Report On ‘Excel In Your Career Workshop’ Held On 24th & 25th March 2017
I belong to a women-focused technology movement based in Ghana’s capital; Accra. We scheduled a set of Test Events in Kumasi in 2016 with hopes of getting a new network approved by HQ by the first quarter of 2017. This was to be held on Friday 24th March, 2017 and Saturday 25th March, 2017. Our plans got jeopardized even as HQ declined the request and suggested another set of events in the name of the Accra network. Because no funds and resources were deployed by HQ, we had to cancel these events with the women who meticulously recorded the previous events in a Report to HQ as well as disappoint the very eager participants.
Fortunately, another organization called Coders Who Travel Inc which seeks to mitigate the cost constraints that typically blindsides programmers in their pursuit of meaningful ventures decided to intervene with an international activity dubbed “w.Coders Weekend Series” to sustain the interest of the community who we inspired during last year’s set of events. This was made possible by a recommendation to its leadership by Afia Owusu-Forfie.
In addition to these unpredictable outcomes, the Python Lead who had been tapped to run the Python workshop suddenly had to cancel ahead of her relocation to the UK and I suddenly found myself being called upon by Afia to step in the gap.
So, I was among the women selected to go to Kumasi and chair the w.Coders Weekend Series; to specifically conduct the workshop on the Python Class. As at a week before the event I was still uncertain of my availability, my schedule at work was very tight, I could not figure out a way around it to make it to Kumasi for the event because it is a journey of 5 hours by car on a one-way trip.
I sent Afia an email to inform her that I can’t make it to Kumasi. I just could not find a way to get through my schedule and make it in time for the Python Class. Now, two days to the day of the event, I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. A lot of the items on my plate had been cleared, some meetings had been cancelled and my schedule seemed pretty free for me to make it to the event. I was also surprised to learn that I wasn’t to travel by car but by plane with a FREE Air Plane Ticket from Coders Who Travel Inc. This allowed me to definitively consider working half-day on Friday (March 24 2017) and still be in Kumasi on time. I sent Afia a WhatsApp message that I can make it to the event and take the Python class if it was still available.
Waiting anxiously for a response from Afia due to the time zone difference, I just sent a little prayer to God that I did not want to miss this opportunity. I finally saw her response and it was positive, I can still take Python class for Kumasi’s event. Now, Afia had to arrange for my plane ticket and accommodation, barely two days to the event..
On the morning of 24th March 2017, I received the money for my flight in my account from Ama Nyimah Eshun and set out to the airport. I arrived an hour early to the flight departure time. This was because I did not want to miss my flight due to the traffic situation in Accra. While waiting for my flight, I was able to help Angela, the colleague I was leaving Accra to Kumasi with for the event, to book her flight. I was very excited about the journey. I had not gone back to Kumasi in over a year. I lived most of my life in Kumasi, over 20 years. I had my primary, secondary and tertiary education in Kumasi. I was also excited that students from KNUST were going to participate in the event since that is where I had my Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering and going back to talk to KNUST students about my experience outside campus has always been a dream. Thank you Coders Who Travel Inc. for making this possible.
I arrived early in Kumasi and went straight to Kumasi Hive, the event venue, from the airport. I helped with the setup of the conference room for the event and waited for the ladies to show up. Most of the ladies who came had very little knowledge in programming and did not have a technology background but still showed interest in Python. This was very inspiring. Everyone shared what sparked their interest in programming and any experiences they have had with programming. Afterwards, we went through some basics in Pythons programming and some examples. Angela arrived midway through the class and she shared one of her poems titled “I believe; help my unbelief” at the end of the class. I believe it was a good class.
Vivian Serwaa Bonsu [connected with Afia by Chancellor of Garden City University College; Albert Acquah who is one of Afia’s mentors] took Angela and I to her house where she hosted us for the night. Vivian is the Director-in-training for our future Kumasi network. The next morning, she made some delicious Jollof Rice for us before we set off for the workshop. The workshop was going to be an interview, where the ladies are interviewed and we provide them with instant feedback on their interview. Angela and I were the interviewers for the workshop.
Unfortunately, I had to leave the workshop at 2 pm to catch my flight back to Accra. I got to the airport just in time to get on the plane.
This was my very first Excel In your Career Workshop since I joined the Accra chapter in November, 2016. It was a wonderful and inspiring experience. I learnt a lot from the interview and interacting with the ladies.
We are grateful to Afia Owusu Forfie, Kyerrman, the Management and staff of Kumasi Hive, Coders Who Travel Inc., Statistics Without Borders; one of its members—Loren Velasquez—developed the Python Teaching Slides, Dr. Jill, Vivian Serwaa Bonsu, other colleagues from the Accra network, and all others who helped make this programme a success.