Some time last year, i took a trip to Fort Portal for work. It was the launch of a product in the region and I was to oversee it along with a team of others. I am never one to turn down the opportunity for a good drive so I was quick to volunteer to be the driver designate. I love driving on the highway; it always feels like it is just you and the road. Unlike as is the case with the city, there is no traffic, no dust and no potholes. It is sheer driving pleasure. And what I particularly like about this highway is the great distribution of curves & twists, hills and valleys, straights and plains. It’s exhilarating! And all this coupled with lovely views of rolling hills and forests along the way.
The car available at my disposal was one with manual transmission but this didn’t phase me. I usually drive an automatic transmission car but my early driving was done in a “manual” car so I always jump at any opportunity to relive the old days. Also, I like the fact that I am more in control with a manual transmission car. The car doesn’t do the thinking for me. I am truly in the driver’s seat.
So off we went to Fort Portal, good company and good music in tow, all the better to make for a great road trip. Of course the beginning of the journey was characterised by the occasional car jerking brought on by improper gear shifts, but these eventually smoothened out as we progressed.
4 hours later, we were almost in Fort Portal then one of the people in the car suggested that we pass by Lake Kyaninga for lunch. Those of you that have had the privilege of visiting this marvel of nature will attest to its remarkable and breath-taking beauty, but also of the not so smooth ride to the top where it lies. So imagine the conflict within my heart; I would love to enjoy a sumptuous meal at the top of the world, overlooking this beautiful crater lake, but I was not up for the drive there, in this here manual car. But the desire to get there overrode the fear of the journey there so off we went.
True to my fears, the journey there was horrific. It had been raining so it was rather slippery, with the car sliding away a couple of times and getting stuck in the mud once as well. But we persevered. Our goal lay before us and we could not be dissuaded. I was going to drive the team to the top.
After what seemed like the longest drive ever, we could see Kyaninga lodge in the distance but I could also see perhaps the steepest part of the road ahead. Deep within me, I knew I would not be able to make it, but I decided to give it a try nevertheless. Those of you who drive manual transmission cars can attest to the hustle that comes with balancing off a steep slope and even worse so when it is an old car and behold I had both situations before me. I pumped the gas pedal for all it had, all the while trying to regulate the clutch, but alas; nothing. We were not going anywhere fast enough.
It was clear to me now. If I stayed behind the wheel, the team was not going to get to the top; to our destination. Thankfully I had travelled with someone who was a more regular driver of manual transmission cars.
I swallowed my pride and asked him to take over because at the end of the day, we had to get there and it was no longer about me and my prowess or lack thereof.
Like the pro that he was, with one swift smooth move, he got the car up the slope and to the lodge, making me look like a true novice, but at least we were there and oh what a view, what a meal and what an experience we had.
I realised there and then that at the end of the day, we all bring something different to the table. Perhaps I was the man for the longer stretch of the journey for one reason or another; my endurance, my experience on highways et al, but I was not the man for the steep slope. The final but most treacherous bit of the journey. This I could not manage but someone else could. I had to relent control to him to allow us all as a team get to our final destination and I was also not too proud to ask because I was well aware of his strengths over mine and the importance our common goal.
This is a lesson to us all as we strive to get to wherever we are going in life. Surround yourselves with people who share similar goals and who will bring something to the table to help you get there. Also, learn to realise when you need help and don’t be too proud or even too shy to ask for it.