Friend's Wedding

I must confess. It is really hard to write this blog while watching “The Big Bang Theory” at the same time. This show is hilarious. Add to that my texting back and forth with my friend Tamsir who is learning my native language and wants to impress me with the few words that he now knows...

Talk about a missed opportunity. For weeks I have been waiting for this special day for my friends Nicolas Peks and “Summertime” (that's how I call Nicolas now wife). I don't want to mention her other nickname that I gave to her...

Where was I? Oh yes. Missed opportunity.

I went to their wedding this Saturday, got there 45 minutes before the ceremony (I told you there was NO way I could miss this one). It was just a civil wedding (a small ceremony). The big wedding ceremony is going to happen next year.

Anyways, after the ceremony, I headed to the Italian restaurant where the reception was going to take place. As it was mentioned in the invitation, the restaurant was not going to take debit …

My Journey to a Saturday Event

Just few weeks ago at one of our Goal Achievers meeting, we were talking about doing an event before Christmas at which each one of us would get a chance to speak. While debating if we should do it or not, our own Jim stood straight and looked in our eyes and said : I am going to make it happen.

I have known Jim for a while, but that was the first time I saw him with such confidence. Right then I knew he would do it. He in fact did, and in a big way. He managed to find a few partners to help him promote it, he even secured a venue five minutes away from where I live with great food on the menu (how could I resist this?), and the event just happened two days ago.

We had amazing guest speakers and the audience did respond greatly to our presentations

I remember few months ago when I met Phil Taylor the founder of Goal Achievers International. I told him before I joined the group that my goal was to become a professional speaker and coach. At that time I knew what I wanted but it was not en…

My Journey with an Upcoming Star

This is the second week that I am speaking about stars (trust me, I am not speaking about me lol). I heard someone say that stars are recognized in the ring but are made in the gym (I made that up).

If there is one thing I learned from coaching Basketball, is the ability to spot potential in people before anybody else. I remember saying to one of my players that she would be one of, if not THE best point guards in the league for years, and she laughed at me. Looking back, I truly understand why she laughed. She was just learning how to do a lay up and I was talking about being the best of the best. Guess what! As I predicted, she ended up being the best point guard for years (am I a psychic or what!). Or maybe she had a great (and yet modest) coach.

I can't even remember why I am talking about Basketball. Oh yes. Potential...Let me get to it.

It took me two years to write about this guy. Every time I wanted to write a blog about him, he always said no (for two years!!!!). With respe…

My Journey with A Rising Star

His name is Jean-Pierre Nimbona and he is known by the name of Kidum. By far he is the greatest Burundian superstar singer of all times (that's my opinion). He has been to a place no other Burundian artist has ever been. He was elected the best male artist of the year in East Africa in 2011 and he recently finished his first Canadian Tour which included performances in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal (twice), Calgary and Edmonton.

He happens to be my wife's family close friend (I can now get inside information about his career lol). He is about to fly to Switzerland for one concert, then to Sweden for another one; after that he will return to Zürich for another concert. He will end his European Tour with a concert in Belgium before heading back to Kenya (where he lives) for only five days. After, he will head to Rwanda for a concert, plus play five concerts in Burundi before flying to South Africa. After the African Tour, he will go to the US to perform 30 concerts! Did you hear tha…

My Journey to a Late Blog

Talk about commitment! If I did not know you were anxiously waiting for this blog, I would have posted it on Tuesday. I am writing it at almost 11PM on Monday. Why so late you ask? Well it's because I just got in and I am so very exhausted!

What a week! I think it was my busiest week since returning from Africa. But it was for a good reason. I was busy helping organize a two day seminar which runs today (Monday) and tomorrow. Now, usually I am used to being the one speaking, however, this time I worked from behind the scenes to make sure that the seminar is a success. Today was only day one and we have already started off with a home run; people are pumped and excited about achieving their goals.

Being full time in business is quite a thing. Knowing that it is all up to you can be both challenging and exciting. What a better way to deal with the unknown! You know there is no pay cheque waiting for you unless you go out and perform. And as you all know, things don't alway ha…

My Journey to a Wonderful Year

I know, I know...The year is not over yet. But I am telling you, what I have experienced this year is simply out of this world. I don't even know where to start. Was it easy? Not at all. But I know I am living a life that I have chosen. The choice is mine and nobody else's.

Something weird happened today. As you all know, when I returned from Africa, I lost all my phone contacts (I know you remember my story of 4 phones in 5 days). Even now, there are many friends of mine whose numbers i no longer have; so if I haven't called you yet, hopefully you have a chance to read this blog. Today I felt that I wanted to call a lady who I was coaching before I left. I asked Paul (by now I think you know who Paul is, right?) for her phone number so that we could get back in touch. I sent her a text message mentioning that the Superstar was back in Toronto. Thirty seconds later she called me. Guess what! She had been calling my old phone number (by the way, my new phone number is s…

My Journey to a Radio Interview

Just finished an Interview on Goal Achievers International Radio Show. I am used to be on the other side of the microphone, now I was the one answering to the questions. I guess that's what happens once one becomes a Superstar lol.

What an exciting week! After my meeting with Yvonne Chaka Chaka, it was a pure joy to go to two amazing events. One with our beloved East African Superstar Kidum who had his concert here in Toronto (I got a chance to meet him one on one for hours too), and a very amazing Broadway show with FELA last Tuesday (I am part of a team that is promoting this show). I was sharing this with my wife who told me that I had become a “Mayibobo” (street kid) as I am always out.

It has been nearly three weeks since I came back from Burundi. Even though it's great to be back here, I was feeling empty in the inside for quite some time (missing my wife maybe). I had lost my drive and sometimes it was a little bit scary given the sense of urgency of the moment (that…

My Journey to a second meeting with the Princess of Africa

She is a friend of Nelson Mandela and Bono, she has met the Queen of England, Michael Jackson and many other celebrities and world leaders, she has been at the White house, she has received many awards, she is a superstar and humanitarian, and now she is a friend of mine. How cool is that! I am talking about Yvonne Chacka Chaka also known as the Princess of Africa.

I met her for the first time in Burundi last July and we kept in touch ever since. At that time she told me she would be in Toronto in October. Guess what! She was here for four days. She came here to receive the Development Award from Planet Africa, for her Humanitarian work as UNICEF Ambassador and Humanitarian.

I called her as soon as she got here and we agreed to meet at her hotel (beautiful hotel by the way). I went there and met her and her humanitarian assistant. What a delight! I got the opportunity to hear her new song (not released yet) that she sung with Senegalese Superstar Youssou N'Dour. Wow! A masterpiece. …

My Journey to a meeting with Denise

It's been a week now since I came back from Burundi. I am getting used to my new world (if I could call it that way). Do you know what excites me the most now? It's when I hit a button on my computer and the Internet opens up right away. I was used to wait for a few hours before the page opens up lol.

I had so much fun in Burundi that now it is hard for me to not think about it all the time, especially when I remember that we did something that has never been done before. It was a pure joy.

I promised to tell you a story about my new friend Denise. I know you have been waiting for that one for a long time. Here it is.

We were busy going out there looking for sponsors, and as I was talking to one of our partners, he suggested that I talk to one business owner who could help. We called him up twice, but he was busy all the time. He suggested I speak to Denise his assistant. So I did. An appointment was booked the next day at 9 AM.

I was there ten minutes before my meeting. I waited …

My Journey to a two year anniversary

First of all. Have you noticed that I did not post my blog on Monday as usual? I do not have any excuse. I know that you were stuck on your computers waiting for the delivery of your beloved blog. As they say, better late than never.

The last four days have been crazy. I took my flight back to Toronto on Thursday (yes I am back), we flew to Nairobi-Kenya, then Addis Ababa-Ethiopia, from there, we flew to Rome-Italy, then to Washington DC, finally we landed in Toronto on Friday. To say that I was exhausted could be an understatement. While waiting for my flight at the Washington DC airport, I lost the plug of my Lap top. I thought it was in my bag but it wasn't. When I got home, I used my computer to charge my phone (that I did not use for four months), then the battery of my computer went down.

The next day, I decided to go to the phone company to reactivate my phone to find out that they gave my number to somebody else (lucky dude. He got a number of a superstar lol). OK. I kept my…

My Journey to a week-end in Kigali

Just came back from a quick week-end in Kigali to visit my in-laws before I head back to Toronto. To say that I am tired is an understatement. I left Burundi at 7 AM on Saturday, and here I am, on Sunday evening writing this blog in my home in Burundi. A round trip to Kigali in less than twenty four hours is not an easy thing to do, especially when you had little sleep (I will blame my friend and best man Jeff lol)

The trip was like an escape for me. The last few weeks have been so crazy that I needed some space to think about different topics (could I really?). On my way to Rwanda, I had a note pad and a pen, just in case an idea could come into my mind (I know, I am just like that. My mind cannot stop thinking).I did not want to miss a G-mail (God Mail as my friend Barry likes to say).

As I was thinking about what the last four months of my life have been, I couldn't help but smile. Seriously! Every day when I wake up, I don't really know how things will unfold. Every minute i…

My Journey to a week-end off

After a long and busy week, I decided to take the week-end off. I am taking the credit but it's my wife's idea. I thought of a place we could go, and then I remembered visiting a resort not far from the city. Pinnacle 19 is the name of the place. His owner is a Canadian citizen who built the place over fourteen years ago.

The place is a beauty. It's on the Lake, the owner has planted thousands of trees, the electricity is generated by a solar system that he put in place (there is no power shortage) and the rooms are not that expensive. Did I mention that there is a sauna, and if you want a massage, it's a done deal

We got there at noon on Saturday and decided to go on the beach right away. After a few drinks, it started raining hard. Good timing to go to the sauna for some time followed by an hour long massage. Do you get the picture? I think I will think twice before coming back to Toronto (the paparazzi can wait lol)

The rest of the schedule? You won't get the detai…

My Journey to a meeting with Gandhi

You must be thinking that I lost my mind when I say that I met Gandhi. Don't worry. I am doing fine. I met him only in a story that I heard. Do you want to hear it? I know you do. So I will tell the story

Long time ago, there was a lady in India whose son was eating too much sugar. She tried so many times in vain to ask him to stop eating sugar. After a while, she thought that Gandhi could help. She took her son to Gandhi and begged him to tell him to stop eating sugar. He carefully listen to the lady, and then went: “Please come back in two weeks, I will be able to help you”

Two weeks later, the lady came back to see Gandhi. The Mahatma looked in the young boy's eyes and told him: “Please stop eating too much sugar”. That was it. The lady could not believe it. “Do you mean I had to wait two weeks for you to ask my son to stop eating sugar” she said. “Why couldn't tell him in the first place?” Then, Gandhi simply said: “You see madam. Two weeks ago, I was still eating sugar.…

My Journey to a meeting with Maggy

A friend of mine told me once that if you want to eat an elephant, the only way you can eat it all is one bit at time (of course if you are an elephant eater). That is how I see the project I am working on. Each and every day, my team is working tirelessly to make the project a success.

Do you remember last week when I told you about a place called “The Tanganyika Blue Bay Resort”? I hope you did not forget about it. This time I went to see the opposite. A place they call “ku Mase” near Lake Tanganyika.This place has been polluted it is not even funny. The once upon a time blue water is now black. I won't describe it so much, maybe the documentary we are shooting will show it better than me. It's unbelievable.

It has been a week of mixed emotions. I always do my best not to listen to the news (and I am a journalist. Go figure). It is a decision that I made over ten years ago, just to protect myself against any negative energy (have you heard how news are so negative?). I careful…

My Journey to Tanganyika Blue Bay Resort

For those of you who are NBA Basketball fans (and those of you who are not, what are you waiting for? Lol), you might remember Isiah Thomas words when the Pistons won their first championship (many of you were not born yet lol). He said “Heaven might be like this”. That's how I felt this Sunday when I arrived at Tanganyika Blue Bay Resort. This place is just heaven on earth(click here: www.tanganyikabluebay.com)

I had heard of this place, but it was my first visit there. I went there because I'd heard that the paparazi won't follow me there. Just kidding. It was a surprise to my wife that I secretly planed few days ago with my friend Adrian. My wife couldn't believe it. All the way from Bujumbura to Rumonge (where the resort is located), all she could say was singing Steven Sogo's song “Il est beau mon pays” (My country is beautiful). The funny thing is that she was singing about Burundi and she is from Rwanda. Go figure lol

At her place, I would do the same. Boy t…

My Journey to a Campaign

Guess what! I am staying one more month in Burundi (I know you know that already, I just wanted to remind you).

I also know that you are dying to know the reasons why I am staying. The news is for sale. I am going to give you my bank account for you to deposit the money if you want to know the information

But before anything, a plug for my friends Freddy and Caitlin for their awesome wedding ceremony last Saturday. I heard their MC was like a Rock Star (I am wondering who he might be...)

Coming back to me staying one more month (I wish it could be more than that), I will be working on a major fund raising campaign for a foundation named “Fondation Roi Mwezi Gisabo” (King Mwezi Gisabo Foundation) whose president is Ambassador Albert Mbonerane (he is the Martin Luther King of the environment here). What a blessing! Our goal? Saving Lake Tanganyika.

For a long time considered as one of the best national touristic attractions, the Lake Tanganyika is not what it used to be. Not long ago, i…

My Journey to one more month in Burundi

Guess what! I am staying one more month in Burundi (sorry Toronto paparazi)
Have you heard the phrase “be careful what you wish for because you may get it ”? It just happened to me.

As you have all read in my last blog (and I know you have), I was talking about making a difference in Burundi. I guess somebody was listening (or reading). For one month, I will be working on a project that I cannot mention for now (the papers are not signed yet lol). But stay tune to your local TV station you are going to hear about it. I can't wait to start.

It has been a wonderful experience down here at all levels (getting married being the best one). God has granted me (and I am saying this with all humility) the capacity to help people get or accomplish a dream. And once it happens, I cannot tell you the joy I feel to see somebody's dream come true. And for some reasons, those people seem to find me

Just the other day, a good friend of mine came to see me asking for guidance. She knew that s…

My Journey to My Birthday

As you are reading this blog, it's a national holiday in Burundi. Nobody went to work today. Do you know why? Because it is my birthday (and I am saying this modestly)

This date also marks the anniversary of my third month in Burundi. I have enjoyed every moment of it (most often leading to going to bed at 3 AM). I have met longtime friends, I have made new ones, but most of all, it is the first time I am with all my brothers and my mom since 2002. What a joy for my mom to have his two sons getting married just one week apart! It is a month she will remember for a long time.
While working on my wedding, I found time to meet business owners, government officials, superstars (at least one: Yvonne Chaka Chaka) and other service providers.

Out of the blue, one prominent figure here in Burundi called me a few weeks ago and asked me if I could help his organization achieve one of its goals: financial autonomy. I was both honoured and pleased to give a hand.

This last Friday, I found m…

My Journey to the finish line

What a week! I don't even know where to start (should I stop here then?)
Were you watching TV this last Saturday? I hope you did otherwise you missed my wedding. There is still hope though. Next year, August 6 will be a national holiday for our one year wedding anniversary, and there will be tons of reports and documentaries about it. Then you will get a chance to see what you missed.

Seriously. I don't know how I would have made it without my friends and family. I am still amazed how people spent sleepless nights just to make the event a success (I am still wondering how I am going to thank them). Once again, my wedding reminded me that the best investment we can make is to invest in people.

The event took several months in the making. There have been some ups and downs, but we made it. The whole story is a book by itself. Things went exactly as planned (in terms of dates), but the path to get there was a learning process for me. I cannot tell you that everything was in place…

My Journey to a meeting with the Princess of Africa

Can you believe that I am writing this blog on Sunday? Most of the times, my blogs are ready by Thursday, and then I post them on Monday (knowing that you are all sitting with great anticipation at your computers waiting for them)

It's been a busy and eventful week. Did you read my last blog? I hope you did, otherwise I won't continue writing this one. The event that I was talking about did in fact happen. She was here! And it was an honour and pleasure to meet her, talk with her, have lunch with her, joke with her, meet government officials with her, be her interpreter and the MC at the event in which she was the guest of honour. She is called the Princess of Africa (and she really is). Her name is Yvonne Chaka Chaka
Yes I was with her. I was with THE star of African music for an entire day and evening. I was with greatness. Check out her official website: http://princessofafrica.com/

Chaka Chaka was invited by an organization of which I am part; and she was here in Burundi m…

My Journey to a great event

It's been more than a month that I am here in Burundi (away from North American paparazzi lol). So far, I have not had time yet to see all my friends , but I am having a great time. I have been to the airport twice and it was nice to see some fellow Torontonians coming down here.

My time has been mainly devoted to my upcoming wedding (we are only two weeks away, stay tune to a TV channel near you), but I have been involved in some other stuff as well. I am part of an organization called Heart of Africa Alliance based here in Burundi, and for the last two years, they have been doing some cool things. Heart of Africa Alliance is an organization that was founded by journalists and former journalists who are still working in the communication field, and its main purpose is to promote excellence by giving awards to people who have been working more than others in different fields. Last year was about rewarding those who have been involved in the children rights, and this year it will be…

My Journey to the Mountains

What an adventure I had last Sunday! In my quest to be back in shape (I really need it lol), I accepted an invitation for a hike. It's a club that has been doing it every Sunday for thirty two years now. I grew up seeing them every Sunday walking the streets of Bujumbura but I had never been part of any of their activities.The club name is "Les Amis de la Montagne" (Friends of the Mountain)

I thought it would be a piece of cake. Come on, I have been a Basketball champion (at least as a coach lol), I have climbed the CN Tour four times,so walking should be easy. What an illusion!

What I did not know was that, whenever I saw them walking, it was just a forty minutes warm up. After the walk, they go for a hike in the mountains, and that, my friends is something. I learned my lesson. For about half an hour, we were just walking, and I was chatting with longtime friends of the family who are part of the club, and they were explaining to me how things work in the club. I was ve…

My Journey to a cool week

After a few days in Rwanda, I returned to Burundi with no other plans to travel. I have to prepare for the main event in August (remember to watch CNN that day). However, that alone cannot take all my time. I still have time to relax, visit friends, do some Goal Achievers Work, play some Basketball and run in the morning up the hills surrounding the city. I have also had the privilege to meet some government officials and top business owners so that I could have an idea of what's going on in the business world down here. I visited my former high school, my former place of work, and Le Maquis, my favourite restaurant. What a blast! Their chicken is still the best after so many years (or was I just hungry?)

Just two days ago, I decided to stay home all day, no computer, no work, no TV. It was awesome! All I did was read my book, listen to some audios and rest. I cannot remember a day where that was all I did.

My friend Jeff came over from Rwanda last week-end and spent three days wi…

My Journey back from Rwanda

It's Monday morning, I know you will read this blog a week after I had written it, but I couldn't wait to write this one, as I know you couldn't wait to read it. This reminds me of a story of a guy who was writing a letter so slowly that it started to bother his friend who was with him. When asked why he was writing that slowly, he simply said: it's because my friend, who will be reading this letter, is a slow reader. Go figure!

I was in Kigali for both to see my in-laws and for the traditional engagement party before the William and Kate like wedding day on August 6. You are all invited, but if you cannot make it, just watch it live on CNN.

The party was simply amazing. I was in a traditional outfit that made me look like Eddy Murphy in Coming to America. I was the Prince of Zamunda. It was a learning process for me as Rwandan tradition is a little bit different from ours in terms of the engagement party process. They even had to find somebody from Rwanda who would re…

My Journey back to Kigali

It has been now more than a week that I am in Burundi. I am getting used to everything. I am getting used to eat (very) nice food that I did not cook myself (lol), I am getting used to being mistaken by childhood friends who do not recognize me at first (extra pounds I guess), I am getting used to speaking my broken and almost forgotten Swahili (yes, I am multilingual), I am getting used to meeting my friends and laughing so loud, leaving our neighbours wondering what's going on, and I am getting used to having my afternoon nap (what a delight!).

I am also getting used to changing my relationship with time (half an hour meaning two hours lol), and also having my to do list broken by half as everything is slow. Maybe things are not slow here. I was used to the fast North American pace, but sometimes it's good to get things done quickly than wait longer. That's my opinion.

I am now heading to Kigali to meet my family-in-law. I can't wait. What a great family! Please don&…

My Journey to Burundi

You knew this one was coming. Some of you were stuck on the computer waiting for this one to come out (at least that is what I say to myself). I made sure I wrote it on Saturday so that I could post it on Monday (the Internet here is that slow). Now I call my home Internet “my school of patience”. But I am loving it!

I landed on Thursday at 1.30 PM local time, after a trip that took me from Toronto to Washington DC; from there I flew to Ethiopia, then Kenya, and finally to Burundi. It was a long flight and I had to be at Pearson Airport at 3 AM on Wednesday to catch my first flight. When I finally went to bed on Thursday, I had spent more than 48 hours without sleep ( I think I am Superman, what do you think?).

Some days are more symbolic than others. June 15 was one of them for me. One of the things we do at Goal Achievers (yes, that is a plug for my business), is we ask people to set goals and attach a date to them. June 15 was my date that I had set in January of this year. My goal…