My journey in tech all began from my father’s little typewriter in his home office. These memories never fade from my mind.
I remember my primary six days; I often got into trouble with my father for sneaking into his office and using his typewriter without his knowledge. Unfortunately for me, I was often caught because I probably had ripped the ink ribbon or destroyed so many of sheets. Every time I got caught, I received a hard knock on the head from my father, and he will warn me never to touch it again. Sadly, it fell on deaf ears and because I always went back the next minute my dad turned his face.
When I went to form one (secondary school), I loved it each time we had a practical session because I was so passionate about it. In my free times at school, I will move up to my teacher and ask for permission to spend at the typing pool and while there, I will type poems, letters and songs. When I got home, I’d take all what I had typed to my dad and he appreciated my work. This made him less stern on me and he let me use his typewriter over the weekends. Oh! These memories are still very fresh in my mind.
That year, we were introduced to computer science… I will never forget that basic definition of a computer which we learnt “A computer is an electronic device which accepts, process and store information.” We drew computers and labeled in our books, because we had just one computer in school and were not allowed to access it for fear of us damaging it. All we did was to stand round in groups and watch our teacher show us the various parts so we can match with what we had drawn in our books.
When went to form two, the school received more computers from their international partners, which was so exciting. During practical sessions, there was always chaos because everyone fought to sit in front of the computer. As tinny and small as I was, I would run as fast as I could to be the first in front of the best computer we had (some of them were always having issues and we all had marked those). There, I explored as much as I could, but not still letting go of my typewriter.
During the summer break of that year, I had the opportunity to access the internet for the very first time, and I created my first email address. Oh, my goodness! I had never been so excited in my life. Creating the email to me was a great achievement and I was so proud of myself. I remember not really knowing how to use it, but I would ask the people at the cybercafé to help me, which they happily did. I was able to communicate with my pen pals and family members who were in other countries. I did not have to go use the traditional post office which took forever to be delivered or got missing along the way, neither did I have to wait for someone traveling to take my “dittoed” handwritten and designed letters along. Whenever I was among my friends, I never stopped talking about my discovery and the fact that I had an email address.
As days went by, I kept discovering more things on the internet and got to understand more about the computer. I learned one more thing - how to print out documents. I spent most of my summer at my aunt’s because she had a computer and a printer. I’d do all kinds of paintings and print out just for the fun of it. This was really a new phase in my life. I welcomed and embraced tech to the fullest.
At the university, even though internet use started being a common phenomenon, many people limited themselves just to Facebook, not exploring the internet for studies and other aspects which it offered. I had learnt how to google stuff and how to use resources online in study from my high school days which gave me an edge over my mates in the university. I remembered getting into a conflict with my mates when we were on an internship because always did all my assignments and will answer many technical questions for our level at that time. My friends thought I was merely being ‘favored’, meanwhile I honestly spent late nights outside struggling with poor connections till morning just to be ready for the next day. When this came to the notice of the medical director at the hospital, he needed to do help resolve the problem. He brought all of us together and asked my mates if anyone had ever taken time to ask how I got my assignments done and all of them denied doing so. He advised us and told them to ask about my “little secret.” When they did, I told them and later that day I took my laptop and taught them how to go about it. At the end of the day we all were happy.
As time went on, I got more curious and carried out a lot of online programs, widening my scope. The journey has been so interesting, and I have been able to educate, mentor, help people, and advocate for people using technology. This has led me to this point of being a World Pulse Ambassador.
I will stop at nothing to get more women to explore this pool of opportunities. I want more women to be confident about what the know and can-do using technology. I am doing all to see young girls use technology for more productive things, I want them to know that just one click can change them for good.
I smile every time I remember my journey to this point, and I am so proud of whom I have become. I feel confident, I feel connected and I am well informed. I want other women and young girls to get this feeling and to be in the knowing, because technology is transforms.