Network till you drop! Vicky from Mbeya Living Lab @Slush2015

Slush is the best event anyone with a heartbeat can attend!

Hi all my name is Vick John Vigero and I am here to tell you about my Slush 2015.

vicky_1

Slush experience was beyond amazing and all I want you to know is you do not have to be intimidated by the huge number of people who are going to be there but just think of yourself as the shining star and you will enjoy every bit of your time there.

Walking in the big arena and hearing the loud music and people rushing in and out like the streets of New York gave me adrenaline rush. From the moment we began our journey to Helsinki, I kept thinking this is a dream. I tried slapping myself sometimes but the reality of it was just breathtaking, looking to my left and right I see kitenge hoodies and I knew this is happening. I was so excited to be finally at the event and I just got ready to start networking!

Lesson number one: limit your time on networking. It may seem great at the beginning but it may lower your stamina if you go 6 hours talking and moving around. Being at Slush I learned that don’t wait for people to approach you and ask you about what you do. Instead, just be the friendliest person ever and swallow your pride. Try to stay away from the energy drinks on an empty stomach. Luckily there was food stands all around the stages at a reasonable price and you can get free snacks too.

vicky_2Vicky John enjoying cold weather in Helsinki.

Well the weather was quite cold but I weirdly found myself sweating at some moments. The Finns rush in the morning J, so I had to adapt.

If you are going as a group just make sure you stand out by your clothes and skip the boring look which everyone is going to have. Keep it slightly professional and a bit cultural, for example everybody knew the Tanzanians are in the house by the African print on our bodies.

vicky_3Tanzanian delegates standing out with the kitenge hoodies in the Design Factory, Aalto University.

Even though slush was mainly focused more on technology side I was happy enough. I remember the living labs’ coordinator Simon mentioned that on Friday we will go somewhere where it’s more “home like”, and later on I understood what he was talking about.

On Friday we went to visit Kontupiste and had a session in knowledge sharing with the organization and saw the similarities we share and how we can work together. Kontupiste shared their work they are doing for their community, and how they cater vulnerable groups. They also provide ICT trainings and have a co-working space. We also got to look around the space and what came intriguing to me was the medical facility that is provided for the drug abusers. I was amazed how that helps to heal the person with much medical attention with a comfortable physical environment. Another innovative program that I found interesting, was the album museum which brings together beautiful art and photography in one place. It was like personal histories in pictorial way. That is something I feel we can further it to Tanzania. Mbeya Living Lab also got the opportunity to share what we are providing for our community.

vicky_4Beautiful album art at Kontupiste provided by ordinary people. Through the project Kontupiste has been able to make their collection of private photos the biggest one in Finland.

The visit to Kontupiste was great and we went yet to another organization in Viikki. We were welcomed by fresh grapes and a vibrant cool space. The event of the day was mainly based on looking at the cultural difference between Tanzanians and Finnish people. There was a presentation about Yhteismaa activities which are mostly based on community events.

The session which then followed was for the Tanzanians and Finnish to outline their perception of each other. Some of the things mentioned were: the different weather climates (too cold in Finland and too hot in Tanzania), Tanzanians are more family oriented than Finnish, Finland is cleaner than Tanzania etc. This was a real eye opening experience as I saw that even if people have differences there is a chance for them to find similarities that we all share. The challenge activity was more serious and we looked at the challenges facing both Finland and Tanzania.

2015-11-13 16.40.47Having an ideation session organized by Yhteismaa and Kontupiste in Helsinki Think Company, Viikki aiming to learn Finnish and Tanzanian social challenges and creating solutions for those.

We shared a common huge challenge of unemployment, which is a big problem in both countries. During our session, we discussed that challenge among some others and learned from each other what kind of similarities and differences we have.

Lastly I enjoyed time with my team from Tanzania experiencing the new environment, getting lost sometimes because of the hard street names but also just sharing this great experience. Thanks to the whole team and the Finnish people!

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