On the weekend I went to Afrotech Fest, which is a technology festival for people of African and Caribbean heritage. They have lots of STEM workshops for people of all ages, games tournaments and even an arcade! They also allow a time where people that have made or want to make something in tech to ask for help or promote their things, called the Showcase Hour. It was a fun experience because it was really busy, which meant I got to meet new people and there was also a lot of equipment that I could work on. I also adored the food (which I will tell you more about later).
When I arrived I saw a big sign saying ‘Welcome to Afrotech Fest’. That’s when the excitement began. I went to the registration desk and Xana, who is in charge of the festival’s youth programme, told me to put my name down for the Showcase Hour. My heart started thumping vigorously – Showcase Hour? I wasn’t prepared to speak to an audience! But Xana said not to worry – I wouldn’t have to speak if I didn’t want to, but my name would need to be down so I could be presented with the comic that I had written to win the youth competition.
When we got inside, it was loud and busy. There were loads of people running around, laughing, joking and learning new things. When I went to the youth area they were all working extremely hard. Their eyes were fixated on the iPads in front of them. They were the biggest iPads I had ever seen! I went over to join them and done some coding on Scratch Junior. I have worked on Scratch before at school and at Code Club, so I knew a bit about it already. We had to build our own algorithms (codes that help technology run). I made my characters move, speak, disappear and turned them into my own. The algorithm I used was to make the self drawn gingerbread man sing the Gingerbread Man Song and run at the same time. I done this by dragging the blocks to the right places and recording my voice.
During my time in the youth area, I also made a light up watch – I learnt so much more about engineering from that! As well as this, I learnt how to code the Micro Bit, which is a little plastic technology disc that you can code little algorithms on to make the LED lights glow in different patterns, depending on what buttons you press! Using it has tempted me to ask my parents to buy me one! (Hint hint…)
I hadn’t realised how hard I was working because I really worked up an appetite! For lunch (which was glorious!) we had jerk chicken, rice and peas with plantain; I don’t usually eat plantain, but it looked so nice that I got it and it tasted even more delightful than it looked!
Than it was the Showcase Hour. I had been worried about this part of the day for quite a while. My hands were sweaty and my pulse was beating fast. But the host, Alex, was so hilarious that he made me forget my worries. I was laughing so much that I forgot that I would soon be called on stage. And then I heard it: “I would like to introduce Ameira to the stage.” The nerves hit me like a tsunami! I was so scared now that my hands were sweating uncontrollably. Thankfully, Xana came up onstage with me. She said a bit about the story competition that I won and talked about my blog for a bit. Then she asked me to speak to the audience. I was so scared and started fidgeting with my hands while I spoke. But when the crowd started cheering for me and all of my nerves vanished. I felt comfortable. It no longer felt like I was talking to a bunch of strangers, it felt like I was talking to my best friends.
After I had finished telling the audience about my blog, Xana presented me with my comic and then I started to feel very proud of myself for what I had done. My emotions were bubbling like a bottle of Coca Cola that had been shaken a million times. I looked down at my comic and the illustrations looked extraordinary! I walked off stage admiring my comic, and dad gave me a hug.
Eventually we set off to go home, with my comic, a new technology kit and pride as my prize.
Thank you for reading my blog! 🙂