Late night brainstorming

It is 3.40 am and we just turned the lights off. As for every incredible day, this morning seems a lifetime away.

I am trying to use this blog entry to recollect my thoughts, which feel all colorful and chaotic (a perfectly Bangladeshi mind space). Retelling the day in a few lines would turn into a pathetic attempt. Today is more like a collage of feelings and emotions all randomly fitting together into this perfectly long day. In a novel I just finished, a character claims that we remember the meteorological conditions of about 8 days in our lives. Not sure if this is even remotely true (or important) but I know I will remember today’s weather. I’ll tell you more: I will remember the weather and exactly what I was wearing! A combination that, if you think about it, is very rare. Kirsten and I stood for about an hour and a half waiting for a train in the Dhaka station. It was sunny and fresh and I had worn a beige Sarwal Kameez all day with a gigantic palm crossing my body – pretty unforgettable. [1]

Beyond the palm and the weather, today was our first day of workshop. To be sincere, as we planned the session it was hard to imagine what the group we were going to work with was going to be and feel like. So, we arrived to Chittagong with no expectation and, actually, with a little stress. Our workshop was supposed to start at 3.00 and we only made it to YPSA at 4.30. Seeing a room with 30 students ready to work with us produced enough adrenaline to get us going and keep us focused. In fact, it was easy; almost natural, to brush all the rush away and immediately get to work.

Getting to know the participants, we were really impressed with the confidence they had speaking in public, and with everybody’s pretty impressive English. Their short presentations painted the group as a focused, ambitious and dedicated one. There are already a lot of ideas in the air, and we left the session thinking that the challenge tomorrow will be allowing the space and finding the mechanism for all their ideas to emerge. Tonight, Kirsten and I just ended a pretty intense conversation on what would be the best activity for that. We finally came to an agreement on the brainstorming exercise we will be using. Let’s see how it works out, it should be a good topic for tomorrow’s blog entry!

After the session we had a good and intense chat with Subir, our super helpful coordinator from YPSA. When a good conversation like the one we had tonight starts, I would like to freeze time and just arrive to the bottom of my thoughts. Instead, sometimes problems are so complex that you always feel half unsatisfied discussing them, almost irritated you will have to leave them floating in the air, just as dense as when you started discussing… Today was of those days where ideas are high on life, get their own personality and start plotting, like the toys in Toys Story. I am not sure how the process works. I imagine we collect scenes and impressions from all sort of sources and store them in a ‘no clue how this could ever become useful’ folder. Over stimulating days like today pimp the folder; in a new context, those files get a whole new swag and acquire a new meaning.

I have a gut feeling this week will be all about connecting dots, and finding innovative ways to reposition and make the best out of the files in my no clue how this could ever become useful folder. Let’s see.

Other random scenes from today:

– Super relaxing nap on the train- Bangladeshi music in the background. Beautiful green scenery and lots of cows running away from our window. Lunch of Peanut butter sandwiches, apples, and Canada Dry (another brilliant contribution of Kirsten’s mom). Productive Workshop planning on the train.

– After the workshop- drinking tea on the balcony with all the participants – felt good all around. One of our participants introduced himself to me stating that we were the first foreigners he had met. I responded I was very honored.

It is 4.40, is it? Tell me this is not true. Mosquitoes are hungry. Kirsten just woke up and turned the fan on indirectly declaring that this way mosquitoes will not be able ‘to stay on your skin’. I am highly skeptical, but I take the turning on of the fan as a sign I should really close this laptop and go to bed. I maybe was not able to reorganize my thoughts, but it’s ok because I think they are really ready to pass out anyways.

[1] Clarification: The Sarwal Kameez is a kind contribution to our projects by Kirsten’s mom, who has worked in Bangladesh for about 3 years in the 80s and kept a pretty impressive collection of extremely fashionable items. Kirsten and I are determined to bring the 80s’s fashion back in Chittagong. We will make sure to keep you posted on our success story.

– Gioel 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s