Author : John Paul , University of Ibadan
The journey of a two -week workshop ends later today. It has been to my great delight to write this piece with a mixed feeling of happiness as well as sadness. I am happy because of what I learnt, nothing seems to motivate me more than enjoying what I do and of course I did enjoy the learning process. The challenge I gave myself to learn something new in a very short period of time paid off really well. Oh yes!! the super awesome instructors were not a bit less than great!!. Sad (with a frown on my face) because it ends today. Nothing lasts forever I guess. The two weeks journey has been a long and demanding one especially because as a student whose exams are just in the corner.
I will like to use this yoruba adage which says “Yini yini k’eni o tu n se o miran” which means “being grateful for what a benefactor has done makes the benefactor do more”. I really want to say a very big thank you to: Schol of Computing Science, University of Glasgow; Department of Mathematics, University of Ibadan, Mr Akeju and all other people who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this workshop a success. From the depth of my heart I really say Thank You!!
In my previous post, I mentioned some names and I will do the same here and say a couple of words about each of them. Fatma is the soldier, making sure we all do the right thing (I can hear her voice in my head saying “Close your laptops!, we don’t need them now!, do you understand?!”). She’s very cool and didn’t mind my constant questions even the ones that didn’t directly relate to what we’re being taught, she answered. Fionnuala (I can pronounce it correctly now, this means I have learnt). Oh my!! She’s very calm and friendly. I was awestruck when she multiplied 5 by two in ‘Tom’s language’ in less than two minutes (I’m pretty sure she used less but I’m being generous with my time). “na she be our mama”. Tom is the never tiring one. He once told me of where he gets his strength from and it can never run dry(I won’t disclose it….). Tom is a great guy, has a deep understanding of his stuff, answers all questions, providing assistance to the needy always. Ben sees programming from an entirely different paradigm, knows his stuff too, very solid background of mathematics. He was my project supervisor, he took his time to break down the whole project for us to understand and assemble it’s pieces. Sofiat is the brain behind the whole idea. She had literally had a ton of work in the course of two weeks. The best thing I admire about her is her courage. Also, her organizational skills are topnotch, I won’t be surprised to see her handle bigger things later.
The workshop provided clear goals for what I wanted to do personally, improved my thinking, introduced a new (funtional) way of approaching problems. I can confidently say I am a better person for taking part in the workshop and I commend PWSAfrica. The lessons learnt will not be forgotten but will be used to solve problems (I think this is all we are all about – solving problems).
PWSAfrica is the start of a process I strongly believe will result into producing better African scientists. I am glad to be a part of this maiden workshop and hopefully subsequent ones not as a student (currently in my finals as an undergraduate) but as an avid supporter or an instructor (…brain whispering “You’ve come again with your big dreams”…).
JOHN PAUL (University of Ibadan)