Archive | March, 2010

Westafrica!

22 Mar

The Africa Exchange and Leadership Development Seminar (AfroXLDS) 2010 is held in Togo.
I was chosen as one of the facilitators and for weeks I have been looking forward to the Trip and the experience.
Finally coming to Westafrica, seeing the home of my Togolese friends from IC, using my french again, inspiring and training the next generations of Leaders.

3 days of preparation and 7 days of Agenda were planned for this amazing conference.

After a major communication breakdown with our sponsoring airline, I realized on Friday morning that there is not only not a flight reserved for me, but also the direct flight to Lomé (which leaves only 3 days a week) is full. I would reach Addis Abeba (Ethiopia) but then?

Left with the two options of flying to Lagos (Nigeria) or Accra (Ghana) instead I started investigations on how to reach Lome from there. In the afternoon the news were that neither of the countries issue visa on arrival. Trusting in the flight agent that the Addis-Lome flight would open up and I could change my ticket once in Ethiopia I booked a ticket to Accra.
I informed the AIESECers in Ghana and Togo about the flight and started praying.

24 hours after leaving the University of Nairobi I am seated in a university hostel in Lomé with a plate of Pasta and the other Organizers and Facis from Ghana, Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Mexico, Poland, France, Uganda and India.

Lessons from a crazy trip:

1. The long rains allways come at night… when you are searching for a cab with loads of luggage.
2. Ethiopian Airlines does not issue tickets at the airport on Sundays
3. Ghana DOES issue visa on arrival
4. Zain can roam in Ghana, MTN not.
5. Mzungu is called differently in Ghana.
6. You can travel in a car from Accra to Lagos (for less than 30 Euros)
7. A Togolese who does not know English and a Ghanean who does not speak French can still communicate in Ewe.
8. P Square sounds even cooler, when you driving on the right side of the road.
9. The neighbour in the car will ask latest after 2 hours how you see the difference between black and white boyfriends.
10. The Togolese immigration office is on the beach, consists of a desk under an ironsheet roof and operates without electricty.
11. Bodaboda drivers in Lomé dont have speed governours and helmets.
12. East is not West!

Advertisements

8 weeks of crazyness

20 Mar

Wow, I have not written in a looooooooooong time.
The last 8 weeks were really busy, so let me summarize what happened…

January

After the memorable Coast trip I ran for the Presidency of AIESEC in Kenya. The Elections gave the position to the current president to execute the role for another year.
These are just two sentences. They are short and do not at all explain the amount of talks I had with Alumni and members, weeks I worked on the strategies and emotions involved in the whole process. Especially the learning cannot be summarized, self awareness, speaking skills, playing smart, listening to whats behind the words.
Only people who went through a similar experience, can now nod their head wisely.

Thanks a million times to Emma and Gathu!

February

The idea of sitting at home or in the office without knowing whats next does not fit well to me. So Plan B had to be pursued with as much force but dignity as possible.

I visited the country, met members and leaders, interns and alumni. During the week I saw the potential and formed my vision. 3 Speeches later…
President of AIESEC in Uganda!
The 14th of February! Valentine’s Day! My new valentine, Uganda!!
I was proud, delighted and humbled. The amount of trust that is put into me, is incredible. Zu Deutsch “Vorschusslorbeeren”.

The last two weeks of February I went to Tunisia to attend AIESECs Global Leaders Summit (read more here), to learn on my new role, discuss the strategic direction of AIESEC. Of course also legislation (110 countries in one room), External Sessions (I met Robin from DHL again after nearly two years) and AI Elections had to happen to make IPM my so far contentwise best AIESEC Conference.

March

The last two weeks I was in Uganda, for the National Conference. Part of the agenda was to chose my MC team, meaning the people who will lead AIESEC Uganda with me from July. Out of 11 applicants I decided to work with 6 and open 2nd round applications for 3 more positions.
This team is soooo on point and every single individual really skilled and has great results to show!
Just a short summary of the Conference: We really lived the East African dream… Tanzania and Kenya had big delegations and lots of worldviews were challenged!

On the way back from Kampala I stopped for an LC Visit in Moi.

Right now I am sitting at the airport, waiting for my flight that will take me to Westafrica for AfroXLDS, the most important AIESEC Conference on the conference.
More about this trip and the conference later…

A very famous quote of Steve Jobs (link to video) really fits well to the ups and downs of the last 3 months.
“Looking back I can see the dots connecting!”
My time in Nairobi is exhausted and I will now get to know another country in East Africa. Quite probably that the impact I can bring in 1 year to Uganda will be much higher than to Kenya.
The personal learning that the new role in Uganda seems to be a lot higher and I cant wait to get to know another culture!

And the beauty of Uganda is hard to describe in one sentence and after only 3 weeks there. It is mystique, hot, jungle. The skin is darker, the sun hotter. More bananas, less stress.

Let me quote a guidebook:
“Uganda’s reputation as Africa’s Friendliest Country stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse populace, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists. But this amiable quality extends beyond the easygoing people. Uganda’s eco-friendliness is atte…sted to by the creation of six new national parks under the present administration, as well as a recent mushrooming of community-based eco-tourism projects at the grassroots level.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. Where else but in this impossibly lush country can one observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippo and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla”

More later!!!

Uganda’s reputation as Africa’s Friendliest Country stems partly from the tradition of hospitality common to its culturally diverse populace, and partly from the remarkably low level of crime and hassle directed at tourists. But this amiable quality extends beyond the easygoing people. Uganda’s eco-friendliness is attested to by the creation of six new national parks under the present administration, as well as a recent mushrooming of community-based eco-tourism projects at the grassroots level.
Uganda is where the East African savannah meets the West African jungle. Where else but in this impossibly lush country can one observe lions prowling the open plains in the morning and track chimpanzees through the rainforest undergrowth the same afternoon, then the next day navigate tropical channels teeming with hippo and crocs before setting off into the misty mountains to stare deep into the eyes of a mountain gorilla