Members at the 31st District Conference and Assembly

As a guest, my experience in the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central has been nothing short of mind-blowing, a roller-coaster of experiences and a cocktail of emotions.

It was in the middle of the week, one Annaculate Katambani, Director of Public Relations and Image 2021/2022, rings me and I gladly pick up. He proceeds to casually implore me to pen down a piece regarding my experience as a guest at the Rotaract Club of Nairobi Central, the premier Rotaract club in Sub-Sahara Africa. The request brews excitement in me and thanks to adrenaline, I courageously reply in the affirmative. The timelines are realistic and yes; I’m game.

To those who know me in all honesty, they will tell you that I prefer talking to writing – a thousand times over. I mean, the only things I’m accustomed to write nowadays are proposals; all kinds of proposals (yes, even that one in your mind) and the format is very much different. But then again, I remind myself that I’m always up for a challenge, a good challenge – even a food challenge (lol).

I proceed to tell Katambani, who we commonly refer to as Kata, about the only fear I had; there’s arguably way too much that I could possibly jot down. I’ve seen generation after generation of presidents at RCNC. We joke about it. The jovial Kata, being the politician he is, throws the ball in my court and it dawns to me that it is up to me. A tall order indeed, or so I thought. I decide to keep it as succinct as possible.

Seemingly, in today’s generation, it’s hard to keep the attention of people. For those of us who fall in the millennial era, it becomes more complicated. A recent study from one of the Ivy League institutions lifted the lid on the human mind citing that today, that it’s much harder when it comes to clinging on to attention as opposed to a few decades back. A 63 percent decrease to be precise. The reasons for this, is a whole other story for another day of course.

I’ve found that Rotaract exudes lots of characteristics similar to that which a family does. Be it the good times, the bad and even the ugly. This I say in reference to one auspicious occasion; a trip I was privileged to be part of – a road trip to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I was scrolling through the gram on one chilly evening when lo & behold, I happened to stumble upon this well-designed poster from RCNC. It had very finely expressed details about a soon to come trip. Over and above that, it was just a few days away from the time I got to see the poster.

Now, my attention was fully stuck on it. Just a few months prior to this, together with new acquaintances, I was part of a project sponsored by the British Council and where I met an individual whom I deeply clicked with. Fiktre was her name, an accomplished Fashion designer at the Horn of Africa and beyond. Ethiopia had always fascinated me, especially their impressive leather technology. It’s against this background that Fiktre and I had agreed I make time to travel to her motherland and tap into her vast professional networks.

As fate would have it, Fiktre happened to have seen the sun way many years before so I was very much eager to stand on the shoulders of a giant. In my mind, I knew this anticipated trip would coincide with my birthday on the 4th of July but here I was staring at a poster of a trip scheduled for June. Ah! I thought! Serendipity! Maybe the Almighty Deity is showing me a sign.

Quickly, I took a screengrab and immediately dialed the number inscribed below. That’s when I met a soft-spoken gentleman by the name SK (is he single by the way? Just asking – for a friend). His calm voice was as good as how he dresses especially when he rocks on one of his parliament blue suits, this I learnt later on.

SK explained to me everything regarding the payment details and what not. I didn’t waste any more time. I had just closed one of my biggest deals for the first half of the year – so I followed through with payment ASAP!

Off we went, I joined the RCNC entourage; all and sundry were very warm, welcoming and friendly. I sat next to one Ms. Fiona at the time, a friend and a good client up to date (RCNC has this magical way of maintaining friendships). It was good vibes all through! We jelled so amicably you could not tell an RCNC member from a guest! On arrival to Addis, members from not one nor two but up-to 3 different Rotaract clubs welcomed us for our maiden visit. I was in a state of utter disbelief for a moment; like hey hold on, why are these strangers being this nice? Huh? I’ve seen horror movies starting like this before. I kept my calm. Just so that I can really understand what’s really up. Thereafter, it dawned to me that their receptive and welcoming attitude towards us was owing to the fact that we shared common beliefs based on principles of being friends and family of Rotaract.

Unsurprisingly and to my bewilderment, I ended up forming lifelong connections with many members present during the trip. I learnt at least one particular thing from each and every person I spoke to, other than Amharic language of course.

As I close down the curtains on this article, it would be a disservice if I do not say one main thing I learnt – Rotaract is not limited by geographical boundaries. Further, the common denominator in how people act towards each other is the fact that they have been sworn by the principles of Rotary and Rotaract. No matter where you go globally, so long as you are in Rotary, your tribe awaits you and will receive you, cordially, with open arms. That makes it even better knowing that I like to travel in and outside Africa.

It’s now engraved in my mind that the club has intrinsic values which help the organization remain very tightly knitted across the globe. You may think it’s a VIP pass card but it’s just love spread all over. The sharing of common goals, despite the fact that each member is unique in his or her own ways, make us one. 

Rotaract, now than ever before makes, so much sense to me

And now, onto my best part!

Thought provoking conversations with various members in RCNC have seen me grow mostly in my mental capacity. Public speaking nowadays is a breeze and I have RCNC to thank. This is because I have been able to add my acumen greatly. Thinking on my feet whenever a question or a wrecking ball has been thrown my way is a skill I have harnessed and sharpened with time, all thanks to RCNC.

Ever thought of joining RCNC? Let’s start with a solid ‘WHY’ just as one of the world’s best thought leaders, Simon Sinek puts it “Start with Why!” That will help in providing you with a proper sense of direction. Brian Tracy lays it simply “If you aren’t growing, you are dying”.

This has helped me of late to take an introspective look into myself, my future and how I can give of myself to those around me for purposes of a better world.

So, my dear reader. To get the ultimate Rotaract experience, join RCNC!

Article by,

Hemi Cornell

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