My name is Jaromo Eric. I grew up at good shepherds fold orphanage. When I first heard of the Investment Year programme I was at university studying a course in industrial engineering. Since I was at a young age I have dreamed of becoming a pilot and as I went through school I was told the sky is the limit since I was performing well. And so I dreamt my future depending on my grades at school, so whenever I evaluated myself I saw something different every time looking at what I did best at school and what people saw in me. It seemed I was made to be a teacher, engineer, artist, pilot, inventor, and pastor, theologian the list could go on and on! As I completed my A levels I was advised against being too picky in life but to take whatever door opened to enable me to become self-sufficient which is one of the biggest goals for one who grew up in an orphanage. Anyway my results for my final exams came back and I had done well so I applied for the courses in line with my subjects and grades. The standard procedure is 4 choices of courses in their order of priority for every student joining university. In the end I was given something I didn’t really want but I took it anyway.
During the first weeks of the semester I hated what I was doing and I told Stephen Langford that. He encouraged me to persevere maybe I would like it after all. I was also encouraged by aunt Karen the administrator at GSF who told that me that it would be wise to take what doors are currently opened now and maybe after I would see other doors opened to achieve my dreams in life, and so with more encouragement from my brothers and sisters I resolved to complete my course get a job then after I would be able to personally pursue any other dreams I have. So I placed my all in my studies and I wasn’t surprised that I began to enjoy my life at campus. I told Stephen about my change of heart but he wasn’t convinced, apparently he and the directors of GSF had met with Steve brown the IY facilitator who had convinced them to try the programme. “Steve brown is a very convincing talker!’’ Stephen said to me. I was also told I was the reason why they accepted to give it a try. I wasn’t convinced at all but Mr. Langford told me to think about it, so I did and still wasn’t convinced. In the end I was forcefully invited for lunch with Mr. Steve Brown at café javas at garden city. He explained to me the whole thing and how it works. I was in a fix, uncle mark the director of GSF wanted to plan and budget for the programme and in addition Stephen told me previously that I had already been drafted in so I agreed to go through the programme. Thereafter I promptly applied for a dead year and started preparations for IY.
Many people who knew me were shocked about my decision to go through IY, I was in complete agreement with them – I was wasting a lot of precious time. But I consoled myself as best as I could. The first weeks of IY were very similar to life at school! Hour after hour of training, lectures, instructions what! This was not what I had signed for. Mr. Brown assured as that that wasn’t the only face of IY. Then came the internships which at the start were interesting because I was learning new things everyday but after they became tedious due to monotony, having to go through the same routine, I was losing the motivation. And the food, bread and beans! The first time I ate that for lunch I wondered how in the world I would get used to such feeding! Apparently the staple food of England is bread and since we were living in an English man’s home ….. But we also eat posho and beans so that’s not too bad eh! Also reading books and writing book reports, I thought I was taking a break from school! Then also the time keeping, every early morning going to work and every evening coming back on time! Sometimes I feel like what’s the point? Then I remember that this is my Investment Year, I have already invested my time and others have invested their money in me, so I must make it all count.
As I write this I have just completed my internship at NCR a company dealing in computers and their maintenance. I learnt a lot about software installation and the like. I have come to learn that am not made to work with computers! Yea IY involves discovering what you were made to do in life, what talents and gifts you have. In this respect we read a number of books and apply their truths in our lives, like for example the book DO HARD THINGS has challenged me to take action and keep my motivation to do whatever I am doing exceptionally every day. Although it’s difficult, this is a good taste of reality! During the weeks of training I learnt many things I wouldn’t have learnt at school some of which are; Work ethics such as keeping time to work and dressing professionally, writing a cv and selling oneself in a job interview, world views and how they affect my relationships in any environment be it at home or at the workplace. Something else I have liked about IY is the freedom to disagree and challenge whatever information I am introduced to. Mr. Brown believes that we learn best through discussion other than being lectured or told this is truth and that isn’t truth, I totally agree with him. I have also met new people, from Kasana New Hope, and also gotten to know my way through Kampala!
Finally, what is IY really about? It’s about knowledge, skills and character but for me it really is about character because by the end of the year if I see no difference in my personal character tested through the truths I am learning in IY about living as a Christian in the world every single day, then I really would have wasted my time!