2023-in-Review: A Star's Reach

2023-in-Review: A Star's Reach

A friend visited me recently and while I was talking about things I had done this year. He paused and asked me, do you sit down, absorb these things and pat yourself on the back? And I realized how much I pour myself into what I do and do not revel in these victories. I had such a good year even though it was short. Yes, this year was short for me because how are we in December??

I started this year with a very audacious dream which I shared in my 2022 review, I was set to put Africa on the map in terms of open source contributions. I was going to showcase the contributions that come from Africa within my network and attract opportunities for the ecosystem. Every move I made this year aligned with that goal. And here's me basking in my victories.

Career Highlights

  • I got featured on GitHub Readme Project where I shared my journey into tech and open source. It has always been a dream for me to be featured in the Readme story. You can read about my story here.

  • Last year, I shared how I left a technical writing job to focus on open source full-time. This year, I got a full-time job in open source through a LinkedIn reachout.

  • My GitHub Star membership was renewed again for 2023, 3rd year as a GitHub Star.

  • Joined Open Source Community Africa as a Program Manager, and I co-organized the biggest open source conference in Africa OSCAFEST 2023.

  • I firmly believe in investing in people, so I started a mentoring program for African women in open source. Check out the women I mentored this year. I am looking to make it into a full community next year.

  • I designed an awesome open-source education program for GitHub; All In Africa. You can read more about it here.

  • Last year, I started a leadership journey with a chapter community, CHAOSS Africa. The year my community impacted lived through open source. We got grants, 2 open source projects, and made partnerships with other African open source communities in Angola and Togo.

  • I joined the CHAOSS project board of directors as a board member.

  • I got a grant renewal from the Ford Foundation to continue to do open-source engagement in Africa for the next two years.

  • I was recognised by the Google Open Source team and got a peer bonus award for my contributions to the CHAOSS Project.

  • I was recognized by Women Who Code Applaud Her Awards as a technologist watch in open source.

  • I travelled to 5 different African countries (Namibia,Togo, Tanzania, Ethiopia and the Benin Republic) to talk about open source.

  • I got a research grant from Digital Public Infrastructure Insight Fund to travel to more African countries to teach open source sustainability.

  • The icing on the cake highlight for me this year was getting yet another award from GitHub "Open Source Advocacy". It was a testament to the extraordinary work I have done this year.

Loss Opportunities/Rejections

Regardless of the wins, I also had some major losses and rejections.

  • Speaking at conferences is a huge part of the work I do, all the attempts I made this year to speak outside of Africa did not happen due to visa denials. I got about 5 different visa denials (Spain, Belgium, US, Canada). Honestly, I tried my best at each try, submitted the necessary documents (even extra), and took advice from people who had successfully got it but I just kept getting feedback that I wouldn’t return to my home country. It has been a very heartbreaking experience for me, but I know for sure, I will get past them someday and I will travel all around the world.

  • Specifically in December, I got sad news of being laid off at work. Just when I was getting stable at my work tasks and planning my goals for the new year. Honestly, I am still processing it but I am sure I have a lot of opportunities coming for me.

Friendship / Family / Personal life

  • This year I had both breakups and makeups in friendships. I reconnected with a friend I had offended and it was a huge relief for me. I will always be grateful to the friends God brought my way, they are the absolute best for real.

  • Embracing grief and expressing to family: I lost my mum 4 years ago but I had never expressed it to my brother or how it made me feel. But this year, I have been learning how to talk about it and feel the pain.

  • My dad retired after 25 years of service to the police force and I am proud of him and I got him the most thoughtful gift.

  • I started the year wanting to read 50 books and I only read 8😩. I blame it on capitalism, please.

  • I started going to church physically again and improved my relationship with God.

  • I wanted to learn two sports this year, swimming and tennis but I ended up only learning swimming for months. I started having chest issues so I had to stop, at least I am no longer scared of water.

  • I improved my quality of living, moved into a bigger apartment and did a beautiful interior decor.

  • I realized I did not have any travel vacations this year, just working non-stop. I was mostly travelling for work, which I am changing next year.

  • I grew my income and increased my real estate investments. Next year I want to get into stock and agricultural investments. Please feel free to share any advice you may have.

What’s next for me in 2024

2023 was such a great year for me. In 2024, I want to live life to the fullest. Starting the year jobless does have good sides because I get to rest. Honestly, I worked so much in 2023 that I almost experienced burnout.

In 2024, my mantra is “I can do anything I want to do, the world is my oyster”. I want to try new things, visit new places, dream bigger, pick new skills or ANYTHING I can think about. I want to bask in every victory, small or big. Cheers to 2024.