Home » Africa: ‘Carnival Calabar gave me hospitality beyond expectation’ says Ann Cheptumo CEO, Acheche Tours, Kenya and Uganda

Africa: ‘Carnival Calabar gave me hospitality beyond expectation’ says Ann Cheptumo CEO, Acheche Tours, Kenya and Uganda

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Carnival Calabar

Her love for Nigeria was mind-blowing and she has continued to make a repeated visit after her first trip to the country six years ago.

In this exclusive interview with WALE OLAPADE, the Chief Executive Officer, Acheche Tours and Events Management Kenya and Uganda, Ann Cheptumo speaks on her experience in Carnival Calabar, opportunities in Nigeria and the hospitable people.

This is not your first trip to Nigeria, what is your take on the people’s hospitality?
Actually, this is not my second trip to this amazing country, I have made several visits and now, I have lost count of my lovely trips to Nigeria. The 2016 edition of Akwaaba African Travel Market (AfTM) gave me the rare opportunity to see the land of the giants of Africa and I fell in love with the people’s hospitality and was hooked on their lifestyle.
I have met amazing people. The people I have met during all my visits are very warm, welcoming and ready to help. All my trips to Nigeria have been unique.

READ: Africa: Pomp and colours as Ayade, president’s daughter, others flag-off Carnival Calabar

The ongoing Carnival Cala

bar is your first, what has been your experience?
I am speechless; I have never experienced something like this before. The most alluring was the rare privilege to join a new band called The Calasvegas. This made my day and I was enthralled by the amazing hospitality gesture accorded to me, the experience was just awesome, I was treated like one of them and as if they have known me for more than 10 years, whereas I just met them few hours to the street outing. That is the real spirit of Africanism.

I sat with the band, I watched them practice all the moves. I saw patience with my eyes as they prepared for the parade. The transformation was just amazing. I walked with Calasvegas from start to end. I experienced team spirit, perseverance & understanding. Where one was lacking someone was there to help and encourage. Throughout the walk, I became part of the assisting team. Carried shoes, adjusted costumes, gave glucose etc.

What is the most exciting moment in Calabar?
To get a chance to walk with Calasvegas Band. They gave a T-shirt and painted my face for the carnival funfair. They didn’t see me as an outsider. I was one of them. That singular treatment humbled me and I am proud to be an African.

What windows of opportunities have the carnival experience opened for you to explore?
I sell tours to different destinations around the world, but my strength and love is in Africa. My motherland is untapped. There is still so much to see and discover in the area of food, culture, sights etc. Calabar festival has opened a new window for me. At the moment, i am thinking of East Meets West; I am an advocate for African travel. I am looking at bringing my clients to this beautiful part of the world. All the networking and contact links i have through friendships, it will help me a great deal to achieve the ‘East Meet West’ initiative. The East African travellers can experience Lagos’ fast life and come down to wowed at the carnival.

Will you say visiting Nigeria is a kind of homecoming and what actually was the attraction that inform your continuous repeat visit?
If I tell you this, I will have to kill you….(Just joking). Yes, this is a homecoming. I am a free-spirited person and I don’t see boundaries. Africa is my home. Nigeria is my lounge. I can’t put a finger to what attracts me here. But each time I have a chance to go somewhere and just enjoy myself, Nigeria tops the list.

I must confess, Africa is a wealth paradise to the other continent, from North, South, East, West to Central; there are all gold mines with different resources yet untapped… too many things to explore. Africa is the place to be.

Source: a4anews.com


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