On July 14, 2017, the Rotary fraternity in Uganda and world over was hit by the sad news of the sudden death of the Rotary International President– Elect (RIPE) Sam Frobisher Owori. I personally received the news from a WhatsApp chat as I was resting in a hotel room in Nairobi. I had earlier fellowshipped with Kenyan Rotaractors who were excited and eager to be part of his official installation in Toronto next year. At first, I thought and wished it was a hoax and another of those WhatsApp texts that make rounds on WhatsApp before they turn to out be false, but it was not long before I had to accept it and allow it to sink in as more messages were flowing in from what I could call credible sources.
Honestly, I did not know much about Sam at this time other than him being the RIPE. Over the past days, I have attended a number of Rotary and Rotaract fellowships that have been devoted to celebrating the life of Sam in which he offered dedicated service to humanity. This is where I have actually gotten the chance to learn more about him. The stories of his life made me more enthusiastic to read about him on the internet and in the papers. It is worth noting that most of what you will read or hear points to the fact that he was no ordinary Rotarian and lived a life of total humility, determined to make a difference in the lives of others through Rotary.
His vision for Rotary was big. He envisioned doubling the number of Rotarians that there are at the moment. Sam wished for Uganda to have one, two or even three Rotary districts on its own as a country. Currently, Uganda is part of Rotary District D9211 which combines Uganda and Tanzania. His plans and aspirations have been described as extraordinary. It is sad that he went to be with the Lord before his dreams were realized.
In all the Rotary fellowships I attended, there is one interesting fact. While Rotarians are saddened by RIPE Sam’s death, they are not weeping but rather celebrating his life. Rotarians are more energized to realize the aspirations of Sam and what he believed in. Everyone is on fire to do something for the sake of their own. It is evident that while his body is deceased, his legacy lives on, his aspirations continue to energize the Rotary fraternity in Uganda and the world over.
The death of Sam and the celebration of his life has left me thinking – What will my legacy be when I am no longer on earth? While reflecting on it, I would like to pass the same question over to every one reading this. What will the people you leave behind celebrate about your life and achievements? Have you done anything to cement your legacy? Stephen Covey in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People requests us to think deeply about what we would like to be spoken about us and our lives at the time of our funeral. He asks of the kind of character we would like people to have seen in us, the contributions and achievements we want to be remembered for. He further challenges us on the difference we would like to have made in our lives. Of course I hope you take some time to have this reflection.
There is no doubt that Sam is happy wherever he is to have lived a life that would answer the above questions positively. You will hear phrases like; “Sam will be remembered by his MILLIONS of friends”, “His humility was beyond ordinary standards”, “He went to schools worth mentioning like Harvard Business School but never fronted that of himself”, “He interacted freely with ordinary Rotarians, Rotaractors and Interactors despite his status”, “Let’s do it for Sam” and many more statements of a similar nature. Rotarians are planning to create a fund in memory of his contributions. Indeed, Sam has left a legacy that will be lived forever.
It is imperative that we learn from Sam’s kind of life and start to make a difference in the lives of others and make the world a better place. Let’s be inspired to serve humanity through “Service above Self” and live his legacy longer for the upcoming generations to learn from. May Sam’s soul rest in peace as we continue to celebrate his life.
Imprint (U) Ltd provides superior capacity building consulting services by a team of experienced operators with vast exposure. The organization draws its name from a leadership attribute associated with exemplary leaders who leave an imprint (distinctive mark of leadership) on people's lives.