Monday, July 6, 2009

D Day (-2) - The (relative) calm before the storm

We spent the vast majority of the morning getting ourselves ready for the arrival of our first batch of participants, and we certainly had plenty to keep us busy, both individually and collectively! While Stephen and Jess began to lose sleep at the thought of rewiring microwave plugs, Sumit and Laura were run off their feet preparing the all important participant packet our newest arrivals would receive on their arrival in the dorms. Hayley managed to rope a group of volunteers to function as guinea pigs for a practice run of the Design Activity, a fun team building exercise that will be the central focus of what looks set to be a jam packed first 24 hours for all involved! Giving nothing away, the organizing team are pretty excited about the fun people are going to have with this activity and it will be interesting to see just how the groups respond to their first mini design challenge of the summit.

Getting in some tables for our new fourth floor workshop

We checked in for a quick meeting at 5pm before deciding on a potluck dinner as the ideal method of greeting for our fledgling participants. We each decided on a dish which we thought would be most welcome to folks fresh from a long plane/bus journey and I think it’s fair to say that some of us have a more natural ability for food preparation than others. Among our new arrivals were participants from Tanzania, India, Sierra Leone, U.S.A., Uganda the U.K so as such we had to try and cater for a wide array of taste buds. As we ate together on the fourth floor it came as little surprise that my combo of bread, jam, beans and pineapple was the first to disappear – more appealing than it sounds folks!
Sumit gets to work on his world renowned rice

Jake, Tombo and Joseph share a joke with their meal

It was great to finally put faces to the names we have been seeing only in print for the last couple of weeks and, of course, wonderful to catch up with some old friends. Both Shaibu Laizer and Bernard Kiwia, bike mechanics with Global Alliance in Tanzania, were participants at IDDS 2008 in MIT and are both visibly delighted to be back among the IDDS family. Some of the fresh faces include: John Baptist(JB), a recently qualified doctor from Uganda; Jacob, a mechanical engineering student from the US; and Patricia, a teacher from Sierra Leone. We just about managed to squeeze in everyone to the 4th floor for the potluck but I can only imagine how completely nuts it’s going to be when the next batch of fifty or so arrive tomorrow evening. However, if this briefest of glimpses into some of our participants’ personalities is anything to go by, it’s going to be a pretty exciting five weeks!

Our chair transferring system worked a treat

Twi phrase of the day:
aane - yes
daabi - no


Curious G said...

Niall, the blog is great. Great updates, pictures, and language lessons. I hope you can keep posting when things get even crazier. Best wishes to all of the IDDS participants and organizers from Continuum.

Lucy said...

Hey y'all, saw the blog on the MIT spotlight today. Just wanted to say hi to Paul, Nadia, and the rest of the gang. Looks like you guys are coming up with great stuff!