11 July 2009

Crazy mind, able hands!

Holy cats. Back organizing IDDS again, and this year has new levels of insanity -- IDDS is running for 5 weeks in Kumasi, Ghana, instead of MIT.

I like this article on IDDS 2009 a ton: Crazy mind, able hands.

All the organizers are pulling 18+ hour days again, but somehow it feels much more cheerful and thrilling to me this time around. Third time's a charm? I feel completely alive, vibrant. I've never felt this charged before ever in my life, I think. It's as if the energy of the summit completely replaces the sleep and food I'm missing. Flow. Maybe I'm finally getting a handle on this stress management thing?

I'm collecting expressions of agreement. For example, Americans say "uh huh" or "yeah" to indicate that they understand or agree with the person they are talking to. Ghanaians say "ah Haaa" rather enthusiastically. Zambians say "ey ey" (which means "yes" in Nyanja, a common language in Zambia). My favorite may be the Tibetans who make a short sharp inhaling gasp. To my American ears it sounds like the noise I would make if I stepped off a stair that I didn't expect to be there.

I love the IDDS participants this year. So many good conversations, and some of them in Spanish! I'm fantastically excited to see that I've learned a ton of Spanish since the first IDDS when I could barely talk to Carlos. Aw man, if only my French were anywhere as functional. I really desperately want to learn it so I can travel and work in the French-speaking African countries.

I love Kumasi. It's home of the Suame Magazine, a region where roughly 1.3 million people crowd in small workshops, hammering, welding, cutting, casting, lathing, milling the day away. I think it's the largest informal manufacturing area in the world. Other things make me smile, like the Twi word for thank you, "medase", literally means "I lay myself before you." Eggplants are called garden eggs here. And I'm stunned that I've seen both men and women carrying huge 100 lb loads on their heads.

It is the 3rd official day of IDDS and it feels as though it began eons ago. Or, as we say, IDDS--a month of Fridays...because every day feels like it's a week long.

Thus, I have several hundred untold stories...which I'll hopefully be able to post sometime in this lifetime...

For better coverage of IDDS, check out Nathan and Niall's blogs.

1 comment:

Ryan Hubbard said...

I miss IDDS so much! Reading all the blogs, it sounds like an even more crazy-awesome time than last year. Tell everyone there I say hello, I miss them, and I wish I could be there to help out and join in the wonderful insanity!