Days 4 & 5
A lot of work goes into producing and broadcasting a radio story, TV programme or online piece, and with the mission to bring the truth always, Voice of America (VOA) goes the extra mile in every production. I was in the office early to take part in the daily editorial meeting, led by Sonya Green. At the meeting, the team shared ideas on stories being followed, and discussed ways of making a perfect production for the day. I worked with Ashenafi Abedje on the radio news and sat in the studio as Africa News Tonight went live. I was also part of the live broadcast of Africa 54 with Vincent Makori, and learnt from Peter as he produced online versions of his news stories.
At the VOA morning editorial meeting with Sonya Green
On my last day with VOA, I missed a chance to meet Nigeria's minister of Agriculture. I heard he was around, but I got lost in the huge building, while trying to locate the studio where his interview was holding. I was hoping to get an interview on climate change and agriculture. Nigeria's agriculture is climate constrained, and this would have been a good opportunity to hear from the minister about how he was working to tackle the challenge climate change is posing to farmers. With that disappointment, I head to the Hausa service to say bye to the Hausa crew. Aliyu Mustapha was such great company. My General Manager, Ali Abdulahi, worked for the service many years ago. I got him a souvenir - a photo of his empty desk.
It was time to say goodbye to everyone. Miiamma Diallo was out of the office, Usman had left on a trip to Egypt, Sonny was around and got a sunny sporty hug, Linord Moudou, Heather Maxwell, Douglas Mpuga, Vincent Makori, Ndimyake Mwakalyelye and so many more. I spent some time chatting with Sonya. Sonya used to be a journalist in the field, chasing the stories. She dumped the field to follow a path that would let her sit in an office and not be away from her family anymore. Sonya told me the story behind her decision. She had just returned from a long reporting trip, found her son playing and went to get a welcome hug. She got the shock of her life when her son asked "are you my mum"? I didn't want to be in her shoes at that moment. Such a heart-breaking situation to be in. Balancing a career and being a mum is such a challange. She had good tips for me.
Before I left the studios, I got a chance to be interviewed by Jackson, on the show UpFront, a youth radio programme. We discussed my work, my award, and how the youth can become the voice desperately needed in this changing climate. Lots of young people in Nigeria are doing well in working for the planet, but there is still a lot of work that needs to be done, especially in the area of communication of environmental issues. The youth is the future, and a safe environment should be part of that future.
In the News room at Voice of America