The past two days on the FOSS Road in Tajikistan have been incredible. Everything about this event is innovative - but the most important thing is that its 'real' in every sense. Everyone is included and encouraged to share and communicate meaningfully with others - it is this atmostphere that builds such a strong learning culture among participants.
This morning, Marek asked me to lead the morning circle where we asked participants to describe their "favorite place". We tried asking who their favorite dancer was from the bonfire last night, but there was such a resounding cry of 'Aso! Aso! Aso' that we had to go back to plan A. Everyone was in such high spirits - despite the rain that forced us indoors - especially when latecomers each had to sing a song. We heard a great rendition of a Hindi song from Omar (Afganistan) and a Russian song from Ravshan, an e-rider from Tajikistan. Everyone was so supportive with clapping and singing along that I fear tomorrow the wanna-be-rock-stars will be late on purpose!
Ali, Talat and I are facilitating the 'publishing' track. We were relegated to the kitchen today because the billiard room where we were yesterday doesn't have any windows and its really cold and rainy today. I'm a very sad gal because I mistakenly packed loads of summer gear and my jeans are starting to grow things I've worn them so often.
Our group is great, although the translation can be really frustrating. One thing it is teaching me is how to be more clear and more brief: clear because the translator will ask if they don't understand you (something most people don't do in the middle of you speaking), and brief because it takes so bloody long for the sessions that we're having to summarise really well!
The evening's entertainment started with a wonderful local musician who sang the most beautiful, haunting songs (especially when I heard a translation of the poetic lyrics from Ali). The bonfire was festive and led to much rocking from traditional local songs to rap and hiphop. I drank too much (very good) vodka and said all the wrong things as usual - which prompted me to say for about the third time in 2 weeks that I will never drink again.
After the 'speed geeking' session (7x4 minute explanations of our 'Living Archive' project) I'm starting to feel my energy lagging. Usually the camp is 7 days (this one is 5) and I can't imagine how the facilitators keep it together.