Being awarded the 2011-2012 Elizabeth Neuffer Award was like Christmas coming in June. I have been so ecstatic since and looking forward to my trip. When I got my DS-2019 form and Sevis fee receipt, I hastily scheduled an appointment at the US Embassy. I am not a fan of the visiting the US Embassy premises for the very reason I avoid any functions where the president or first lady will be attending. The security checks though needed as a great inconvenience. This time, however, my trepidation about the strenuous checks was not felt. I was so in an utopist world and nothing would spoil my mood.
Names, I discover open doors to places that seem out of reach. When the consul officer asked me the purpose of my trip, I responded that I had been awarded the International Women’s Media Foundation Elizabeth Neuffer Fellowship, and I would be based at the prestigious Center for International Studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The fellowship in addition comes with internships both at the Boston Globe and the New York Times. He checked through my papers and told me to return the next day for my visa. No hassle. On my way out he congratulated me on the fellowship. When I stepped out of the building a goofy smile plastered my face. I was now all set to travel. I had taken leave from work to arrange for my trip and the days had been busy. I did not get an opportunity to rest at all. I was running from one place to another. Buying trinkets and a load of supplies to keep me going when I got to Boston.
On Friday 26, my colleagues organized a farewell for me at Alfredos in Kamwokya. It was a fun evening. My different sets of friends were there and interacted with one another. That was the essence of it. I was happy that I had good company to spend the last hours with before taking off. Seven months is a long time. Many things can happen in that time. So I was happy to have a good farewell. The memories engrained in my mind. Forever grateful to whoever made it for the do. The night rang with our laughter, over the loud 80s music that was being played. A special request for me.