Friday, January 23, 2015

Workshops in Dar: general observations

The time and energy were both insufficient to type a post right after the workshops. Luckily, it's Friday, I do have some time to kill while Geraldine is on safari, so let's start typing away on posts on the workshop.

Let me use this first post to give the general observations.

Getting there and back

We had been warned by Steve, Lily and of course Maaike: the traffic is terrible. Without traffic, going from the Slipway to the Luther House is a breeze. Google thinks you might be able to do it in 15 minutes:

To reach Luther House during rush hour we tripled this time. At least. So Swedi, the regular taxi driver for VSO, picked us up at the Slipway at 7:45. Apparently every car in Dar must cross the Selander Brigde at exactly the same time. This results in a traffic jam that we are not used to in The Netherlands: traffic can just be halted completely for half an hour:

But I must say, African drivers sure know how the use the road at its maximum capacity. With a bit of give and take everyone eventually can get moving again.

And by the way: getting back in the afternoon was even worse. We did have the change to see some "scenic routes" offered to us by the taxi driver looking for some way to slip through.

The venue and the food

The Board Room in Luthers House is quite a big room that is spacious enough to keep the 30+ persons we catered for.

We did not experience any power cuts and even the wifi was quite reliable. Not that TIA then!
Even the AC did function properly, and it was set to freezing, so every time I left the room I did get the punch of the heat outside. The first time in Tanzania I wore two layers of clothing...

The food was very good, except for the coffee (but that is just me, I guess). Not just a "koekje bij de koffie" en "een boterhammetje met kaas", but good snacks -those samosas are delicious- and lunches with rice, noodles, vegetables, chicken and fish. It's a good thing Maaike practiced some energizers, otherwise the lunch dips would last much longer. The "kichwa, mabega, magoti na vidole" was hilarious.

The people

Quite a mix of backgrounds, and 27 of them in total. Academic and commercial publishers, librarians, graphics designers, suppliers of conversion services, even a copyright specialist. Some very experienced, some with basic knowledge in "digital publishing". Some very outspoken, some mostly silent. It turned out to be quite hard to cater for everyone, but more on that in the posts on the separate days. 
Luckily the discussion within the groups were mostly lively, so one goal of the workshops was met easily: share and connect. 

The days:

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