Mark It!! Then Make It.


The end of the month is here, FINALLY. Months with 30 days are simply a blessing in disguise that’s one thing for sure. If you are like me, you have by now sort of laid out your July (Organized individual wot wot!!); which brings me to the point of this post. Croak & Rhyme (C&R) is the first event on my July calendar <I ronno how them 4040 peeps manage to ALWAYS do that. Well played guys> and after Esther Kalenzi featured in the Top 40 Females Under 40 piece in the Sunday Vision, I had to find a ka legit excuse to have a chat with her & rub shoulders with cool peeps.
Here’s what she had to say…
Pearl:What is C&R?
Esther Kalenzi: Croak and Rhyme is a fun event that we started almost as a joke. It was an idea that we came up with in 2013 and it later evolved to what it is today.
Frogs croak and we imagined a group of free spirits singing off key as we raise money for a good cause. We realized that we would need musicians to get people through the doors. We also decided that poetry would complete the package. Gradually, we managed to incorporate all these aspects.
It is a night of entertainment for everyone.
We have music and spoken word. Established artists and then ordinary fans like you and I get to share the big stage.
That is what sets it apart from a regular concert.
This year we shall actually have someone doing that traditional Kwivuga in Rukiga.
Wait, I shall not spill anymore, just wait for Friday.

P: This is the what, 3rd year in a row that C&R is being held? Has it been that successful?

EK: Yes, this is the 3rd year. The very first one surprised us. We expected a small audience and suddenly we could not contain it.
Last year, we decided to move to a bigger venue and plan for bigger numbers, just like we have this year.
To be honest, it is quite an expensive and taxing event to pull off compared to the rest. Like with everything else, we have learnt on the job and each year gets better.
Last year’s was impeccably organized, if I do say so myself. The small team that pulled it together did a great job, as did the performers. We did not make much money out of it. However I have learnt from experience that in many cases, money is simply an enabler. There are more important things and last year I walked away very proud of what was accomplished.
I hope that this Friday we shall do three times better in all aspects.

P: Does every C&R have a theme? What’s the idea behind ‘Past meets Present’?

EK: We don’t always have a theme. This is the first time we are holding an event with it though we had been toying with the idea for a while.
We wanted to have several artistes from the past doing songs we grew up listening to (depending on how old one is) and then have the ones who are currently hitting as well. We thought the blend would be great.
Last year, in a meeting we wondered what it would be like to have Maddox on stage and we found him (long story). This year we thought of Qute Kaye and lo and behold, there he was!
At this rate we should just include a 4040 arm of uncovering talented artistes who disappear from the scene, for one reason or another.
There are several artistes we thought of but we are glad we have this group. They are all stars in their own right.

P: The artist line up is amazing, something that one will probably not find anywhere else. It must be amazing to have so many people on board. Will one evening have enough time for everyone to perform?

EK: Right?! I also pinch myself from time to time. God has been good. These artists could be anywhere else but instead they shall be at our event performing at no cost. They have not even asked for so much as a soda. That warms my heart immensely.
That said we know that they have so many songs, many of them even albums. However, they shall only perform a set of songs agreed upon. They could each easily hold concerts and many have but on Friday, we give you a dose of all the goodness at an unbelievable charge of just 10,000.
Wait, what was the question? YES, the time will be enough.

P: Who will be benefitting from the proceeds of this year’s C&R?

EK: Elohim Children’s Centre in Bombo. They are a lovely group of children. They actually perform at different events in order to raise money that the caretaker uses to take care of them. We are building the girls a dormitory and work has already begun. It’s exciting!

P: Another dormitory, WOW! Are there timelines on building the dormitory or does the progress and ultimately the completion depend on the funds received?

EK: Work began when we got our first funds. We would love to have the dormitory completed by August.
All this depends entirely on the funds we can raise between now and then. If 1,500 people showed up for croak and rhyme (or contributed from anywhere else) we would be on our way to achieving this.

P: I feel silly for even asking this but what is 40 days over 40 smiles?

EK: 40 days over 40 smiles is a youth led charity organization which is all about making the more vulnerable children in our society smile! That is our uncomplicated mandate. We are passionate about involving young Ugandans in positive social change.
We have mainly used social media and fun fundraising events to get the youth involved in changing lives.

P:  There are people who are interested in helping out or being more involved with 40/40, how does that happen?

EK: We encourage people to ‘donate’ their times and skills. We have our graphics done at no cost by Sketch Klan, Blush media contributes a certain percentage off their packages to us, Xfm is a media partner and the artists have contributed their time and talent. Basically, what I am trying to say is you give what you have. We have a group of people who contribute 10,000 (or more) monthly and this helps a great deal. Anyone can sign up.
There are more details on 40daysover40smiles.org. After reading what we are all about, it’s easier for people to figure out how and when they can come in to join or support our movement.



P: What else can people mark on their calendars/ keep their ear out for this year?

EK: When we have a considerable amount for the dormitory, we shall invite everyone to join us for a building session in Bombo.
Once the dormitory is complete, we shall still need to have company as we unveil the product of people’s kindness and hard work.
Our next fundraising event is Hoops for Grace on October 4th.

P: Any final remarks?

EK: Something tells me Friday will be nothing short of fabulous. Why would one miss out on a piece for the history books? I urge everyone to be at the Museum by 7pm. Whether you’re more interested in the music, poetry or simply getting out of the house; you are welcome.
The beneficiaries, the reason we do what we do, the children whose lives we intend to impact, are counting on you and I to make this happen.
You can still contribute to building materials if you can’t make it. Either way, let us get out of our comfort zone; let us stop waiting for the right time or the right person.
The right time is now and the right person is…well that’s easy. The right person is you.
Thank you for your time, Esther.
Follow her (@Estar_K) and 40 Days over 40 Smiles (@40days_40smiles) for info or queries. 
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