Events: Barcamp Tema 2014

This weekend, yours truly, did not stay at home;Yes! I was present at Barcamp Tema 2014, which took place at the Tema Rotary Club. I was there for three main reasons. First reason, I knew one of the speed mentors who personally invited me to the event. Second reason was my curiosity; I have been seeing and hearing so much about barcamp,especially on social media platforms and from a couple of friends, and I wanted to experience it for myself. The third reason; it was free and after I registered for it, I realized there was free lunch too (very important).

Perception prior to event
Before the event, I thought the venue will be packed, mainly because it was a free event and I know most Ghanians are like me, we love free stuff. But my thoughts were proven wrong. There were some empty seats. That was a bit surprising though because, all one needed to do was to register online or via a short code and there, one had a ticket to network, be mentored, to learn from people and to a free lunch package.

Experience at event
Barcamp Tema began with registration of the participants and the introduction of the speed mentors. If you have never attended any barcamp, you may probably be wondering, “What is speed mentoring?” Well, the speed mentoring session is where a participant has one- on-one interaction with any of the mentors at the event, within a time frame of 10 minutes. There were so many of them on Saturday. There were mentors in the fields of  technology, entrepreneurship, communications and journalism, photography, career guidance, medicine and movie making. I interacted with Emmanuel Gamor of Global Media Alliance, during this session.

During the group mentoring, I had the chance of meeting with investigative journalist, one-time journalist of the year and currently a reporter at a radio station in Accra, Manasseh Azure. The group mentoring offers participants with similar interests to interview or interact with a mentor. Manasseh had a lot to share with the group: from how to be a good writer to being an investigative journalist, and to answering very personal questions on his relationship status.

A few tips when attending barcamp

I was able to gather the following during the event and I believe it will be helpful to others, especially those attending for the first time.

#Get to know who the speed mentors will be.
#Target at least three of them that you would wish to speak to
#Research on them
#Prepare your questions for the mentors ahead of the event
#Put all shyness aside on the day
#Ask questions and take contacts
#Follow up after the event.

Overall, Barcamp Ghana is a great initiative by the GhanaThink Foundation. Young people in school, people searching for jobs and  people who want to just network could take advantage of this opportunity. Moreover, it is free. The networking is not only with mentors, but could be with people who share the similar ambitions as you. Yours truly, I am sniffing around for the next barcamp.

IWD: Celebrating three exceptional ladies

The three inspiring ladies

The three exceptional ladies.

Saturday, March 8, marked International Women’s Day (IWD). I went through a list of all the ladies I have met, and decided to write about three of them. These ladies, I believe are different in every way, but have managed to challenge and shape my thoughts as an individual and a lady for that matter.

Edem Adzaho- CEO, SPEC Consult (photo credit- www.specconsult.com)

Edem Adzaho- CEO, SPEC Consult (photo credit- http://www.specconsult.com)

 

Edem Adzaho – I had an encounter with Edem during a Barclays Bank and British Council organised programme for graduates, about a year ago. She is the CEO of her own company, SPEC Consult. This tall lady walked into a session, very confidently while I sat admiring. She challenged the class to be more inquisitive, adventurous and target the global market as graduates. She admonished us to look for opportunities all over the world.  Spotted in blazers and high heels, this lady shared her experiences and there was never a dull moment in any of her sessions. What made our meeting very special was the fact that she challenged me and others at that point in our lives. How to go global? That was something worth thinking about. In a country where there is a high rate of unemployment, how were we as graduates to challenge ourselves even to get jobs? Most tertiary institutions, do not teach students anything about the job market, from CV writing to making ourselves marketable. From her sessions, most of the graduates developed strategies on how to face the world. Her advice to the class was to write several applications to companies even when they have not advertised for positions or to start our own businesses. I really remember this lady who somehow influenced many young graduates during Blazing Trail, about a year ago.

Avril Kudzi- Deputy-Chief-of-Party, GWASH.

Avril Kudzi- Deputy-Chief-of-Party, GWASH.

 

Avril Kudzi is the deputy-chief-of-party for the Ghana Water, Hygiene and Sanitation project (GWASH).This lady is very fluent, down to earth with a very pleasant attitude about life .  She is married, has a child, had a job,went to get her masters degree and still managed to get the best student  award for her graduation class. I have observed her on different platforms speaking on various issues, if you listen to her closely, I bet you will definitely buy into her ideas. You can walk to her office anytime with whatever issue, be it personal or career-related and this lady is always willing to assist. My whole impression of her is, where has this lady been all this while? Her type should be given more platforms to express their opinions, especially on national issues.

Victoria okoye_africanurbanism.net

Victoria Okoye- Technical Advisor , GWASH.(PhotoCredit, africanurbanism.net)

 

Victoria Okoye is the Communications Manager and  the Technical Advisor for the Ghana Water Sanitation and Hygiene Project. She is Nigerian and American.  I have known her for a few months, and I must add that I have never learnt so many things in a short period of time like the way I have now. She is the inspiration behind this blog, when her advise was, ” blog about anything that are you passionate about.” Victoria is smart and knowledgeable; always willing to teach whoever was ready to learn. Most of us grew around people who ‘hoard’ knowledge or information on any subject with the fear that the people they teach, will become better than they are, but Victoria is an exception. She is a computer/technology genius, speaks french, builds and manages websites, a photographer, knows all about social media, and she blogs at africanurbanism.net, which has been featured on the guardian’s best city blogs.

There, I present to you three influential ladies.

Eastwood Anaba: A man I want to meet personally

Eastwood Anaba (photo credit-www.eastwoodanaba.com)

Eastwood Anaba (photo credit-www.eastwoodanaba.com)

“The poverty in your house will let you think everybody is so poor.”
” The reason we are struggling is, we meet the wrong people.”

Those are some of the quotes from a preacher in Ghana called Eastwood Anaba. I cannot say I know him personally, but I always feel some deep connection with this man. The first time I had an encounter with him was when I visited Fountain Gate Chapel. I didn’t understand most of the things he spoke about then. But the real connection and admiration started developing when I attended the  Love Revolution Conference about two years ago. That was when I started stalking him. I know he preaches on Sunny 88.7 FM on weekdays at 11:30am and he appears on Ghana Television (GTV)on Thursdays at 11pm. I know he is a prolific writer with about 64 books to his credit. He is also a Manchester United fan. His website, www.eastwoodanaba.com.  All these are indications, I follow this man closely.

One of the things that attracts me to him is his articulation; making preaching look simple and his good sense of humour.  He jokes about everything including where he comes from, about the work he does; which is obviously preaching and even about his wife. He never seems to stop emphasizing that he is from Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region of Ghana; an area characterized by poverty which never gets featured on television, unless there is festival with a politician attending.

He also claimed he traveled to Chicago, looked up at a skyscraper which seemed to go into the sky;endless, and he asked his wife, if the God who created the people who made these buildings, is the same God who created Africans.

He testified that there was an experience he had once at the airport when he was about boarding a plane. A man met him with his fist raised up in the air, screaming on top of his voice, “Eastwood, Eastwood I owe you.” He narrated that he feared what the man was going to do and was glad when the man passed by him. He went to sit in the plane only to raise his head to see this same man approaching him, with his hand still raised. He also lifted his hands thinking the man was about to punch him only to realize that the man had dropped some money into his palms. Eastwood added,” I fear to say the man had dropped some dollars into my palms, because of the new Bank of Ghana regulations. So I will say he dropped ‘cedor’, a combination of cedis and dollars, into my palms.”

He shared an experience when his mum raised his dad up ,while his dad was in a drunken state. At that point he realized that there were women who were even stronger than men. With his dad lifted up against the wall,his mum added, “You are lucky a woman is not supposed to put a man on the floor as part of our culture, like I would have dropped you on the floor instantly. As his mum was about putting his dad on the floor, his dad wriggled his way from the woman’ s grip and landed heavily on the floor, pulling his mum along. Both of them toppled down, with his mum falling heavily on his dad. Anaba added.” Those people  respect culture, but a modern day woman will put the man to the floor and step on him. She will then add, God has given us the power to trample over scorpions and snakes.”

He never stops joking about his wife,whether she is present at the gathering or not. One of such jokes is when he said, ” My wife is very quiet as compared to me. She can keep quiet and work for hours while I cannot do that. There was a particular day that I decided to keep quiet to see if my wife will break the silence. I watched her as she worked on her laptop while I was itching to break the silence. I finally decided to break the silence by asking her that , so you too if I do not talk, you won’t talk?”

I really admire this man and the ease with which he does his work. Though, I am not a member of his church, I try to follow him anytime I hear he is having any programme. All that is stated above is a result of me ‘stalking’ him. It will not be bad to spend one full day with him, or is it a bad idea?

Frustrations of an Unemployed Graduate-Concluding Bit

Frustrations of an Unemployed Graduate.(photo credit: www.alternet.org)

Frustrations of an Unemployed Graduate.(photo credit: http://www.alternet.org)

 

You walk home confidently, full of smiles. You instantly change your Facebook status to; “I cannot stop thanking you God, Teller Number 1”. You call Richard, your pessimistic friend, to narrate your interview experience to him, and for once, Richard listened to you. You are beside yourself with joy.

As you pass by that annoying fried potatoes seller, who always gives you the soft ones whenever you come to buy from her, you give her a smile and a wave. She looks at you surprised, because she does not remember the last time you greeted her, but she responds with wave.

In your mind, you see yourself dressed up in your white long sleeves and a pair of black  trousers, neatly ironed, properly tucked in, with your name tag on your chest, KOFI OWUSU. You are so excited.

You walk to your mum’s shop. You excitedly give her a big hug. With that, your mum concludes you have the job already. She picks up a bottle of non-alcoholic wine and pops it. She squeals, “Kofi has gotten the job oo…Kofi has the job ooo…”She starts dancing and cleaning your face with her wrapper, although no music is playing. Now, she was attracting the neighbours with what she was doing. You have to calm her down. But your mum’s excitement was infectious, so you decide to allow her have fun, while you pray the crowd that has gathered in front of her shop does not increase. She dances for about 15 minutes, wipes her face and takes her seat. The small crowd that gathered was dispersing. You decide to break the news to her.

“Maame, I have not gotten the job yet. The interview session only went well, at least from my point of view.” You watch as the smile on her face fades and replaced by a look of confusion “I am only praying I get called for the job.” You add, convincing yourself more with that statement.

Your mum reassures you. “So far as you said it went well, I know you will get the job.” You are persuaded by your mum’s words. You finish the glass of non-alcoholic wine that your mum poured and walked into your room. You throw away the file that contained all the documents that you took to the interview. You undress and lie down as you reminisce about how the day had gone. You sleep like a baby with a smile on your face.

The next day, you keep your phone by your side, expecting a very important call. You carry the phone everywhere, even to the bathroom when you are bathing. You do not want to miss that important call. You go through the day and no call comes through from the micro-finance.

You start the second day with the same level of expectation, but the call does not come through. You go through one full week without a call from the micro-finance. You start getting anxious. What if they have selected another candidate for the position? You call the micro-finance to find out what your prospects were. A lady answers the call, but refuses to give you a definite answer. You hang up more disappointed than before.

The second week comes to an end, and you have not heard any news from the micro-finance. Your depression level hits a level higher. You start planning what you will do when you are not called for the job. The thought alone makes you sad.

You go through the third, fourth and fifth weeks, without any news from the micro-finance. You are miserable and your mum, she is disheartened. Both of you have been waiting for that call for over a month now. You are now certain the job has been given to another candidate. The thought of going through another job searching process frustrates you. But you have no choice. It looks like the micro-finance has rejected you.

Frustration

Sign of Frustration(photo credit_www.zazzle.com)