2020 started on a good note as I had finally decided to reject a bank job and take another job relating to Programming. This meant that I would stick to Programming (web development) instead of working for a bank.
It wasn’t an easy decision to make and looking at my College grade and my age, I may never have this kind of opportunity handed to me ever again.
I had to choose between the “red pill” and the “blue pill”. Well, I chose in December 2019 and moved on to see what the future holds. Likewise most people, I didn’t know it was going to be an interesting year ahead of me. After choosing again to stay back in Port Harcourt, I started this new job which saw me work on my birthday in 2019 but it was all fun because I was just getting to know how things were done in the company.
January was about learning the ropes. I started gaining grounds in the company and also tried to balance work with learning to code. I would say I was beginning to feel stressed out and under-achieved as I found myself engulfed in work and had less time to learn how to code.
The questions started pouring in, how do I cope? Do I leave home and stay somewhere close to work, so I can save more time and use it for better things? How do I not lose focus?
In all this, I still found a way to learn and grab some tips here and there, but I didn’t catch up quickly and it bothered me. So when an opportunity presented itself, I went all in.
The opportunity was to join a community as a volunteer and do something for the tech ecosystem in Africa via the Open Source Community Africa — OSCA platform, I fought my way to get a slot and eventually got one.
I could still remember how I joined the first zoom call in a Schools’ computer laboratory where I just finished teaching the children. I still remember Goddy Samson explaining some “privileged things” that I had to keep in mind so I don’t mess everything up. It made me feel among and more eager to go for the event that later held in Lagos the next month.
Before going for the event, my schedule for February was a very busy one so I had to arrange my calendar properly. But then they say
“where there is a will, there is a way” .
After few zoom calls in preparation for the big event, I was assigned to work with the audio and visual team (A&V) which I am kind of familiar with as I used to be in the technical department unit of my Church. God made it seem like a “match made in heaven” as I was able to secure a short leave for five days to attend the event.
The time finally came and I had to make what I consider my longest trip to Lagos after travelling to Ibadan the previous year for a contract job. As I can recall, the journey was cool, although we arrived late because of traffic, I and my friend Peters got a place to rest and get ready for an event that unknown to us, would be the biggest Open Source event in Africa.
The next day, we went for set up and made sure everything was ready for the big two days. The event went on as planned with me setting up several kinds of stuff to make sure speakers had their slides ready to be displayed and had their mic’s worn correctly.
It was a fun one for me as I made amazing friends like Didi, whom I worked with personally. The code word was “refresh” as I was constantly asked to refresh the event timetable on the website to keep the A&V crew updated on the latest changes. I worked with a lot of amazing people, like AmaraChukwu, Joshua Olajide and Favour all of whom I met in a remote internship the previous year. The event finally ended and it was time to leave the very busy and traffic-jammed mega city of Lagos.
I came back to Port Harcourt on a Sunday, happy and fulfilled little did I know the Covid storm was about to hit Nigeria. Two days after I came back to Port Harcourt, the first Covid-19 case was recorded in Nigeria and the next phase started.
After settling down on Sunday, I resumed work on Monday because my 5 days leave has just ended. It was work, as usual, working from Monday to Saturday and with a part-time teaching job I got from a friend to teach someone the basics of web development, I was also hooked on Sunday afternoons leaving me with very little time to myself. It was worth it to me because I was busy and getting paid for it. Everything went well until the first case of covid-19 was recorded in Port Harcourt and in a snap, everything was put on hold. Schools were the first to shut down as the priority was to keep kids safe. After that, I had to stop the weekend lessons with my client because He is a foreign expatriate and his company had concerns.
Just like that the city was on lockdown with my families business also on hold as most parts of the city were on lockdown. I remember spending the month of April marking scripts and getting back to learning more in programming. At this point, I had time to rethink my decisions and plan for the future.
During the lockdown, I finally found my rhythm and combined the online WhatsApp classes I was doing for the company I worked for and continuing to learn to program. This led me to join the Hotel NG(HNG) remote internship which I also participated in last year. Everything was going as planned and despite regular power failure, I was able to get to stage 4 before nature gave me the hardest blow I can ever imagine.
My mum fell ill just like every regular sickness that has come and gone in previous years. This time it was different, in four days and two hospitals, my mum passed on in the early hours of the 28th day of June. I remember stepping out after the doctor confirmed her ETD. I called my uncle and other relatives to tell them what had happened, after that I sat on a corridor in the middle of the cold and played Highs and lows by Hillsong young and free repeatedly. I remember quite a lot and sometimes it comes flashing back like I am reliving those very moments again.
Just as my mum died, the lockdown was eased and life began to come back to normalcy but for me, it was the worst moments of my life.
I lost focus and for a month could not do anything productive. I later lost out on two potential life-changing jobs as I wrote a weak application for the first and couldn’t go on with the second opportunity because I couldn’t do any work at the moment. The little energy I got, I used in preparation for the burial. My mum was buried on the 22nd of August, and a lot has gone down since then…
August went by with me still mourning my Mom and deciding to cut my hair after 5 months+ of keeping it. By September, I gradually went back to learning programming and seeing what I can make out of the remaining time left in the year.
I had to restructure and replan my life after the irreplaceable loss which wasn’t easy and is still going on. The remaining part of the year saw Nigeria as a nation stand still and watch the injustice dished out to its citizens climaxing on the 20th October (20–10–20).
The rioting spread all over the country leading to curfews and other measures to keep the country from going into a full-blown state of anarchy. Normalcy returned later by then I had found a way to keep myself busy with programming as I started working on live projects and mastering React.js and Next.js.
The year 2020 rounded up in a very calm mood as I cancelled all travels and stayed at home closing up for the year and planning for a better 2021. This year I hope to become a Frontend web engineer and land my first competitive job, hopefully, a remote one. This year will be a Results and Rewards year for me. It’s time for a new chapter, a chapter without my guardian angel, my mum. #Godspeed
Disclaimer: This is a summary of the year 2020, there is a lot that was documented and they will forever be memories…