Featured Image Source: Hackernoon
This is a sequel to my earlier post about Decentralized Love in the Blockchain and Crypto Community. Yeah, it’s been long overdue. But I wanted to wait till my broken heart was mended.😃
That was because, although I got the needed funds to cover my travel and accommodation to Toronto to speak at EDCON 2018, I couldn’t go due to my Canadian visa application being denied.
The application process was a stressful and emotionally charged one. In hindsight, perhaps I was over expectant and couldn’t imagine it being denied. I can’t begin to itemize all the lost opportunities, top most of which was, meeting my very good mentor Bob Summerwill and Alison Alexis, Elena Sinelnikova, Natalia Ameline and the rest of the CryptoChicks gang. Also lost was an opportunity to be interviewed by the Polymath team.
While this is on a personal level, it is the same experience with most holders of African passports. I know countless persons with similar sad stories. Worthy of mention here is Christian Nwamba (@codebeast). I am well aware that the current stringent rules is thanks to those before us who got the opportunity, but misused it.
Dashed hopes aside, and rather than making this a pity party, here are my ideas on the way forward, in order to make things easier for African speakers invited for international events.
- Event organizers can apply for visas on behalf of their African speakers, even if the speakers have to pay for this particular service.
- Sufficient time be given to enable African speakers apply for visas. Some events don’t approve speaker applications until about couple of weeks to the event. This is a very short time for some visa applications that take a month and longer to process.
- Country immigration departments can set up specialized visas for international speakers. Such visas could grant entry for about one to four weeks.
Fall down seven times and rise up eight. So, I will definitely be applying again to Canada some other time. I still have 85% of the $2000 raised saved for either a canada trip or an intercontinental trip, at an event I would be speaking. In the meantime, I’ll visit other easily accessible countries. Last month, I was in Nairobi for the African Women in Tech Conference where I was on a panel discussing Cybersecurity Trends and Strategies. It was an exciting experience and I made lots of new friends.
I have a dream where movements across borders is truly decentralized. And i know Blockchain can help achieve that.