Monday, 3 June 2013

Passion And Possibilities: A Date With The Commonwealth

Travelling within Africa is much more cumbersome than travelling to other continents, not that I blame the airlines; the numbers have to make sense I know. I travelled with a friend so the trip wasn’t as boring but 14 hours in the air can take its toll on anyone...
We arrived tired but happy. The Commonwealth Secretariat sandwiched in the University of Zambia reminded me of my time as an undergraduate: red brick, manicured flowers, carpet grass and one or two traditional styled huts dotting the landscape.

After 4 intense months online, learning and unlearning what I knew about Youth Training, the residential component of the IPYET course provided me an opportunity to further explore the subject and also network with like minds from across the globe. Whatever connection I felt with my colleagues during the online programme was nothing compared to meeting some of them in person.  

At first it was at the Commonwealth Secretariat in Lusaka where we holed up for two days before moving to Kafue Gorge, Zambia’s version of La Campaign Tropicana, only this time, they generate their own electricity :)

It was really fun getting to know the other cohorts;







Landing            Hasinar             Facksons          Maureen           Dennis        Maryam             Elton
Gambia            Madagascar       Zambia             Nigeria             Uganda      Nigeria            Mozambique










Evelyn                  Peter                 Titi                Chris                Wale             Jumoke             Patrick
Brazil                   Ghana                Nigeria         Zambia             Nigeria         Nigeria             Nigeria








 Sula                  Duncan                Rotimi         Matantilo       Zipporah
 Lesotho            South Africa        Nigeria         Zambia         Kenya

The IPYET is structured as a Post Graduate Trainer of Trainers course so a certain level of maturity and superior thinking pervaded the sessions; but, jeez, put too many brilliant minds in a room or on a team to manage projects… you know how it gets :)

It was an intense time with the facilitators whose passion for the job and resistance to tiredness never ceased to amaze me. Classes were practical, hands on and very experiential. Beyond the structured learning, I learnt a lot about other African countries and the very similar challenges we all grapple with in the youth space.

I began to feel nostalgic the last day of the residential programme. An impromptu Cultural Night organized by Peter and Wale turned out to be lots of fun and a befitting end to the programme.

While most of the cohorts had to fly back home immediately after, some of us weren’t done yet. The Nigerian High Commissioner to Zambia heard we were in town for the programme and invited us for dinner. God bless her Excellency, true. When I saw the line up of Nigerian dishes I' been craving for 2 days after getting to Zambia, I gave her a hug.

Our next stop was Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia a six-hour journey from where we were and another six back. I can go on and on about how breathtaking and awe-inspiring Victoria Falls is but nothing can compare to being there and seeing it for yourself.  I felt bad for the cohorts who couldn’t make the trip.

I will do a separate piece on Victoria Falls later, promise.

P.s: If you are passionate about youth empowerment and training and are doing something about it, consider applying for the Commonwealth International Programme on Youth Entrepreneurship Training (IPYET); it will be worth your time trust me.  Find all the info you need here.

I forgot to mention the food. My goodness! Breakfast before your eyes are even open, then tea while you’re clearing the plates, then lunch just when you sit to rest, then tea again, and again and dinner when you can barely move, lol. Two of my dresses lost their zippers before the programme was over :D

©Naomi Lucas


11 comments:

Tijjani said...

I don't know how, or why...I just have a soft spot for that country. Zambia seems to be one of few African countries treading on the right tracks right now... All the same, Welcome back my Lady...

Naomi Lucas said...

@ Tijani, really? It's amazing how the grass always looks greener on the other side. Some of them may not share your sentiments :) Thanks though...

Tijjani said...

Hmmm... Seeing is believing anyway. Then, I guess its the same old, stale tales of woes as in many other places on the continent.

Naomi Lucas said...

Er... not necessarily the same old but yeah a little bit of the same challenges facing most nations on the continent.

Ndifreke Aloysius said...

Didnt know you had a better summary than my "big head" could fathom...Indeed it was a time to relish and ensure we make it count back home in our different countries....One thing is certain...it may be different languages but the same PROBLEM....Different melodies and instrument but ONE THEME.

Naomi Lucas said...

lol. I quite agree with you. How you dey?

Estrella said...

This was a a great read Naomi...Lol at the zipper and food part...i can relate...

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks Estrella. It's been forever. Where have you been?

zipporah konga said...

You were keen on all that took place.That write up is powerful,keep up.

zipporah konga said...

You must have very keen on the activities of each day.It was the most enjoyable learning experience i have ever had,serious....If learning was like this everywhere then none can fail. Kudos commonwealth!!!!

Naomi Lucas said...

Thanks Zipporah. Same here, I completely agree with you...