A SAIH Newbie in the Fall Gathering 2015
There was quite a buzz before the fall gathering, and as a new member of SAIH, I didn't really know what to expect. But luckily I decided to participate, and after seeing the beautiful surroundings of the guesthouse, I knew it was a good choice to join the gathering on a sunny Friday afternoon. And, with so many people from all over Norway, it was definitely a great way to spend the weekend in good company.
After playing ice breakers and getting to know each other, we had a short presentation about SAIH´s history and its future goals. Later in the evening, we had another presentation, this time from Samuel and Patience from Zimbabwe. The situation of students is challenging in Zimbabwe due to the expensive tuition fees and lack of academic freedom. Female students face also difficulties with poor sanitation and violence. Luckily, Samuel and Patience's own examples show that the situation can be improved, and SAIH is one medium for this.
Saturday was a hectic day full of workshops, activities and dancing, yei! We started the day with a little dance energizer that was embarrassing but effective. Then it was time to hear about "Africa for Norway" campaign. We discussed a lot the problem of one-dimensional view of Africa, and people had plenty of ideas of how to tell about the campaign and its goals. SAIH activists got also a chance to set their creativity free by planning the promotion of the upcoming Radiator Conference, especially how to get people to donate their stereotypes. Later during the day, there were presentations about the election committee and equality committee, as well as a workshop "How to write about the South". All sessions were filled, naturally, with very engaging discussion. Although the topics were sometimes quite serious, organisers hadn't forgotten fun either. In the afternoon, we played scavenger hunt, and the long, but joyful day culminated in a Lion King party.
On the last day of the gathering, there was still time for a presentation of the SAIH development aid and a little workshop about recruiting new supporters. Despite the slightly sleepy atmosphere, people came up with creative ideas to increase the amount of donators among the academic staff. A closure of the gathering was a brief introduction to the situation of Western Sahara and its relevance to SAIH's activists. Then it was already time to head back home, and transform all the information into action!
- Hanna Lehto