By Charmaine N Ndolo
Published August 2, 2009
Tuesday, 31March 2009, the day I had eagerly waited for. My friends, my sisters and I were at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Embakasi, Nairobi, by 6am. A few hours later we boarded a Kenya Airways plane for our destination; Lagos, Nigeria. At 11am (1pm local time) the plane finally touched down at the Murtala Muhamed International Airport, Lagos.
When we got to the hotel where would be staying for the rest of our stay in Lagos, we were very tired and hungry so went into town and had a meal. For the next day or two we didn’t do much we swam, got to know each other better& simply relaxed.
On the 3rd of April we headed down to the airport to board a short 45 minute flight to the Port Harcourt International Airport ,Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital. We found several vans waiting for us ready to take us to the place we would be staying for the next three days, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital in the creeks of the River Niger Delta. The ride was exceptionally exciting for one main reason; we had police escort to protect us “VIPs” from the insecurity rampant in this area. While some police vehicles led the way, others were in the middle and also at the rear to ensure were well protected. It was exciting travelling in a convoy of more than 11 vans and police vehicles with heavily armed policemen who forced any other vehicle off the road so we could travel without any incident. By the time we got to our final destination, it was very late in the evening so most of us went to sleep immediately.
The next day was a relaxing day. We stayed indoors and prepared for the reason, we had come to Nigeria; the world renowned Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA)! We had a meeting similar to a get-together-for-familiarisation where all the film directors from all over Africa met everyone was there, people from French and English speaking countries, rich and poor countries, countries at war and at peace, simply all over Africa!! At this place we learnt quite a bit about the other countries and also some people.It really was an interesting day. As soon as we got back to the place in which, we were staying, many of us were very exhausted indeed.
The big day had come! The award ceremony was in the late evening and we didn’t live the hotel till late in the evening. We were very excited and we really hoped that we won. Everyone was smart and it was clear that this event meant quite a lot to everyone! Gracefully, we walked down the red carpet and into a huge wonderfully decorated auditorium. There was a large crowd of people waiting to see there favourite film directors. The classy event began with a few presentations here and there from the best African entertainment groups.
The awards ceremony finally began and there was silence. The host and hostess started with a little chatting and cracking some jokes. This ceremony was really a graceful one. Some of the world most famous actors were present. Forest Whitaker and Danny Glover, for example, were in attendance and what can be better than this? Having world famous actors in the same auditorium as you are in?
My nerves were killing me and I think this was the same for the other nominees and when it finally came to the category in which CHEPRONO, our film, was nominated,Best Animation. My heart skipped a beat. The nominees were called our, clips from their films played and now the winner. ..A moment of silence and now the winner is-it was not any of us children from Lola Kenya Screen of Nairobi, Kenya. It was a Burkinabe. An adult! Though we were happy for him but we were not as happy as we would have been had it been us who had carried away the trophy.
The event ended glamorously and everyone congratulated each other. The event had ended but not the night! All the nominees and now some winners were treated to dinner at a very nice place. We all ate to our fullest and when it was time to leave we couldn’t say any negative thing. We immediately went to bed very tired and pleased with ourselves indeed.
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The next day we had an early start. We packed our belongings and headed back to the Port Harcourt International airport. Due to some delays we were at our destination, Lagos just in time to eat something and go straight to bed as we were going to have an early start the next day, Monday 6th April 2009 and indeed we did.
After waving goodbye to all our newly found friends we checked in and sooner boarded our plane, this time around destination; Nairobi, Kenya. As soon as we touched down at the JKIA a feeling of being back home filled my heart.
I must say those were some days worth remembering and as long as the sun rises in the east and sets in the West I will live to remember that week.