From the moment I received the mail to participate in the World Pulse Pilot Project, to the moment I got on the plane to head out to Lagos, I was filled with loads of anxiety; World Pulse powerhouses I would meet in person for the first time, the work to be done, the activities to be carried out and all the exciting experiences to come. I was pumped!
The moment I got into Lagos City, I was anxiously trying to reach out to any Sister available online and I got in touch with Smeeta Hirani. The feeling was mutual - we were all anxious to finally meet and connect in person. I got settled in my room and was heading out to the meeting with the World Pulse Sisters. As I was waiting to get into the elevator, the door opens and 2 faces immediately strike me and I just scream uncontrollably, 'Smeeta'! 'Sister Busayo'! And it was screams and lots of hugging and excitement. Now, notice there was no Hi! My name is Smeeta! or Hi! My name is Carolyn! we just connected the moment we saw one another! Why? The Power of the Internet! The Power of World Pulse! I had been introduced to Smeeta in February by a World Pulse Staff, Sarah Murali, and we had exchanged emails since then. Also, she accompanied the World Pulse team on 2 of the weekly calls in our VOF Program. But, we had never met one another in person. However, the online connections already made it easy to connect in person. Sister Busayo is another powerhouse that cannot be described in words. She is amazing! I had connected with her since I joined World Pulse in 2013 and I had followed her work very closely. Also, she excellently delivered her empowerment module in our VOF Program and she brought a whole new light to our understanding of empowerment and it's connection to achieving our vision. So, I was meeting 2 super World Pulse Sisters - all in the same time and space. And it quickly dawned on me that the next 2 days was going to be the time of my life.
We moved on to connect with other beautiful Sisters and you can imagine the whole new crazy when I finally met Sister Chi Leina, Sister Vweta Chadwick, Sister Aramide Oikelome, and my sweet Sister Olanike Olugboji (who had been my first World Pulse meet-up earlier in March). Screams and more screams as we ran around each other hugging and sharing love. It was memorable! We tried to calm down and talk through our planned agenda for our meeting at Intel, Nigeria. And the next days were days of work and personal connections - building warm sisterhood along the way. It was a special moment in my life!
Our agenda over the next days was to connect with the team at Intel, Nigeria to interact with the trainers of the Intel She Will Connect, 'Easy Steps' training which included a World Pulse content in module 2 of the training, but was yet to record any impact in terms of seeing more women connecting to World Pulse. During the meetings with the team at Intel, each of the World Pulse powerhouses shared their stories of encountering World Pulse and the impact they have been able to record in their communities as a result, the trainers were soon awestruck at the stories of impact shared by the World Pulse women. Very funny how the stories transformed us as well. Although some of us were familiar with each others' stories, it was just mind-blowing listening to your Sister share her story to your face. While I paced around the room taking pictures, I also shared a bit about my World Pulse story and very quickly, our stories strengthened our bond and the Intel trainers immediately realized that they had not really encountered World Pulse themselves. It became conclusive that this was the reason the World Pulse content was not recording much impact. We left the meeting that day clear about our next steps, we need to strengthen the World Pulse content and incorporate our World Pulse mentors to deliver the content so as to record significantimpact. In another meeting with some of the women and girls who were trainees of the Intel Easy Steps Program, we shared our stories with the women and girls and they also shared their stories as well. It was electric! Beautiful connections were made, sisterhood was built and the women and girls were eager to connect with World Pulse because they better understood what World Pulse was all about. Even more remarkably was the commitment of the trainers to dust up their profile on World Pulse and re-activate!
Another highlight of the period was our time out inspiring ICT students at the Holy Child College, Lagos where we introduced the schoolgirls to World Pulse and shared remarkable stories the girls could relate to. It was only a few minutes before we started to say to each other, 'This is the Junior Pulse'! It was great listening to the girls sharing their knowledge about the internet, challenges they experience online which include cyber bullying, pornography, and many others. The girls were engaging and enjoyed some of the exciting exercises, knowledge and advice that we shared with them. They sang a song for us, we shared our stories with them, we had an engaging question and answer session and we shared a funny exercise together that got our bodies moving. We had fun with the girls!
The World Pulse visit climaxed in our event with the grassroots women which was an explosion. The women turned up in large numbers and the hall was packed! We shared a fun exercise with the women that built connections and interactions across the room, we played the World Pulse video, shared our stories, presented a drama and songs that mobilized the women to action! Our stories are very powerful indeed! By the time the drama was going on, the women were already signing up to World Pulse via their phones and tablets. And at the end of the event, the women were signing up to World Pulse with the support of our Sisters in the room.
While I missed the final outing because I had to return to my City, I could tell it was fun and exciting. The visit to Sogunro Community has been excellently reported by Sister Chi Leina and you can read it here. World Pulse visit to Lagos, Nigeria was a power-packed event and it was memorable for all the warm connections in the house. And yes! shout out to our World Pulse Suite in Lagos, our Air BnB lodge that had the best hosts you can imagine. Nneka and Adaeze made our stay in Lagos 'home away from home' and we were comfortable to coordinate our daily de-briefs as well as rehearse our drama and songs for our event with the women. World Pulse in Lagos would be forever treasured in my heart and I eagerly look forward to next year! Shout out to World Pulse Powerhouses: Sister Smeeta Hirani! The endearing and warm presence of World Pulse HQ in Nigeria! Sister Chi Leina! A super-energetic and vibrant sister you never recover from meeting. She was our wonderful music director! Sister Busayo Obisakin! The chief powerhouse and super storyteller. She shared great grassroots women songs as well and led us in a powerful WOMEN chant! Sister Olanike Olugboji fondly called 'Her Excellency' and who powerfully draws our awareness to our environment! Sister Vweta Chadwick with her inspiring story and fantastic drama presentation alongside Sister Busayo! Sister Aramide Oikelome who is the epitome of coordination and planning, she subtly works out everything before you get to it. She made us comfortable in Lagos along with Sister Vweta! And to my humble self, Carolyn Seamanfondly called theexecutive producer and pacing around our events taking pictures and video footage to capture highlights of our events! This was one experience to treasure for life! Also, shout out to Sister Celine Osukwu, Sister Nkem Okocha and Sister Emmanuella Akinola! Thank you for joining in the activities and sharing with us. This was my first experience connecting with this great number of World Pulse Sisters in person all at the same time. And I was excited to participate in this remarkable learning and sharing experience. Timeless!