As I start to type this, the FIRST EVER PyCon Africa has ended. Today was the final day, with a couple of tutorials and the Development Sprints we’ve come to expect at the end of things with “PyCon” in their name. I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a keynote speaker. I’d also submitted a tutorial, A Junior Developer’s Software Engineering Tutorial, which was accepted, so I gave that was well.
Overall, the conference was fantastic. Delayed jetlag caused me to miss the first part of the International Vistor’s Tour Tuesday, but I caught up with the group at lunch. I gave my tutorial Wednesday morning and spent the rest of the day in the “Hallway Track”. Note: I should probabl write a blog post about the idea of a hallway track, as it was new to several people who hadn’t attended a PyAnythingCon before. I know we’re not the ONLY one’s how do that, but still… Thursday and Friday were the “main” conference days, full of insightful, powerful and technically enlightening talks. Each day was bookended by an opening and closing keynote. I was the closing keynote on Friday, followed by ⚡️Talks (I was SURE not to go over my time!) and a “Speakers and others” social event. With outdoor karoke! Saturday was the traditional “Development Sprints” day, along with a few more tutorials.
I tended to optimize for the Hallway Track. I know several African developers, but this was an opportunity to meet more, as well as to have extended conversations with folks I already knew, or had met earlier during my time here. As I presented twice, there were lots more folks who saw me than I got to see, so some had questions or just wanted to chat a bit. As a result, I leave the conference tired (personal interactions require energy!) but feeling quite fulfilled (personal interactions are rewarding!). I got to meet new people, learn about their unique local strengths & challenges, share my limited wisdom and gain new insights.
Accra & Ghana
First, please say “uh-CRAH” or “a-CRAH”, not “OCK-rah”/”OCK-ra” as most of us Americans do.
In short, it’s been fantastic. Although I didn’t get to see huge amounts of the city (I was primarily focused on the conference and it’s attendees), I’ve already decided to come back. I’ll be ‘touristy’ then. Everyone was super friendly, from folks at the hotel (this is the third Marriot I’ve been to this year, in the 3rd country and THESE folks are the CLEAR winners) to Uber (yeah, I know…) drivers and people at the electronics store in the mall. And while I didn’t get OUT of the city, I did meet people FROM other Ghanaian cities. All just as friendly. I may have a ‘cheat code’, since I’ve got an Akan/Twi name (which caused a lot of confusion/amusement), but I’ve found the basic rules of international travel apply: a little basic politeness vocabulary goes a LONG way.
Also, the weather has been shockingly nice. We’re 5 degrees north of the equator, in August: summer. I expected it to be QUITE hot. But the temps have been pretty consistently in the low 70s/low 80s (22-28 C). It FEELS like San Diego, honestly. So, that’s been a pleasant surprise.
As it was the first ever PyCon for the entire African continent, there were a few small bumps. But that’s to be expected. We’re coming up on Year 5 of DEFNA-organized DjangoCon USs and we still hit the occasional bump. And MOST of that happens in/around ONE country. So, I’d have to say no, no real problems. The infrastructure in Africa is less developed than in the US or Europe, but that’s not AFRICA’S fault. Don’t get me started on colonization…
In conclusion, it’s been a great conference and a great trip.