I was supposed to be in Kumasi this week for a series of very important meetings with 3 of my former lecturers so I decided to leave for Oseikrom on Friday 18th of October to have enough rest during the weekend before my meetings began on Monday.
This was my plan until I saw an advertisement of the Vodafone Woman 2.1 summit on TV with one of my favorite TV presenters, Anita Erskine as the host. I immediately changed my plans of going to Kumasi this weekend to the next weekend just because I wanted to attend, and also see Anita Erskine in person.
I had heard of this summit during my days on campus but I never really bothered going to any of them because I assumed I already knew what was likely to happen there. As usual, accomplished women telling their struggles in life and how they have managed to make it to where they are now.
This was nothing new to me because anyone who knows me very well would realize that personally on my own, I am always researching into the lives of change makers in the world and felt I knew enough of those stories to keep me moving in life. Not to talk of the countless motivational books I have invested in, and keep investing in.
Those who were aware of the essence of me being in Kumasi this weekend, were baffled when they found out I had postponed my journey. All the same, I began with my preparations towards the summit with an already made up mind!
Two days to day 1 of the Woman 2.1 summit, I went to Circle amidst the heavy traffic from my office in Osu to get a new shoe to wear to the summit. I selected my outfit a day to the first day of the two day summit with the help of my elder sister, ironed and hanged it. My note pad, pencil, and my Samsung tablet were all set to capture notable moments of this day.
On the ticket I had purchased in advance at Busy internet, starting time from the program was 9am and since according to my research about the speakers, majority of them have studied or lived at a point in their lives in foreign countries and so by virtue of that, I was so convinced that this show was going to start at exactly 9am to prove the virtue of punctuality that is usually associated with the white man.
My alarm was set at 5am but I simply don’t know how come it was Nana Aba Anamoah’s voice on TV that woke me up at 6am instead. Well, maybe I need to check the battery in my alarm clock. Immediately startled and horrified by my alarm clocks failure, I rushed to the bathroom and unlike my usual self, I was done in less done 5minutes.
With dressing, make up, Trotro wahala and the journey from East legon, I managed to get to the National Theatre at 8:45am just in time to catch my breath before I relaxed for the start of the program.
I got to the venue and to my disappointment; the organizers were now setting up the place. Backdrops were now being mounted; the auditorium was not yet ready so myself, including those who had come on time were asked to hang around till they had prepared the place.
We sat somewhere amidst transporting of wood from one end of the entrance to the other, pounding noises from hammers being smashed unto nails, raising of banners and organizers shouting on top of their voices in a variety of local languages to each other over our heads.
For many of us, it was very uncomfortable. We were later asked to enter the auditorium for which we were so relieved to finally escape the commotion at the entrance. Little did we know that maybe staying outside a bit longer would have been better.
The sizeable audience that had pulled up, including myself took our seats comfortably staring at an empty stage as the guys in charge of sound went on with their sound check. So between the “testing mic one two! one two!” and the screeching feedback from the microphones, we also got to witness the rehearsal of a performance we were to witness when the show officially began.
Already, people had begun to complain seriously about their disappointment and the many inconveniences we were experiencing. The long and short of it is that, instead of the stipulated 9am, it started at 10.30am, which is a whole 1hour 30mins after the stipulated time.
So on an empty stomach; I sat in my chair grudgingly waiting to see if they had anything better for us that could compensate for the inconveniences so far. After a casual apology like we had all anticipated, the show set off with an opening music performance.
However, all our complains immediately vanished as soon as the host, Anita Erskine opened with an introduction that not only changed my original purpose of just wanting to see her in person, it also heightened my expectations suddenly for what the rest of the speakers had prepared for us and like the wind, our frustrations had been whisked away. Because her open remarks, was more than just a remarks. Anita, doing what she does best, soothed us with her usual lively personality and we soon forgot how mad we were at the organizers.
One by one, the ambitious, forward thinking and successful young African women blessed us with knowledge. The kind that I don’t think I have come across in any of the motivational books that I have read. For once in a very long time, I was actually proud to be a woman and an African. Anita was on point with her delivery and the humor she brought to the conference will forever be remembered.
Although day two of the summit also saw a similar delay in the start of the program, on the whole it was an epic summit and I recommend it to every woman. It was really worth my time and money and with the kind of contacts I made, I can’t even wait for next year’s edition of the woman 2.1 summit!