Friday, July 10, 2009

Day 3- Getting into project teams

A group of us began our morning with a game of 730am football at a nearby field. No better way to kick start the day so long may it continue! The teams were anxious to get some more detailed descriptions of the potential design challenges on offer, so Amy, Ben and Harald wasted no time in getting to work. These projects will help define the next five weeks of the IDDS experience so as such there were plenty of questions and comments from the crowd, as the participants sought to clarify the projects in their own minds.

Nadia translates for one of our participants from Guinea, Issatou

Each participant filled out a card with their project preferences before splitting into groups of three to embark on the latest wacky activity we had planned for them. Each group were given a task which they had to complete at Tech Junction, the local market just outside campus. The aim of this activity was to get participants used to interacting with the local people, ahead of our frighteningly soon village visits, tomorrow afternoon! All the while, Amy, Ben and Harald feverishly worked through their lunches in order to have the teams ready to announce by 4pm, just four hours after receiving the votes. This is an extraordinarily quick turnaround time given the huge variety of factors that need to be taken into account when creating successful team dynamics, while also making sure everyone is suited to the project they are working on.

Our delicious lunctime meal of Palava sauce, fried plantain and rice...

Participants were made to wait in suspense just a little longer though. Professor Jonas Barnie, a lecturer in sociology at KNUST, gave a talk about the customs of Ghana projections of how we could interact with the villagers over the next few days. The talk oscillated between the practical, such as which hand to greet the chief with, and the more general, the religious make up of the regions we would be visiting. Some of the participants were not in agreement with Professor Barnie about some of the traditional views he expressed regarding the villagers but the lively debate that followed was to prove almost as informative as the talk that preceded it.

After a quick break it was time for the teams to finally hear their project groups and the excitement in the room was tangible. You'll be hearing a lot more about these names over the next few weeks..

This was followed by a team building activity which turned out to be a lot more entertaining than we imagined when we were devising it. Each team had to perform a two-minute skit (comedy sketch) about what might happen if a famous person turned up at IDDS. The teams really stepped up to the plate and came up with some pretty hilarious sketches out of categories such as “Musician”, “Politician” and “Actor” which we had given them. A lot of teams really went out of their way to make sure that there were plenty of languages used in their sketch, and one team even got the audience to translate parts of their sketch for them! It was amazing how many replications there were among who figured in the sketches though – globalization anyone? The most common figures represented on stage were Gandhi, David Beckham, Obama, Michael Jackson, The Terminator, Amy Smith and of course a certain Irish organizer who seems to lend readily to caricature on the stage!

The teams were each given a reward of some Ghana Cedis to go and buy some dinner and get to know each others, while the organizer’s set about finalizing the finer details of our trips to the villages. It’s an incredibly exciting time for both IDDS and the participants but at the same time it’s a logistical nightmare! Kudos has to be given here to the village visits committee, who have been working flat out over the last few days to get everything ready. I myself am accompanying the team that is heading up to Pastor George’s village, New Longoro, and cannot wait to get going!

Jake effortlessly morphs into Barack Obama

Tonight Ladies and Gentlemen, Joe Agoada will be performing as...Can you guess?

Just before bed I took on a group of the Indian participants in a quick game of hallway cricket and somehow managed to come out on top, making very few friends in the process! Have a feeling they are not going to go so easy on me next time…