Mozambique @ SSA GDG Summit in Lagos

Everything about the weekend I spent in Lagos attending the SSA GDG Summit 2017

The GDG SSA Community Summit 2017 was a conference that took place in Lagos (Nigeria) on September 22th. It gathered together 100 Google Developer Groups (GDG) organizers and 50 Women Tech Maker (WTM) leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa. As a Google Developers Group organizer (for GDG Maputo), I have been invited to attend the Summit and I gladly accepted the invite.

I was very excited to attend to this event as it was the first summit I attended as a GDG Organizer and also the first time I visited Nigeria. (since we’re talking about first times, I’ll let it be clear that this is also my first blog post in english, so I apologize for any grammatical errors).

I decided to write this blog post to answer these trending FAQs:

How was the trip?
How was the Summit?
How did you like Lagos?

So let me tell you the whole journey.

Day 1 (thursday 21/09) — The Trip ✈️

Maputo International Airport’s Entrance

The day started early as I had to travel on connected flights (Maputo — Johannesburg — Lagos). I left Maputo at around 11am and arrived in Johannesburg an hour later. Then 3 hours later I had to get a 5-hour flight.

Touched down in Lagos at night and even before leaving the plane I met the amazing Kudzai Chasinda (GDG Harare Institute of Technology) who was with his great compatriot Andrew Sithole. And when we were leaving the airport I also met this beautiful woman named Rachael Orumor (WTM Benin) and found out that there were more GDG leads from neighboring countries that came on the same flight.

After the introductions were made, we left to a restaurant (Jevinik Place) to have dinner (and also get to know the others)… When it was time to order, me and Kudzai (aka Kudzie Chase) could only think of one thing: Jollof Rice ✨. And that’s because it is a famous nigerian dish (Thank you Osvaldo Maria for the reference 😃). Sadly, they were out of Jollof (the other GDGs and WTMs probably ordered it all) so we had some coconut rice instead 😓. We also tried (first time) plantain and loved it. For those of you who never had plantain, let me give you Kudzie’s description:

“Tastes like something between a potato and a sweet potato. I love it”

After the nice meal we left to our hotel (the Sojourner) to get some sleep (extremely important after spending 6h flying) since the Summit was on the following day. Each hotel room was booked for 2 GDG organizers, so that’s when I met my roommate (and now friend) Anthony Limo (GDG Kabarak).

Day 2 (friday 22/09) — The Summit 🔥

We left our hotel at 7:30 am and headed to the hotel were the event was taking place (The Renaissance Hotel) to have breakfast. Apparently, there was some delay with the breakfast so we took that time to network. I, personally, met so many people that I can’t even remember all of the names (it’s not easy to remember more than 50 names in a single day).

And just like in every Google Event we got free swag: T-shirts, notepads, pens and bags GDG branded. 🎉

When at the conference room, we have been amazed with inspiring talks and stories from other GDGs, GDEs, GDG Veterans and other Google members. Some of my favorite ones were: Fund Raising (by Hanson Johnson), Diversity (Dorcas Owinoh), Community Impact(Roina Ochieng), GDG Best Practices (Sharon Ud Georgewill), Android Learning Community (Alimi Eyitayo) and Community Development Essentials (Babajide Duroshola).

Prosper Otemuyiwa, the High Priest of Open Source

Here are some great tips and lessons I learned from this summit:

  • Do not expect your community to survive from one single fund source. Find different ways to raise funds for your community (selling stickers, gifts, souvenirs, shirts and ad spaces);
  • Create a code of conduct for a more inclusive and peaceful environment;
  • Make this code of conduct + some guidelines + documentation easy to find;
  • Arrange chats into different channels and keep the moderation on fleek;
  • Welcome new members personally;
  • Don’t be a loner: join communities and be active on them;
  • Look to help without being asked;
  • Programmers do get married (LoL);
  • Lookout for ways to serve and give the best of yourself.

The best part of the day was definitely the lunch time. Not only because we got to eat jollof (woo hoo 👏) but because I was part of the focus group — a group of 3 different GDGs and 3 WTMs who would have lunch with Jennifer Kohl and Sheny Bhopti (Developer Relations @ Google) to share their feedback, concerns and lessons learned from the GDG program. The conversation went very well and I believe everyone enjoyed it.

Some fun at the photo booth before leaving the Event

At the end of the event we headed back to our hotel to freshen up before going to the After Party at Amber Residence… At the party, there was nice food, refreshments and music and we all had a good time!

Day 3 (saturday 23/09) — The Goodbye 👋

It was the last day, but our flight was scheduled for the night time. I’m talking about the Southern Squad: Kudzie and Andrew (Zimbabwe), Kesego and Precious (Botswana), Emilia and Anna (Namibia), K Gundula (aka K-G from South Africa). So we decided to spend the afternoon going around the city.

When we took an Uber (left pic) and then a Bus (right pic)

The city is amazing, no wonder why some residents said it is “the city that never sleeps”. Here are a few things that don’t happen in Maputo:

  • The city is always busy - there’s so much traffic on the road (even on Saturdays) it’s unbelievable.
  • The buses have a unique style. They’re yellow colored and the benches are made of wood and metal.
  • They fix signs like “Mind the glass” on every glass door. I didn’t really understand why. But it’s pretty interesting.
  • They are more evolved than Mozambique. You can get taxi services like Uber in the city. (We don’t have those in Maputo)
The Southern Squad taking one last picture before going to the airport

And when we were at the airport to go back home I thought our adventure was over, but we actually had a lot of fun at the airport because the thing went skrrra pap pap ka ka ka. 😂😂😂

“Guys, I can’t feel my fingers”
In the airplane

We got seats on 2 following rows and had a great time. And even after arriving at Johannesburg, some of us shared one last meal together before departing to our countries. Amazing weekend!

Final words

  • A special and huge Thank You for Aniedi Udo-Obong, Olaiwola Bolaji and all the team who organized the Commmunity Summit in Lagos (can’t forget ma’am Cynthia who picked us up at the airport and took good care of us). It was an amazing event and I really enjoyed it. Hope to come back next year for more fun!
From left to right: Kudzie, Me, K-G, Jane and Mariam
  • A second Thank you for Mariam (WTM Ilorin) and her friend Jane who took us around Lagos. You girls were the real MVPs.
  • It was a great pleasure to meet you guys Aniedi, Lai, John, Charles, Anthony, Kudzie, Andrew, Kesego, Precious, Emilia, Anna, K-G, Rachael, Ibrahim, Slick, Mfawa, Mustapha, Said, Barke, Femi, Samuel, Solomon, ValentineRutto, Jennifer, Sheny, Vivian, Prosper and everyone who I did not mention here. Hope to see you again soon!
  • If you are interested in being a part of the GDG Community, find a GDG Chapter next to you. If it does not exist, start your own.

More about the event

  • Follow the hashtag #WTMSummit on social networks to see posts and pictures about the Women Tech Makers Summit that took place on Sep 21th
  • Follow #GDGSummit for posts and pics from the GDG Summit
  • Videos coming soon! I’ll update this post with the links
One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.