Before we left for Nigeria, our host asked me and our team to speak at a Conference on “Innovation”. He mentioned that we would speak for about two or three hours, which we were glad to do. I know all three of us spent several hours preparing our presentation.
The conference was hosted by the Tropical Centre in collaboration with Nigerian Ministry of Commerce and Industry, and the Uyo Chamber of Commerce. I counted 100 people in attendance at the high point.
The first speaker was Chief Sylvester Akaiso, the Chairperson of the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Nigerian Association of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (NASME). He emphasized the importance of small businesses in the development of Nigeria.
The second speaker was a young lady who spoke about the health benefits of the Nigeria Moringa Tree Project.
When it was our turn to speak, I began to share some of Agua Viva’s philosophies about World Hunger, Water Scarcity, and Gender Empowerment. Twenty minutes into my presentation I was handed a note that said “You are done. Summarize.” This was quite a surprise to me 20 minutes into my 60 minute presentation. I was able to share some of the “global aspects” of my presentation but had not even mentioned yet our Water Purification System. I quickly brought it to a close and sat down. We assumed we were done.
Three more speakers spoke. Then, much to our surprise, they handed the microphone to Curt Mader and told him to start speaking. Then, Curt gave the microphone to Nancy. We were glad to have spoken and we were able to share much of our information. Plus, we had a lengthy question and answer period. We never fully understood the questions…. but, honestly, I was proud of our organization and I felt like we had represented ourselves (and the United States) well.
It was a good conference. I was glad we were able to present. Our hearts just broke thinking of all the good intentions and desperate people just trying to make their way in life. I thought about how the people in that room were really looking for “hope”, like it says in the book ‘When Helping Hurts’. I like to think that we gave those people a healthy dose of “hope”.
Upon conclusion, we were VERY anxious to get out to Orphanage Two.