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Thursday, October 29, 2009

My Journey to France

Another of one of those basketball stories.

When I started coaching basketball, I was chosen (and that time I was not even in the country for 6 weeks) to be on the board of the basketball federation. It was a fun experience. I was in charge of a program whose main purpose was to promote basketball to the youth.

The fun part was that I had access to a Mercedes and a driver who would drive me around to basketball camps within the city. Overall, more than 1000 kids were involved in the camps and we did it for two straight years.

Then, a friend of mine called me to ask me if I would do a presentation to a group of people who came from France. They wanted to know about what we were doing with those basketball camps. I was glad to do the presentation and enjoyed the free food that was provided ( I am always open to opportunities).
For some reason, the French people were impressed (my presentation skills maybe....). They told me that they would invite me to France so that I could share my stories (maybe they knew one day I would be writing this blog.... Just a thought).

Did I believe them? Not really. I didn't even think about it. However, six months later, I receive a call asking me to bring my passport to the French embassy to apply for a visa. What do you mean? I asked my friend. What for? A lot of questions went through my mind. Yes, my French connection worked!!!! I had no passport at that time, though. What a loser!!!

I managed to get a passport within 24 hours (I talked to my people who talked to their people, if you know what I mean). Oh, I forgot to mention that the trip was scheduled in 6 days. I had to travel with another guy that I knew. He could not believe that we could make it. And to make it worse, the guy who was supposed to pay for our flight tickets was not in the country. And to top it all off: the Embassy denied our visa request. Four days to go. No visa, no ticket, no hope. Not for me though. I spent years of my life watching Michael Jordan taking those last second shots and making them. I could be like Mike.

Two days to go. We finally got the visa (my people called their people. You already know the story. Don't you?). But no ticket. The guy who was supposed to travel with me, decided not to go because, according to him, there was no way we could get the money for the tickets within 24 hours (he did not watch Michael Jordan, I presume).

I had 24 hours to find a way. This time, my people could call nobody. The first thing I did was to call my friends in France. I wanted to know, if I were able to find someone to buy the ticket for me, if they would be willing to reimburse this person.. They said yes. Who could give me $1200 (1.2 million in the local currency) in less than a day?

As I was sharing my story with my coworkers at the radio station, one of them just stated: “Why won't you ask “President” (that was how we called our boss)”? I had nothing to lose. So I did. Guess what? He paid for the ticket (our boss was one heck of a person). Next morning, I flew to France where I spent 7 days.

Moral of the story? When it comes down to the wire, and you need a big play, just be like Mike: Take the shot!

Always a pleasure
The Journeyman.

Friday, October 23, 2009

My Journey to Bonesha

Most of you are wondering what “Bonesha” means.
Bonesha is the name of the first radio station I worked for a number of years ago. Even now as I am writing, I can't help but laugh at the thought of me working in a radio station.

Four friends playing basketball together, skipping school on Saturdays to hang out in a café. That was us. We were dreaming of having our own radio station one day. What should be our first step? We thought. Let's create a newspaper! That was a brilliant idea, except that four publications later, there was no more newspaper. We had good time though.

Fifteen years later, yes fifteen, all the four of us are journalists. Two have published books, one is doing his PHD in journalism and one is writing blogs. Just kidding. (I will talk about my radio shows in a later blog).

Do we own our radio station? Not yet. But I think we made it though. One of us is a great journalist, he has traveled all over the world doing reports and he is the Vice-President of a great and well known organization defending journalists' rights.

How about me? You may ask.

Outside of being a journalist, my other passion has been basketball. I played for more than ten years in a league (even though most of the time was spent on the bench, but that's another story). In 1995, I started coaching basketball, and in 7 years, my team won over 15 cups (a tap on my shoulder, please).

What that has to do with radio? Everything. As I was on the verge of winning my first championship as a coach, I was invited at Bonesha to talk about the season. The journalist was a friend of mine. The show was great. At the end, the journalist, out of nowhere asked me: Would you be interested to come back next week to do the radio show with me?..... Are you kidding me? You bet I would.

The week after, I showed up at the station, did the show with him and I was in heaven. The third week, guess what? The guy didn't show up. I did the show alone. Nine months later, I was still doing the show, I even added a second one, which ended up being one of the biggest hits at Bonesha (that's my opinion and I will stick to it).

Then, out of the blue, the President of the radio station came to me and said: You've done a great job with us, I think I am ready to give you a contract. It took me nine months, working without getting paid, but I made it. I worked there for three years before getting a job at Choq FM (that's another blog by itself).

The moral of the story? If you want to work in a radio station, just play basketball.

Stay tuned for the next story.
Always a pleasure.

The Journeyman.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Introduction to My Inspiring Stories!

Hello, my name is Patrick Bizindavyi!

Welcome to my blog

To tell the truth, writing a blog was not one of my plans. But this is what friends are for. For long, my friend Motivatorman has been asking me to share my stories. Sharing your life with people at large is not an easy thing, I must confess.

Then comes purpose. I believe my purpose in life is to be that guy you meet, after listening to him, your life takes a new shift (this is my story and I am sticking to it). For a long period of time I was not aware of it, until my friend Motivatorman mentioned it to me;therefore asking me to share my stories.

Stories? I have tons of them.

Stay tuned, it is my commitment to share my stories once a week.

Thank you for letting me part of your journey.

The Journeyman