I have that one person, my former executive director when I was in Naija working as the Project Manager on a Rivers State Enhanced Care of HIV/AIDS Orphans, funded by Africare (based in Wash. DC here) ....when I got here, I had wanted to continue working with them, but I lived in Dallas then, by the time I got to DC Metro, I was too deep in school to go there and then, the fashion thing started and the rest, as you know it is history!
Anyhoo, my former boss filled a form for me, just about 3 months into my working with her, without my knowledge, when Hewlett-Packard foundation were looking for Young women working as over seers in reputable non-profit organizations across the globe to sponsor for a 3-month (all expenses paid fellowship in Washington DC). Imagine my surprise when she called me from my Port-Harcourt base, and told me to report to our Owerri headqtrs and gave me a flight ticket to go for an interview in Lagos Eko l' Meridien. The interviewer, Julie, flew in from DC, and after my interview, I had to return back to my PH base as we were scheduled to meet the Amayanabo of Bonny on one of our targeted community Meeting-with-traditional-rulers phase of our project.
And less than two weeks, i was summoned back to Owerri, this time, I was congratulated for being the person picked to represent Nigeria at the fellowship in DC, handed a fat envelope with a business class Lufthansa ticket, 3-months reservation at Savoy Suites in DC, and a flight to go to the US embassy at Lagos for my travel Visa. Hmmm...need I say that I was greeted and treated well and had my visa in couple of hours and had to proceed to the German embassy for my transit visa........
Let me put it like this: Before I knew it, I was flying back to PH, stuffing stuff in my suitcase and was headed back to MM International airport! And was airborne...didnt even have time to tell my parents I was off to my program!
Who picked me up from Dulles International Airport? - My adopted white mum! And she has remained a mum to me till date. And she travels globally a lot, havent seen her the past two years, she was in India working on a project, but I am glad she is around for my birthday and that I spent my birthday with her and her mum! Who made all these first trip to US possible? My former boss in Naija!
And how did I get that job? Hmmmm.....my mum saw the Ad in Champion Newspaper, and she asked my little cousin to write an Application for me! I didnt even know about it, cos I was working at DBN TV in lagos then! Mumsie called me one day to return to the east and go for an interview! I had to read the letter my cousin wrote on my behalf, and she underrated my qualifications I must say though
Anyhoo, at the panel of over 5 people, they ended up apologizing that they could only give me the position in Port Harcourt as against the Owerri one 'I' applied for!! Hah!! See me!!! Who wan work for that nasty owerri 419 and otokoto filled city!!! They didnt know I preferred PH! And the pay was mouth-watering!! And I returned back to Lagos and packed baggage and zoomed to PH!
Long gist! The reason for the gist? Just to acknowledge the one person God used to change my life, if Mrs O did not apply for that fellowship at the Gloria Steinem Leadership Institute for me, I never would have bothered to come this way, because I was more into going to London and then Germany. And all the training and stuff I learnt from that Fellowship shaped who I am today!
And I lost touch with her! Her cell number changed etc....but today, one of the American professors attached to our Women Empowerment Project sent me an email out of the blues!!! He just returned from Naija and they had seen an article and pictures of me as fashion designer in a magazine in Naija there and now, we are all back in communication! What magazine? I dont even know and at this point, dont care!! I am so glad to get back in touch with Mrs O and Mr Smith!! ! Because of that first trip she made happen for me, subsequents trips to USA were easy! And now I am here....itching to relocate again to Naija when certain things fall in place like I am working on!
Thank you Mrs O, if you ever read this, but a big hug I wanna give you soon for believing in me and seeing something in me! I dont even want to think of the hatorades from the other workers who had been there for like 4, 5 years before me who didnt understand why the 'new comer' = Me, had to be sent to US on a course study!! Oh well, I am a blessed baby! Kapish!