Manicured hedges, magnificent gate and a serene and tranquil environment marked our arrival. The words “Esse Quam Videri” loosely translated as “To be than rather to seem (to be)”, screamed from the iron gates.
The time was 2 pm E.A.T, the midday sun shone relentlessly, the superstitious ones predicted a good day (probably they weren’t wrong). This was to be the second edition of our Computer Science for High School Project (CS4HS) .
To our surprise, Mr. Mutinda; the IT teacher at Chania girls, had set the stage ready for us an we walked into a room full of elated and eager students . I later came to know that they were settled 2 hours earlier waiting for us. Their monitors were buzzed with activities as these young minds tried outdoing each other in opening and closing folders and probably in a bid to appear geeky. The anticipation in the air was palpable we didn’t have to wait any longer.
A string of hands shot up Immediately we made the introduction “Sir. How can you make a game?”, “teach us how to hack Facebook sir”…. This were just but a sample that caught my greatest interest.
In me questions and thoughts sprang up in equal measure and I kept wondering what would have happened had we came earlier and perhaps introduced these kids to computer programming at a tender age. “Would Africa have a Bill Gates yet? Or maybe a Zuckerburg? Would safaricom need to import cyber security expatriates? Would the silicon savannah be only a dream as it is today?” All these went unanswered.
The girls turned out to be such an awesome audience/ students. Slowly we dived into HTML and carefully navigated from the shallow waters of the <html> element to deeper waters, where we found attributes of elements, tables and forms throughout the session the girls offered a continuous bombardment of question that not only challenged us but also made us rethink on our approach to web-development.
Laughter, cheers and jeers filled the room as the girls swam in their newly found world of web-development. While some girls like Mariah quickly got a grasp of what we taught others like Claire seemed to take time and analyze each and every fact we gave them before accepting and grasping on to it.
Standing in the room I could see the new face of Africa, A renewed generation, new dispensation and new awakening.
I could see an Africa where youths drive the economy and technology is not just a word we use in international conferences but a tool we use against the evils (hunger, poverty and insecurity) that now face us.
Looking deeper, I saw the new girl child of Africa, that Lady CEO of a multi-national technology company, a lady computer scientist. For a moment I thought of Africa and my mind was at peace.