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Do Something with What You Have


In my late teenage years (about 1990), I remember Jackson, a dear adult male family friend disclosed to me his HIV status. Jackson -RIP(not real name), a freelance local journalist told me he had just tested HIV positive and sought advice from me on what he should do. He had heard that treatment for AIDS was now available (though very expensive and not readily available). This revelation caught me with shock since at that time nobody could openly talk about HIV/AIDS, I was just a little girl approached by an adult for help and information,….I had to compose myself and counseled Jackson, I assured him that The AIDS Support Organization (TASO) was the right place to seek more information and treatment, I encouraged him to accept the situation. It then dawned on me that information is something everyone requires to make the appropriate decisions in life, irrespective of age, sex, economic status, color, size or otherwise. This was a rare situation because in my culture, adults are ‘supposed’ to have more information on anything compared to young people.

But it was at this moment I pondered and learnt that we don’t need so much to create change in our communities. How many times do we appreciate ourselves? Many times we feel inadequate to make the slightest contribution. Success begins the moment we understand that life is about beginning and yet in life this is the biggest stumbling block to most of us getting on our feet to achievement. It’s not uncommon to hear this comments, “But I don’t have an education….I don’t have money….., I am just a woman…., I don’t have the time……” are some of the reasons we have given for not beginning something that could take us to heights. We tend to underestimate what we have. Like John Masons says in his book ‘Imitation is Limitation’ “Start where you are and you can only start with what you have, not with what you don’t have”. What you have obviously makes sense. The issue is, suppose you don’t get what you don’t have, then you will not start and you will not achieve success!!

Have we ever wondered that, opportunity is always where we are, never where you were or where you will be? i.e. the community where you are, the skills you currently possess, the knowledge you have, the voice you have….So the challenge and question for all of us today is, what are we doing with the things we have? Each of us has the ability to begin to create what we need from something that is already here.

Like Howe says “People always neglect something they can do and try to do something they can’t do”
Roosevelt Teddy’ ‘Do what you can with what you have, where you are” to be successful do what you can”.
Ken Key Junior “To be upset over what you don’t have is a waste of what you have because you can’t have what you don’t have”.

But most importantly, you can’t know what you can do until you try. The most imperative catalyst to reach your dream is to start right where you are. Therefore, the ability to understand that you can do something with what you have is what we all ought to know and appreciate.

I like this remark by Edward Everret Hail “I can’t do everything but I can do something and I will not let what I can’t do interfere with what I can do” it keeps me active and motivated.



Barbara M Bracewell's picture

Just make the first step

You are right Ikirimat. All it takes is that first step of faith and the belief that you can do it.There may be obstacles in the way but, if we search long and hard enough there are bound to be solutions! Keeping a positive outlook and attitude always is the way to go.


dbunton's picture

Ikirima, First and foremost,


First and foremost, I want to send my blessings and condolences to you and Jackson's family and friends. I wish that access to prevention, medications, and treatments, were readily available for all. This is why we gather in communities like World Pulse and Pulse Wire.

Yes, we do have to make way with what we have. We also need to make sure that everyone has equal access to information, such as where to seek counseling and treatment for health and emotional issues.

Your story, motivational, and inspiring, reminds me of what "must" be done, rather than what "could" be done. I am grateful that I stopped by to read your words. They touch my heart, and further motivate me to get going, keep going, and never feel inadequate.

I think it's now time to boil some maize dough!

Darren Bunton

AchiengNas's picture

Very true

Sister Ikirima,
You are such a great voice. Thank you for sharing your insight.
The smallest things we do to others and to the planet turn up to build great impacts EVER. True we can never start until we start. Anything from a noun, or a verb can change this world. Think about the impact of VOICE through this platform and how it is transforming the globe today.
Kind regards,


I believe everybody has the potential to live a better life. Given the Opportunity, Education and Motivation ANYONE can become someone admirable. Nobody is a NOBODY, everybody is SOMEBODY.

treasureland's picture

Correct, Ikirimat

That's very correct. We can start from where we are and with what we have. Lets all start somewhere.


Okeny-Lucia's picture

Hey Sister

Congrats for our efforts.Check me out in my journal .Good day.HIV/AIDS still remains a menace in East Africa, right now there is the challenge of new reinfections.How do we deal with it? It calls for consorted efforts.
Enjoy your day.

Lucia Buyanza
Reproductive Health

SAsong's picture


On being a VOF 2011 Correspondent! Soo proud of you...I enjoyed reading the piece and my favorite quote was "The issue is, suppose you don’t get what you don’t have, then you will not start and you will not achieve success!!"...very wise words. Hugz!

ikirimat's picture

Thanks SAsong

Thanks SA so much for the appreciation but more so those striking and motivating words you shared with SHIP and the students in Nyabitete, Luzira S.S and Nyakibale about many things, values, empowerment, woman worth among others. They are my strength and motivation and for the SHIP team as well. See you again.

Grace Ikirimat

"It takes the hammer of persistence to drive the nail of success."

AmyM's picture

The power within us all

Thank you for reminding us that everyone is capable of making a difference--the key is to act now with what you have rather than waiting until the "right" time or until you have some different set of skills, resources, or ideas. Your message is both powerful and positive. I look forward to reading more from you over the next few months!


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