First of all, it is just such a terrific poster, an exuberant mish-mash of what is good about Africa. I know that One Happy Family, which was where it was taking place, are not blessed with resources – the predominant style feature is the wooden pallet – so it is even more remarkable that someone should have come up with such a quality design, and that it had been produced so well, in four different prime languages – English, French, Farsi and Arabic – and with the details in English, French or Greek, which makes for mind-boggling possible configurations.
I was teaching at Mosaik during the afternoon, so headed out as soon as I could. Problem number one was that I had, as usual, forgotten to bring water. A blazingly, blindingly, blisteringly hot day made it worse – a long wait for a ride in a hot bus, followed by a trudge up the hill to OHF, and I was simultaneously drenched and parched, so not in the best frame of mind. I was hoping for something to drink and a mellow vibe, but instead found just a water fountain and a pounding, head-banging beat from a sound system. In front of the stage was a gang of jumping, screaming young men; around them was a cheering crowd holding up phones to take pictures; and around that a second ring of mostly European volunteers with cameras.
This was not my scene, so I headed over to the Ecohub, to see if anyone was there, but that was all shut up, so I decided to cut my losses. I trudged back down the hill, rather wearily, and after waiting in the heat for a bus that didn’t come, I was offered a ride back into town by an air-con minibus that was ferrying volunteers from one of the NGOs.
It turned out that there had been some cool live music earlier in the day, when I had been teaching. And it was clear that it had been a success, injecting some welcome excitement and vitality into what must be pretty tedious, difficult lives; the fact that I hadn’t had a good time was neither here nor there.