Age of Wonderland, 100 Days of Learning in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

I was part of an inspiring half-day session named 100 Days of Learning, organised by the Age of Wonderland program (www.ageofwonderland.nl) on Valentine’s Day. An initiative to foster social innovation by facilitating co-creation between creatives in Africa, Latin America and Asia and the Netherlands.

The event was organized by Guavay Tanzania, and held at Buni-COSTECH, Dar es Salaam. This was the second day of the 100 Days of Learning, with the overall aim of sharing (personal) knowledge, wisdom and experiences among different groups of people worldwide. The learning and unlearning session brought together about 15 young bright minds to create awareness about what they do and don't know, with the effect of generating inspiration, creativity and mostly motivation in whatever they do by contributing to our worldwide challenges like climate change, sufficient feed production and waste reduction.

It was a very provoking in-depth life knowledge (not academic or technical) and wisdom sharing experience. In an unconventional, informal set up, we all shared knowledge and life experiences around thematic areas, and together discussed lessons to draw from them.

Unu, an Age of Wonderland fellow in 2016 and entrepreneur based at Buni-COSTECH spoke about embracing failure as part of the learning process. Instead of avoiding failure, we should acknowledge it as soon as all the signs that a venture will not work are clear, we should fail fast and cheap. In his experience which also became apparent to all of us, we are so afraid of failure that we only focus on successful examples only. Instead, we should also seek and learn from failed projects, ideas and people.

Arne Hendriks (www.arnehendriks.net) an artist and advisor of Age of Wonderland, talked about life turning events in a synonym of hitting the tip of a flower with a stone to release its beauty, accidentally. Sometimes we live in denial, ignoring signals from within and from people around us about our potentials, until we cannot disregard them any longer. When we heed that voice and follow our true callings, a life of beauty unfolds, it becomes natural to live in our skin and we actually flourish.

Katera, Age of Wonderland fellow and an entrepreneur and co-founder of Guavay Tanzania limited, shared insights not very far from other talks as well. His was on celebrating small successes and getting in touch with inner passion while opening up to the world. We so often ignore achievements that we think others may deem insignificant but in real sense they mean a lot to us, such us becoming a runner up in a competition. Celebrating these small victories boosts our confidence, at the same time fuelling our drive to push forward.

Another discussion was around how we connect to other people, led by Christine Wagner, program manager  of Age of Wonderland. Growing up we are encouraged to stick to big achievers in life; A students in classes for example. The seemingly harmless advice assumes by getting close to them we may get an insight into how they do what they do and maybe use it ourselves. But on the other hand this is very limiting as a large number of "average" people around us rich in all sorts of experiences is ignored.

After each talk we all shared reflections on the talk and discussed how they related to us, whether it was embracing failure, celebrating small successes, making more meaningful connections with other people or heeding to our inner voices. 

By the end of the session, I felt liberated and more connected to my inner self. It felt that it's okay to fail sometimes and change courses of life. I felt proud and more open about the failures I have ever gone thRough. They are a testimony of strength and perseverance.

 

Aneth David

Hivos, Baltan Laboratories and the Dutch Design Foundation are partners in Age of Wonderland.

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