A summary of CLI's US tour
Recently, CLI’s leadership team visited the United States. Below, we have included parts of a summary written by Co-founder Emmanuel Baraka.
REPORT ON THE USA TRIP
This is a summary about our trip from Kinshasa to the USA, it includes expectations, activities, challenges and suggestions.
Expectations before travelling
Before travelling, we were thinking of a busy time in the USA, with many meetings of meetings and fundraising events;
We were expecting to have time to visit the city, to move around and enjoy the beauty of the country,
We were expecting to have more time for three of us and discuss any single details about CLI, it future and strategies;
We were expecting to have a time for a short training on the objectives of CLI, the strategic plan and the expectations from the board for the next fiscal year;
We were expecting to taste new food, to meet new people and to have new challenges
From Kinshasa to DC via Istanbul, a new experience
Our first long journey in a plane full of joy for the three of us together. Istanbul was the first biggest Airport for I and Robert and Emmanuel, as we had 4 hours before the next flight, we had an opportunity to move within the airport. Reached the USA completely exhausted and slept at Nath’s Friend (Jake) who were so gentle and welcoming person.
The following day, we had an opportunity to meet our American-Congolese cousins and were so happy to see that connection and love, because of them and their families, we felt really home with Africans.
Travelling to Buffalo, a very nice trip
It was such a great experience and a very rich tour to Buffalo, we had time to discuss in the car, to see the mountains and the snow and to see the areas and infrastructures.
A Sunday at Orchard Park Presbyterian Church, a very special moment full of joy, honor and recognition as if we were very important people. Got time to share our program and were blessed in the sermon
Linda (from Orchard Park Presbyterian Church) was one of the amazing people we met in Buffalo, she loves CLI, she loves people and we were impressed by all her energy and care;
Back to DC
We had a meeting with the board, we talked about the program and the changes we are planning and we had their comments and suggestions.
On Saturday March 23, 2019; We had the CLI Gala in the evening and felt like it was a great opportunity that we could maximize even more
People wanted to learn from us, to see our experiences. We enjoyed the moment and felt it was a very successful start that helped us to understand the way our presentations should be well organized;
After the Gala, we had 3 major meetings, 2 at the Howard University and one at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, we learned from these presentations that people really want to know what is happening because Congo is like another planet and they want to know how to get involved;
At The IMF, International Monetary Funds, We had a very deep discussion with Nath Uncle During Dinner about Congo Leaders Venture Funds projects, the idea of the bank.
We had time in our American-Congolese families and some informal meetings, one with Melvin Foote, Joseph from the Chamber of Commerce and a consultant to President Tshisekedi.
The weather was a bit challenging, we never experienced such coldness;
The new system, without a sim card that allows us to move and call if lost or even use mobile internet made us stay home because we don’t know where to go;
Lessons and Suggestions
People are busy in the USA and life is costly that it we realized that some of what we thought before travelling was not realistic. We think that if we have another opportunity to travel to the USA, there will be a need of having a day to day Agenda, that gives us the clear picture of what we will be doing;
People want to see actions, the presentations don’t need to be words, but pictures and videos, then some little comments. So next time we need to come with organized presentations adapted to different audiences and have also clear expectations about how to more involved people;
We think it would be smart to have an address in DC and to get some volunteers for CLI from different universities who can develop the link with institutions and the community via social media, this will require us to send good pictures and good videos
We thought that it is good for CLI to develop a link between American Young People and the Congolese community as a way to let people know about what we are doing;
Most of our expectations were totally met and we felt it was a very great success as the first experience, we wish we could have more depending on possibilities, so that we are able to improve.