Our flight was by 10:00 pm, it was a Delta flight meaning straight to the USA, no stopovers. By 6pm, a few presenters and I were already at the airport, but the bus with our luggage was no where to be found. Typical Enactus day! Thankfully the bus made it in time and we checked in.
[A picture of us looking like locals]
It was an 11 hour flight to Atlanta first. I watched the “The Sun is also a Star” which I must say was quite disappointing. Sorry Yara 😏 A few more naps, more movies and we touched down in the land of the free. The S line before we reached immigration was long, but our team was so excited so we reached the immigration officer in no time. A particularly funny moment was when one of our Enactus members was asked where we were going to be staying and he had no clue. Thankfully, the officer was nice enough to come and ask the Enactus Country director. Whew, that was close. The flight from Atlanta to Silicon Valley was roughly 4 hours. More movies, more sleep and we were there. We were at Silicon Valley! This place had the weirdest weather. It was sunny but still very cold and windy. Literally just harmattan that went abroad.
A nice person offered to take our picture.
Look at us looking like tourists already.
We took two cabs and started out. Our cab driver took us to Fairmont hotel at first and we were excited because of the waterfalls (cue: picture spot). However, that wasn’t our hotel and we were taken to the Marriott Hotel instead. This one was much nicer than the first and it was right next to where the World Cup was going to hold.
It was afternoon so we decided to explore. After a lot of pictures and seeing major places like Intel, Adobe, we landed in an Italian restaurant. Ladies and gentlemen, six individuals are N56,000 worth of food.
After that day, we resulted to burger and tacos 😂. More pictures and our jet lag kicked in. We slept the rest of the day and stayed awake all night
Practice, gist, more practice and it was day one of the event. Funny enough, the defending champions, Canada were also in our hotel. Fancy running into them in the elevator. We had watched these guys videos a hundred times but obviously we kept our cool and exchanged pleasantries. The first day was networking + trailer pictures + Intuit Innovation challenge + opening ceremony + World Cultural Celebration. We met so many beautiful and entrepreneurial people.
When they called Nigeria on stage, you should have seen your girl just jumping up and down the stage and trying to dance, (P.s that video should be hidden 😂). I also got to meet Lord Hastings. *google him guys*. In the night, we went out for some tacos and practiced some more. We had to kill our presentation the next day.
Presentation day, we were ready, synced our lines, perfected our answers, so we stepped out like avengers, we were in league three: Brazil, Azerbaijan, Morocco and Nigeria. Flawless presentation (trust your people). My team mate and I stepped out to get some food, and guess who we ran into: the US department of State. Wild right. That’s the really cool thing about the World Cup, the networking is just endless. After the first round, we began touring again.
Silicon Valley city hall, food shopping, pictures and we were back. It was time to announce the teams advancing to the top 16. We were called on stage and the announcer goes, in third position, the team from……..suspense………Nigeria. At this point, I wanted to enter the ground. What? We weren’t going to the next round, how? We were the Avengers, I thought we always won (cue infinity war jokes).
But then “We win some, we learn some”. So guess what your girl did next, she went to learn. We went to the sponsors booth, KPMG; played with virtual reality, got reusable metal straws (#beat plastic pollution) and then went for the project showcase where we met more amazing people. Trust me, in this life, it’s all about the impact you’re making on people. It was just so good seeing how everyone is changing the world in their own little corner. I even got to meet the Chief Innovation Officer of Enactus. Your girl is global ✨✨. So after a lot of networking, we went up bed tired.
Then the day of the finals. At this point, I have to tell you that google maps is not drawn to scale. We wanted to go to Target, yeah, but we ended up walking for close to an hour. After a little shopping and eating, we had to go to the police to call a cab for us. Typical tourists. Anyway, we get back to center, participate in the Next Gen breakout session, watch the Ford Motor Challenge and just enjoy the rest of the day. And yeah, watch the finalists too: Egypt, Canada, USA and Germany. P.s : we were friends with the Germans. Egypt was announced the winner. Apparently, they made biodegradable sanitary pads from banana peels, empowered women to make it and got their while business running. I know, mind blown!
Then there was the after party, we danced with everyone, got a little too excited when Wizkid and Davido songs were played and exchanged a lot of contacts.
In the night, we toured the city, one last time and the next day, we were off home.
No Mark Zuckerberg, no Elon musk, but it was superb. I’ll be back to Silicon Valley soon and it will be because of the impact God has empowered me to achieve. Better start speaking it into existence, at least that was how Silicon Valley started.
Cue my next post people, I will be more consistent. Promise 😌