Mike arrived Kigali around one o’clock that next morning for the event. He went straight to his hotel to get some rest and freshen up for the event later that day. Funny enough, around a few minutes before four o’clock, almost the same time I was awaken the previous day by the crow of a rooster, I was awakened by this same rooster. I was surprised when I read Michael complaining about this same cockerel on a Whatsapp conversation. Being awake then, I started getting ready for my day.
There were three major events for the day – travel to Uganda, tour a few places in Kigali and then make my presentation at a technology holding at KLab.
It was time to leave Pacifique my host for these few days. I thanked him for his kindness and hospitality. He requested me to ensure I give him a good rating for the services he provided for him on his facility – a favor I asked him also to do for me too, to rate me well on my personality and comportment in his property. He also requested I should introduce him to my Nigerian brothers and friends who will be coming to do business in Rwanda. He also told me am free to visit him anytime I come in to Rwanda – either if am visiting or in transit to another country. I wished Africans and other Airbnb hosts would up their games and show hospitality the exact way this gentleman did. I recommend him and his property to anyone going to Rwanda.
Leaving Pacifique’s, I joined other speakers for breakfast at their hotel. It was a good time to meet a few of the people who were working hard for the organization of this event. It was a good time also to see Michael since seeing him in Cape Town few months ago.
At the event, everything went splendid initially. Speakers arrived from places around Eastern and Southern Africa. Michael and one other speaker also arrived from the Americas. The few hours I spent listening to the different speakers was worth it. The theme of the event was: Digital Workplace Transformation Africa. Different resource persons spoke and did demonstrations of the different technologies and their impacts in the Africa and global business space. Topics discussed included the automation of business processes, employing artificial intelligence in day to day activities, customer care, customer satisfaction etc. and using data warehouses in making effective business decisions.
My presentation was late in the in the afternoon, just after lunch. My discussion was centered on a new product from Microsoft which is called ‘Windows Subsystem for Linux’. The inadequate preparation for the presentation was so overt. I stammered and mumbled at each of the presentation slides projected to the wall by the projector. The organizers were kind to provide a bottle of water when they noticed I was uneasy, the water was so effective in helping me manage the situation because as I sipped at intervals, it quench my scorched throat and also calmed my overexcited nerves. This chaos was heightened by another signal to roundup the presentation. The organizers had decided to reduce the allocated time for the remaining presentations for the day. They also had wanted me to conclude so that event pictures would be taken as a few of the resource persons would have to leave to the airport to continue their journey back to their destinations.
One other important thing I learned from the organizers of this event was the fact they had gifts for the audience which was given to each presenter. The presenter was to present each of these gifts to any of the participants who answered a question correctly or showed an exceptional understanding in the subject matter being discussed. This exercise was an excellent measure to ensure participants participated in the presentations and asked relevant questions.
Now finished with my presentation, we went out the lobby for group photographs. The organizers had also made some branded wears for the event which was distributed just before taking the photographs.
The event was concluded after two more presentations – after which Mike and myself decided to take our leave to visit a few places in the town – The Rwanda Stock Exchange.
Ndubisi, the friend I had met earlier at KLab who was also present at the event has been living in Kigali for almost 4 years as at the time I met him. He understood everything and everyone in Kigali. He knew Kigali like no other person. He runs a registered business in the city and many spoke well about him. He was the one who took Mike and myself to the RSE, The Rwanda Stock Exchange.
At the RSE, he introduced us to the Head of Operations, on Mr. Roberts. He took us round their facility. Coming from The Nigerian Stock Exchange, it was obvious they were still coming up. Their trading hall comprised of only four rows of desks with computers, though they had no electronic trading system. The only have eight listed companies (mostly breweries and financial services companies) and a few employees. In term of instruments, the only traded equities and bonds. He told me they intend to get more companies to list on their exchange. They were a baby compared to The Nigerian Stock Exchange which had much more instruments, a larger trading floor and multiple options for people to connect to the trading systems for trading. The visit to this Exchange was worth it.
Leaving from the Exchange, it was almost four o’clock in the evening and it was very obvious I could not be able to visit other places in town – i.e. The Genocide Memorial as I had planned. Mike would go to see the place the next day. I was to travel to Entebbe in Uganda that evening but would stopover in Nairobi before continuing to Entebbe the next morning. I had planned to visit the memorial when I returned from Uganda.
At almost five o’clock, I left Mike and other organizers to the Kigali International Airport. Out of fear of missing my flight, I decided to go and complete my check-in at the airline before going back to the kiosk where I had bought a SIM card earlier when I arrived Kigali. I forgot to make payments when I purchased the SIM card. The security personnel and immigration officers told me I could not leave the airport. Even when I explained my ordeal and the fact I needed to pay for a service I had used, they refused to let me out the airport terminal building.
We took off to Nairobi that evening and safely arrived after one hour. On arrival, I had the option of staying and sleeping over at the airport that evening till 7 o’clock the next morning or getting a stamp from the immigration and continuing to town so I could find a place to sleep for that evening. I went with the second option.
The Airbnb apartment was situated a few kilometers around the airport – located in Embakassi. The owner of the apartment was not available personally but left the keys with the security officials in the estate where the facility was located. He had rented the three-bedroom apartment for solely for Airbnb and during a conversation on phone, he informed me porter he employed to manage the facility had gone home as at the time I arrived. From my experience travelling, Airbnb is a very good way to make extra money on your property or even to invest. In Nigeria for instance, I have met lots of people who are making good money from ventures like this gentleman in Nairobi.
Later that evening, initiated a conversation with Mike, my mentor who witnessed every bit of my presentation to advise me on what I should have done a better presentation – this is also to improve the next presentation I would be having in a few days’ time and also use the tips for future presentation. He advised me on the following:
- Note the time frame for the presentation and stick to time. Ensure time for questions and discussions are factored into this time.
- Have the presentation ready before the presentation date.
- Practice the presentation personally.
- If possible, practice the presentation with someone.
- Share real life stories and experiences with the audience. People can relate things to stories.
- Smile and make eye contact with the audience.