By July 30, 2022 No Comments


My trip to Houston, in United States of America (USA) started earlier than most of the other Rotarians, as I left the country nine days before the Convention to spend time with my brother and his family in Boston, Massachusetts.  As I stepped off the plane to US soil for the first time, I did not know the adventure that was ahead of me, the lasting friendships I would make or how my life would forever be changed.

I was taken to tour Boston City and being a Kenyan, I was happy to see where our marathoners start and finish the Boston Marathon. I enjoyed every moment I spent with my brother’s family, and I took lots of photos to create good memories.

On 4th June 2022, I left Boston early in the morning to Houston which was a four-hour flight, and I must confess I was super excited that I will be meeting Rotarians from all over the world.  I took an Uber to the hotel, checked in and immediately headed to the Convention Centre after that.

Attending the Convention was so different than I thought it would be, the fun, the fellowship and all the activities went beyond my expectations. As the then incoming President, I ensured that I attended several breakout sessions to hear how different Clubs in the world are conducted.  They allowed different participants give real life experience from their clubs.  I enjoyed all the sessions I attended which were very informative.

I also ensured that I attended all the morning assemblies where different speakers starting with President Modi of India giving their speeches. I was personally touched by one doctor from Ukraine who left people in tears after narrating what they have gone through since the war with Russia began.  I was there when they announced the next RI President Jenifer Jones, the first Woman RI President, and the jubilations and dancing could be heard from outside the hall as it was so loud.  The event MC Jason, who was really good and so lively that he kept everyone stay put and engaged on the day’s programme.

I met so many new friends, and others who have been my friends on Facebook by virtue of being Rotarians. Most of them were excited to take photos with me, I wonder whether we shall meet again. I also met Rotarians from other Clubs in District 9212, and it was just amazing how we Rotarians connect so fast – indeed we are one big family of Rotary!

Houston is a beautiful City and driving from the hotel every morning with the bus and passing by Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was just great. The tour of downtown on the open top tour bus was beyond words can explain.  The shopping malls, cafes are just beautiful for lack of a better word, and of course the roads are on another level.

We later visited the Space Centre which has the largest collection of moon rocks and lunar samples.  The learning at the NASA Johnson Space Center was magnitude – I must say this is a place no one visiting Houston should miss.

District 9212 had organized for a Party in one of the joints near the Convention Centre, (The Rustic) and we had so much fun.

The excitement after two years of no in-person conference was clearly seen from all Rotarians attending from all walks of life, and you could tell the first timers from those who had attended before. It would be wonderful if every Rotarian could experience at least one Rotary International Convention. I look forward to attending the 2023 RI Convention in Melbourne, Australia, God willing.

The RI Conference came to an end on the 5th day which was on 8th June, and on the 9th June 2022, I checked out of my hotel and took a bus to Dallas, which was a four-hours drive.  The view was beautiful, and the ride was so smooth that I did not even realize that I had arrived.  From Dallas, I flew to Washington DC to visit some relatives in Baltimore, Maryland.  On the second day of the visit, I was taken for a tour of DC which saw me going to the White House.  The excitement was written all over my face.  On 13th June 2022, I left Baltimore for Lewisburg in Pennsylvania, still to visit my relatives.

I ended up traversing four states and six cities which was a lifetime experience. I look forward to the next RI Convention in Melbourne, Australia which I urge all Rotarians not to miss. After attending my first Convention, by the Grace of God, I don’t think I will miss any other Convention in the coming years.

~President Hilda Gikera