Happy Newwwwwwwwwwww Yearrr!!! My people, chai! I have missed you oooo!!!! It feels like FOREVER since I last was in these zones. Blame it on the giveaway and too much enjoyment in December *sips tea* Hahahahaha
I am not even sure where to start this post from, but I think where we left off at the end of November is a good place to start. Yes? Leggo!
Soooo, a few days after my last post, I got an email informing me of my nomination for The Future Awards Africa (TFAA) and at first, I was just pleasantly surprised. After the public announcement was made and folks started congratulating all the nominees, I caught the excitement bug and became quite pumped about it. So pumped that I even wrote my thanksgiving letter/post in advance (no, I didn’t write an acceptance speech just yet, lol). I wrote a whole post in anticipation that I would win the award, hahaha. Me that to write post in advance dey hard gan – I now wrote a post in advance, hehehehe. This is how excited I was!
Some may call it counting your eggs before they hatch but I choose to call it an act of faith. p.s – I am all about that supernatural faith walk this 2019 o! The projects in front of me this year are not basic at all.
Can you now imagine how I felt when my name was not announced as the winner? Choi! It stung for like 2 minutes and then I looked around and quickly realized that I was quite privileged to be sitting in the nominees’ section of the hall. I looked at my phone to remind myself of the other people in my category and recognized what an honor it was to even be named in that cohort. I sharply turned my straight face (because someone cannot be having sad face in public naa) into a smiley and started thanking Jesus for the privilege and honor and then relaxed to have a good time at the event.
I danced to Yemi Alade, karaoke’d to Teni’s ‘for your case’ for Mama Kemi (while she wondered why I was going to Oshodi for anything, lol) and ‘famzed’ with my current girl crush and style twin, Zainab Balogun. It was a lovely evening and I absolutely enjoyed myself. I have also kept my nominee sash in my special box, so that I can take it to my husband’s house and use it to ‘encourage’ (read: semi-terrorize) my children to aspire for great heights, lol.
You know the best part of this whole thing? God did not let me down o! He gave me a truly amazing Christmas gift, wayyyy beyond the TFAA win. Then my thanksgiving letter now made sense! Christmas did not come too early, it came right on time!!! Whoooooosh! This God ehn – He must have been laughing at me when I wrote that post and when I was disappointed by not winning the award, He must have said ‘Don’t worry girl, I got you!’
I know this is not the end of this post but let me just encourage you – God has got you and He is working out things/miracles that are farrrr greater than what you might have planned for yourself. Just believe, stay out of envy, stay in thanksgiving and watch God do His thing! Halleluyah!
I am still reeling from the awesomeness of God but let me move this post along before we start a revival here -ayayayayayaaaa!
Yeah, Christmas in Mozambique was EPIC! It was a much smaller group (about half the size of the Lebanon group) but it was equally LIT! I am not sure how Naija Nomads picks her nomads, but the vibe and energy stay positive all the time. Even when we were delayed at the airport for hourrrssss after being on an overnight flight and with people who had not brushed their teeth, everyone was cool. Some people even started playing suwe (also known as hopscotch) with the tiles at the airport, hehehehe.
This was one true illustration of the quote ‘it is not where you travel to that matters, it is who you go with’. Guys, Maputo was DEAD over Christmas. Apparently, there is usually a mass exodus over Christmas and most stores, restaurants, party spots were closed!!! I kept shaking my head and asking them to come and ask their cousins in Lagos about how many new restaurants opened in December! So, every night, we had to be provide our own entertainment and it was a blast!
Games night almost every evening helped us to bond better, but it equally brought out the competitiveness in every one of us. Playing Taboo with Nigerians is just a trip, hahahahaha. Taboo can put somebody under tension sha, lol. Someone was trying to describe ‘cologne’ and she said, ‘something men spray’. After I guessed ‘deodorant’, ‘perfume’, next thing I said was ‘insecticide’. Please don’t ask me how I went from deodorant to insecticide – I can’t explain it too. Let’s just blame it on competitive tension. I will not call out anyone else here but we all collect our individual subs – #IfYouKnowYouKnow.
We had a great time exploring various parts of the city and an even more incredible time island-hopping on Christmas Day. We were on that water for a long time sha, kilode! After about 4 hours of going and going and going and going (you get the point now), I finally broke my record for the longest time spent on water in a basic boat (this does not include the 7 nights I spent on a cruise liner in 2012). As a proud member of Team ‘Are we there yet?’, I have now come to accept that I don’t appreciate boat rides that are longer than one hour.
A couple of things stood out for me in Moz – clean markets without any flies and no trader pulling your cloths, fantastically fresh & tasty seafood and nice friendly people who made a genuine effort to understand your English (their official language is Portuguese). I also thought their downtown city centre looked a lot like Marina in Lagos. I guess the Portuguese influence in Lagos is much stronger than we think. We were also told there were lots of Nigerian traders there – there are Nigerians everywhere, period!
As for the not-so-nice things about Moz (because every country get im own comma), I leave that to the able hands of Naija Nomads. I am actually quite impressed about how honest Yejide and the team are about each experience. They talk about what worked, what did not work and what could be improved. I will share the link here once their review is up.
If you need more gist about my Moz experience, I still have the highlights on my Instagram account and I am more than happy to answer any questions in the comment section. If the question is more than my power, I will refer you to the good people at Naija Nomads.
Last but definitely not the least update – the 2018 edition of the Kemi’s Christmas Giveaway (it feels weird to refer to myself in 3rd person, lol) was fabulous! I literally just closed my eyes and sighed as I thought about it just now. My expectations were well exceeded. I almost did not do the giveaway in December 2018 because I was just a bit off and not quite excited. However, I must thank a group of 5 incredible humans who did not allow me to shrug them off about the giveaway. They planned a surprise birthday breakfast for me towards the end of October and afterwards, they added me to their WhatsApp group (yes, yet another WhatsApp group!).
It was through that WhatsApp group they kept ‘troubling’ my soul until I went to pray for creative direction on the giveaway. And because God always answers prayers, I got the ‘growth’ theme as the answer to my prayers. Immediately I got the theme, I shared it with them and we started brainstorming on what gifts could fit the theme. To be honest, I was slightly worried that the theme was “too academic” and might not resonate with the people. I was worried that the giveaway would not get as much traction as the 2017 edition did and I worried that I was going to be a one-hit wonder trying hard to stay relevant. I know it sounds ridiculous now, but this is how I felt in November when we started planning the giveaway.
However, I also know that once God gives an instruction, it is my duty to do my part and hand the rest to God. And boy, did God show up or what? The engagement was great even though we did fewer gifts and fewer days. The kind of favor we got was incredible! I just looked at the budget now and it turns out we were able to save about 30% from the various discounts the partners gave us. Some gave us stuff for free, some gave us significant discounts, and some collected their full money – regardless, we love all our partners! Many thanks to every one of you.
I want to use this opportunity to publicly thank Chika, Ella Ellen, Nchedo and Sinmi for dreaming with me and helping to bring the giveaway to life. From chasing partners, negotiating discounts and refunds where necessary, to shortlisting winning comments, you all were exceptionally excellent! The debates we had on the group were so LIT! Hahahahahaha. I had a great time with you ladies and I miss the frequent interactions we had. The beautiful part was how each of you went ahead to do your own versions of the giveaway by touching lives over Christmas. I am so proud of each one of you and very grateful that I have the privilege to be part of your journeys. I cannot wait to see how you all keep evolving – ayeeeeeee! I am already excited!
I will also use this opportunity to thank our analytics officer – Chidinma! Sister Chi of the Holy Ghost. I met her during the 2017 giveaway through one of our partners and she has just stuck like glue. I am not sure why we don’t have a selfie together, but we will fix that in 2019. Amen? Thank you for insisting on serving and for doing it with so much grace and excellence. Thank you! We know you are on track for greatness, so we shall be observing 🙂
Finally, a huge thank you to our graphics designer of life – Comfort of Vaire Craft. Even when her phone went missing, she reached out with her sister’s phone and still delivered on time. That kind of professionalism just bursts my brain – you go girl! I know you will still do exceptional things, so please remember me when you blow o!
Alright folks, I think this is a good place for me to drop my pen in the basket of love (as inspired by TriciaBiz). It’s a New Year and a good time to try out new ways of doing things so we can get new results. I declare that this is a year of quantum leaps, of multiplication, of fruitfulness, of new dawns and of Ebenezer help in all things and at all times (see what I did there? I collabo’d all the different churchs’ prophetic declarations for 2019, lol. Something must work this time around!) I pray it is a truly positively different year for each and every one of us in Jesus mighty name. Amen!!!