Years ago, when I got an email invitation to speak all the way in Nairobi at #CMSAfrica15, I read it, closed it, opened it three days in a row to read and close again. Many would not believe it, but I have some degree of stagefright - put me in a room of people, and I can summon the courage to mingle, but put me under a spotlight, on a stage, a podium or raised dias to speak to a crowd, and I got cold feet and tongue-tied.
So, when I found myself traveling to Nairobi, to speak at CMS Africa 2015, I was shaking all the way. I was touched by the warmth I received from everyone I met. I made instant friendships that have stood the test of time, at the event. I felt sorry to leave so soon afterwards, but I had a breastfeeding baby to run back to.
Little did I know that I would get to see my friends again the following year, this time in Kampala, Uganda, at #CMSAfrica16.
What brought me back the second time, was not the profit made the first time - truth be told, being a speaker for the CMS Africa event meant that you were a volunteer, and only your accomodation and feeding during the event taken care of, if at all. Travel costs and other miscellaneous were totally your responsilibity. What brought me back was the power of friendship I enjoyed during my stay in Nairobi. The minute anyone realized I was Nigerian, I got treated with a higher degree of warmth and everyone wanted to make me as comfortable as possible.
Kampala was more fun because I traveled with my family, and we spent more days than I had done the previous year.
The trip was made memorable however by several people, but one person stands out: Fred Abu.
His name sounds very Nigerian, and he does look like one of us. His firm was the official host for CMS Africa 2016, in Kampala, Uganda.
He runs WebStar, an I.T. firm similar to Daydah in Kampala.
He went out of his way to ensure we were extremely comfortable. I could always count on him whenever I had a question or needed something. The Webstar team even helped to get a cake and celebrate my husband's birthday.
I look forward to welcoming Fred and the other great friends I made, at this year's #CMSAfrica17 summit, in Abuja, NigeriaBLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS