After going through the pleasantries on Sunday evening we started working on our workshop, as we still had a lot to do before presenting our ideas the next morning. We plowed through ideas and a few Kilimanjaro beers until our mentor Zita provided us with a great mid-work activity, which feels like it is going to stick for the whole trip: mood meters!
The concept is simple. As a group we decide different parameters for the x and y axel of a chart. They can be anything, for example, home-sickness, discomfort, happiness, heat, too much Celine Dion (our taxi drivers favourite artist apparently. Here is to hoping he plays the same CD on a loop for the whole trip, not just for the first day!). Then all of us would mark the spot in the chart which corresponded with our feelings. Sounds a bit childish but we found it to be a legit way to reflect on our thoughts in the moment.
The parameters in the first mood meter reflect the issues important to us on the first days: health and motivation.
As you can see from the picture, everyone was feeling highly motivated about our upcoming weeks but the health meter had some fluctuations. The issues that arose had a lot to do with the interesting but exhausting 25 km bike tour in the intense Tanzanian heat. Our group members had varying cases of sunburn, heat exhaustion and some minor issues with bed bugs. Nothing too serious though!
After our workshop on Monday we decided to do it again. Fortunately we felt the health factor could be left out of the meter this time, as everyone felt better after a good night’s sleep and a day spent in a fridge-cool (normal room temperature) room. For the second mete, we came up with the factors: hype and culture shock and this time our answers had a lot more variation.
It was especially interesting to note that the bike tour had generated mixed feelings. Even though seeing the living conditions of the locals was something to be expected it still turned out to be shocking. The hype factor provided important insight into how we felt about the dynamics of the group during the early days. It was important to voice thoughts and concerns aloud so that the integrity of the group would stay strong.
We shall see how our meters evolve during our trip, but it really feels like the value of this simple tool is well worth the effort.
Erik & Venla