My volunteer experience

As I stood on the railway corporation compound, looking at all the beautiful people and activities I was surrounded by, I asked myself “why did you ever think it would be okay to deliberately miss this event?”  I had seen the proposed SLAYFESTIVAL reposted by the ‘Bruce Lee of Visuals’ Ms. Kemi Adetiba, on her Instagram page weeks back and immediately got interested and thought, “It would mean a lot to actually meet her in person.” So I took a screenshot of the page as a reminder to register. I didn’t make the quick move to register which was at a cheaper price because I was seriously considering another program slated for the same day. If you must know, it was a FREE TRAINING on graphic design which I already had a seat booked. As the day got nearer, I couldn’t decide on which I should forsake for the other. They were to be held at different venues and within the same timeframe.

Like… which has the greater benefit?

On the week of the event, it began to look like the SLAY FESTIVAL was tempting me to choose her as the reposts were beginning to crowd my IG feed. I would overlook and scroll down only to find more reposts by people but one particular repost by an old friend got my attention and I had to ask questions. It was now Thursday the 19th. Upon enquiring, I got to know she was actually going to be volunteering at the event. This explains the constant reposts she had been doing all week. She told me all I had already known, by now, about the event as I had checked the event organizer’s website (severally) earlier in the week. I knew I had missed the ‘early bird’ registration deadline and I could barely afford to even make the payment. She told me that I would then have to make the payment for late registration. Ol’ boy! My loss, my fault. I thought.
My “neural accumbens” by now was in a hyperactive state and I expressed my desire to volunteer too. She sent me a number and asked that I call and try and see if more volunteers were needed. I tried the number a few times but no one picked up the call. I was losing interest again and by Friday morning, she sent me a message to try calling again, which I didn’t do, by the way. I forgot (PS: making and sometimes taking calls are a bit of a herculean task for me. I’m trying.)

Later that same day, she requested that I send my email address (hyper active state activated…again) saying that the organizers seem to be needing more volunteers. I did send the mail. She asked me to pray that I get a reply. I left my mobile data on during ‘the wait’ which was unusual, for me (those who know know) and kept refreshing my mail just to be sure it wasn’t been delayed by network or anything at all.

After about thirty minutes spent on the refresh tab, I finally got the mail. Yipeeee! God wants me to attend this event o. I thought, happily smiling. I was slated for the afternoon shift but arrived HOURS earlier than expected. Hollup…

The journey to SLAYFESTIVAL

I knew how to get to Yaba, which was the location of the venue but had to figure out the exact place. So I got my friend again to confirm the route which was quite clear. I got dressed and headed to the venue.

From Yaba, I alighted (based on the driver’s direction) on a pathway which was apparently supposed to be a ‘shortcut’ to the venue. Although another commuter suggested that I stopped somewhere further the road, the driver insisted he was right saying he had dropped many other people with the same address earlier in the day. He couldn’t be wrong. After ‘crossing rivers and climbing mountains’ (it was actually just a bridge) I was soon on a railway track. Where’s this place o?  It was looking like the sort of place where someone could get snatched or murdered and no one would hear them scream. I walked up to the first ‘approachable’ person I saw, which was a somewhat old man, to ask for directions and while I was busy trying to read out the address sent to me in the mail, he said, smiling “na that place wey dem dey do something, abi?” with a smile on my face I said, “yes, sir.” It was to be a long walk along the tracks but he felt I needed a ‘guide’ and asked a middle aged man who he knew to go with me. It was quite a distance and we introduced ourselves and chatted as we walked.

                 Guardian angel or nah? 

In no time, I was at the entrance of my destination of about an hour. I quickly called my friend and got directions to the volunteer stand where I got my pass. I walked in and it was a beautiful sight. There were so many people in attendance and the TWP creator, Kemi, was on at the time I arrived. I got directions to get my very own fabulous SLAY shirt, got changed and was now on the carpet. Ready to slay. Lol! It was 12:34pm.

I looked around and soon bumped into another old friend (PS: old friend= we went to high school together) I really wasn’t surprised to see her here and it’s not even because my other friend had told me she might be coming as a guest.

Look who I bumped into, Oga madam herself

I was assigned to the activities area of the event which at the time was a simple task of handing out cold water to guests. It was a small task than I had imagined volunteering at the event would be. It made me feel like a hero (in a type of way. Call me the thirst-quencher…hehehe) like some would actually come up to me thinking it was for sale and I would eagerly say “it’s free” like it was my money I even used to buy the water I am dashing out.
Several speakers came on at intervals to share their advice, give opinions and answer questions on maximizing opportunities in the media industry. Some also shared their journey of how they got to being the media experts that they are today.

M.I Abaga was Live at the slay festival

We had speakers from various parts of media. In music, we had M.I Ababa, in movie we had Kemi Adetiba and Mary Njoku. For TV personalities, we had Toke Makinwa, Zainab Balogun, Keturah king and many others, as well as the smartmoney lady, Arese Ugwu. there was of course a session with the founder of the biggest makeup industry in Africa, Tara Durotoye and her husband, Fela Durotoye both which turned out to be the major highlight of the event (for me, at least). [Check my IG page for short clips: @ritsgorge.]

A session with Toke Makinwa and Arese Ugwu
The power couple: Fela&Tara Durotoye

They each shared lots of amazing advice and tips in maximizing the vast opportunities available to everyone looking at getting into the media industry ~check out @onewordadvice on IG for some short clips~
The organizers of the event also did a wonderful job in making master classes available and hosted by experts in the industry who provided the attendees with tips for getting one’s business moving forward. There were also several vendors who had pure Nigerian products on display. I got to know about quite a number of brands which I never knew were in existence. They were amazing too. We also had a number of artistes who gave really thrilling performances.  They had me wondering why their music wasn’t trending.

Toke Makinwa gave out signed copies of her recently published book.

Towards the end of the event, I had eaten to my fill thanks to Maggi and their jollof rice variety (which I think would have been just great as concoction jollof though but it’s alright) and a Chinese cuisine by a vendor whose name I didn’t take note of. I also had cakes and cookies (got my buds happy) and sharwama to cap it all. As we got ready to leave for our various destinations, fireworks repeatedly got fired into the sky, it was like Christmas all over again.

It was truly a day WELL SPENT and I was so glad I had this fantastic experience. I made new friends (which I think are all amazing, by the way).

Special thanks to @kyindykay and @Sheleadsafrica for the opportunity to volunteer and be a part of this event.

Till next time, ama keep slaying!!!


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