Once a year, it’s important to explore new places you’ve never been before. That’s exactly what I did in this instance at the 2023 JCI Africa and The Middle East Conference in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. While I have attended JCI World Conferences and other types of events in Europe and India before, I couldn’t help but wonder what Africa had in store for me. Could it offer something unique that other continents could not? Would the conference be a memorable experience, or would it fall short like some of the muddy roads during the rainy season?

You might be surprised to learn that despite living in Tanzania and Senegal, I had never been to a JCI event there. So, this was an exciting first for me. The chosen destination for 2023 was particularly enticing. After all, who wouldn’t want to witness the breathtaking beauty of Victoria Falls? It’s a place that many consider a must-see before they die. I must admit, the scenery was awe-inspiring, and the weather was quite pleasant for the African winter.

As for the event itself, the headquarters surpassed expectations. It was an impressive and modern resort, offering ample space for the activities. However, there were some organizational challenges. Multiple events were taking place concurrently at the hotel, resulting in occasional confusion, limited space, and last-minute schedule changes. This taught me the value of patience and adaptability. It also made me appreciate those times when everything runs smoothly according to plan. The training sessions were nothing short of amazing as I had the privilege of attending a session on Luxury Marketing and Branding conducted by the delightful Prof. Dr. Estelle Dinh. Her expertise and experience in branding were truly remarkable. If you ever have the chance, I highly recommend engaging in a conversation with her.

Another training that left a lasting impression was conducted by Batsuren Solongo from JCI Mongolia. The session, titled ‘Super Productivity,’ focused on time management and optimizing our available time. It’s a crucial skill that many of us overlook, often failing to make the most of the hidden pockets of time we have.

Ultimately, JCI is about fostering connections and creating opportunities. Meeting familiar faces from JCI South Africa and JCI Nigeria made certain aspects of the event much more enjoyable and convenient. For example, one day, my good friend Angel and I decided to take it easy and venture to Zambia to witness the magnificent waterfalls and revel in a memorable sunset cruise. It’s moments like these that remind us that JCI events go beyond just training sessions.

One of the delightful surprises during my journey was the opportunity to meet new people. I had the pleasure of getting to know some amazing individuals from JCI Cameroon, and we even pondered the possibility of collaborating on future projects together. It’s a great reminder to always keep an open mind because you never know when a brilliant idea might emerge, leading to exciting and rewarding ventures.