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The Duck among Majestic Swans

The 7th Belt and Road Teenager Maker Camp & Teacher Workshop was one for the ages to remember. We took part in this event to learn more about artificial intelligence and take part in the competition of assembling an unmanned vehicle and automating it. Our journey to China was a long one and an interesting one at that. We travelled from Entebbe to Addis Ababa then Guangzhou and finally landed in Chongqing.

On arrival in Chongqing our lovely volunteer, who was as beautiful as her name, Aroura welcomed us. As we made our way to the hotel, our breaths were taken away by the gigantic buildings lit up like it was Christmas. They were shining blue, red, gold, and green from head to toe. The massive bridges that spanned miles across the famous Yangtze and Jialing Rivers are beautiful, shimmering in colour. Of course, being my first time in China I felt like I was coming straight out of a stone age.

A lot happened and time moved on so the next day came like a flash of light, of course being jet lagged it was hard to tell what time it was because the body and time told different stories. The first day of the whole program started with an ice-breaking ceremony, which was entertaining. The ceremony was filled with games, prizes, and bonding. I found it hard to make friends being the only black boy my age around. It made me realize how much I missed my best friend back home and how she was doing. The friends I traveled with were better off than me, making friends with their neighbours, friends whom we would all hang out with till the end of the whole event, friends whom we could all count on for help, our closest friends, friends from Indonesia and Zimbabwe. The team from Indonesia was so welcoming to us. They were so fun to work with and hang out with especially the friend I made called Bhisma.

Bhisma was my age and we bonded over our mutual love for anime. He truly was the majestic swan to my duck story. Because of him, I was able to get to know other boys from not only Indonesia but also the Philippines, the United Arab Emirates, and Vietnam. Putranda, Ibrahim, Billy, and Mike all are friends I will never forget. They made it feel like we had been friends forever and because of that, I am grateful to them.

Days passed and the schedule kept winding down. We had the opening ceremony where there were lectures from keynote speakers, and we had tours of some of their factories and museums. We had time to learn a bit about Chinese culture and then we progressed to the opening of the camp for Artificial Intelligence. During the camp, we were able to broaden our knowledge of AI, how to make it, different forms and uses. Because of the nature of the event we were shuffled up from promoting diversity and teamwork. We got paired with team Malaysia and formed team Tech Guru. With this team, we were able to make an unmanned vehicle programmed by both of us. We also made presentations explaining how we did everything. Team Tech Guru went head-on with the other six teams and stood as the victors with the Best Maker award. It was a great fit for all of us. Because of our triumph, we were asked to make another presentation explaining everything at the award ceremony to the high school students from China and representatives from the 38 countries present.

Since all the hard work was done and everyone started to return to their home countries, we started to take it easy to bond more with our friends from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe. Our volunteers took us on a mini tour where we went around the lovely golden-lit buildings of Chongqing and went shopping with everyone. It was at that moment that I, the duck evolved into a swan and felt at home with everybody else at the closing stages of the 7th Belt and Road Teenager Maker Camp & Teacher Workshop

Faustin Ocaya

Year 12 Alphas

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