Last week I arrived to Kenya. It was a long flight, since I had to spend the night in London’s cold and humongous Heathrow, where I drank the most expensive cup of coffee I have ever had in my life and took an hour sleep in turns, with a lovely turkish-german young woman that was in the same situation as me. It did not matter. After more than 2 years of being an author for Global Voices, I finally got to meet some of my colleagues who I had gotten to know online, but most of whom I had never seen face-to-face.
Almost a week has passed from the summit. And once again I am able to say time flies when you are having rewarding encounters; this is why I want to present you my personal TOP 7 moments during the summit in Nairobi:
Secret summiteer: I knew it could be anyone, but I had NO IDEA of who was going to give me a gift, and where. As exciting as it seems, Filip from Macedonia caught me the very first day of the summit. My lovely present was a book of folk tales from his country – I must remark, perfect present! It could not have been better. He made my day, jetlag disappeared in one second and I was holding a smile that could not be taken away for the rest of the day!
Our Key Formula(s): From all of the topics we talked about in the summit, some of the discussions I enjoyed the most where the ones where participants shared how local initiatives on the web surged in order to help solving social inequalities. The resulting formula: Tech + Social Cause = Raising Awareness/Working for/ Aiming Global Justice.
Mathare: During our free afternoon activity, I joined the Map Kibera initiative group that went to Mathare slum. For me, this project is a perfect example on how technology can be applied to see real change and empower a community, especially youth. Do not forget to visit their webpage and take a look at some pictures I took during our visit. Also, their blog is something you cannot miss!
Behind the screens: Seeing old faces, meeting new ones, it was just an incredible experience sharing, discussing and talking for hours to authors/translators from all around the world that I admire, and that I was finally able to encounter in one place.
Face-to-face: She had been my mentor. Many times she helped me focus when my mind was submerged in ideas and, honestly, she has been one of the few editors I have been able to ask for advices without hesitating if she was going to get mad/tired of my sometimes juvenile or amateur questions, example- not being able to find creative commons shared pictures for a post to combining the adequate hashtags in order to get social media quotes to be as objective as one can. For all these and way more, thank you Silvia – Latin America Editor.
“Aisha, Aisha ecoute moi”: After days of working and participating in panels, discussions and online conversations, for the last two nights of the summit we were able to shake and get our stress away with rhythms from al over the world. As international as Global Voices can be!
#GV2012: The online discussion happening through the summit was enriching, many questions submerged from the real conferences. Thinking and tweeting. I would like to see this continuous conversation inside (and even better outside) Global Voices Community for the coming years.
Right now, when I am finishing this post, many more moments come to my mind. Ethan’s inspiring words, Bijoy’s amazing flute skills, Jeremy and his interviews for the online summit, Amira’s laughter… I would like to write them all, but on the other hand, I would like to know from Global Voices authors/translators and staff in general: What were your favorite moments of the summit?
Once again, thank you all! – Or as they say in Swahili, Asante Sana!
(Andrea Arzaba, July 2012. Nairobi, Kenya)