Monday, February 17, 2014

ISFiT Diaries II - The ‘(Anti) Monkey Business’ Workshop

Recollections from the International Students’ Festival in Trondheim 2013

The next day, after a hearty Norwegian breakfast, I board Bus # 5 for Studentersamfundet, where all the workshop participants would converge. From there, we walk our way to the venue – Nova Kino.

The Monkey Business Workshop at Novo Kino.
Click by Danish Henry

Vladimir Nizov - My Angel Friend.
Click by Danish Henry
We start our day at the workshop with the ‘check in’. The first day is about knowing and trusting each other. A lesson is refreshed, if there is no trust, there can be no dialogue. We talk about ourselves, our countries, our studies. For the next week or so, we indulge in intense discussions to address pressing issues facing the world. We play trade games, group up to create social campaigns, watch movies, undertake speed debates, to name a few activities. Fortunes hands me my ‘angel friend’ – Vladimir, a Ukrainian law student and a keen learner.

Everyday is a new day at the workshop. No activity is repeated and the element of surprise is retained to keep boredom at bay.  The workshop leaders make sure our energy levels don’t go down, so they have a constant supply of healthy calories, in the form of fruits. And not to forget is the ‘HaHoHe’ – ISFiT’s energizer for the participants. But we have our very own energizer for our workshop leaders, proudly brought to us by the Danladi Anagi of Ghana (read it in the Danladi style). Even though I don’t understand what ‘I do it like this and I do it like that’ is, I still enjoyed it.

The Monkey Business Workshop.
Copyright with Fotogjengen, Samfundet
And there can be no other better way to end the day – check out – a kind of feedback mechanism. I always used to look forward to check outs by Bridget – our Barbie doll from Australia and the most soften spoken person I’ve known. Bridget, do you ever get angry? Valuable contributions to the check out, by conveying us ‘practical information’ is made by Jay, a sexy Norwegian, who rises his brow for emphasis, has helped me each and every time I’ve asked him to.

There are interesting anecdotes I’ll like to share.  
  1.   A photograph of an Afro child with a Kalashnikov collects condemnation from all participants, except Bao, a lad from Vietnam, who affirms, in his unique style ‘that child soldiers are a source of national (Vietnamese) pride’. I was startled, ‘Bao is like wow’. I admire his ingenuity.
  2.  We were divided into groups and asked to formulate organizations and their dynamics. My group created a campaign called ‘Be the Change’. Pointing out the demand and supply principle of economics, we suggest not to buy porn, thereby discouraging and financially starving the porn industry. Vladimir, a law student from Ukraine rightly pointed out, ‘even if you do not find the porno, the porno will find you.’

From L to R: Sofie Andelic, Kristian Hoff, Susanne Sandell, Thea Emilie Forsen
& Jorund Johansen - our workshop leaders.
With permission from Sofie Andelic.
I must appreciate all workshop leaders for all their extraordinary efforts, reaching the workshop before we did, for listening to our trivial questions and for things known to workshop mates. ISFiT is incomplete without them.

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