What a Week

It’s been only a week since most of us Hack Trippers arrived in Africa. We’re just done with chapter one out of four but our impressions and experiences are already enough for a whole trip.

We started organizing our events right away, checking out iHub and discussing details of the concept and schedule. Getting some feedback on our ideas from people like Alex from Mozilla also led to our first interviews. We found the iHub to be a really cool place to work and meet people and everybody was really supportive and made us feel very welcome.

The events were a huge success. I think all of us share the feeling that things worked out even better than we dared to hope when we started the project. There was this moment when everybody was asked to introduce them and name a few “tags” that describe their interests best and we realized that we really were a big group of hackers – Africans and Europeans – passionate about the same things. Sweet!

I enjoyed the Barcamp a lot because in every session the participants instantly started talking, discussing and exchanging views and ideas. I didn’t feel any gap between cultures, just talking technology and design, no matter what level of expertise. We were hoping that this trip could also help connecting African communities more and this definitely happens. For example in the session “JavaScript for App Development” a fine group of passionate developers gathered of which most didn’t know each other before and as a result the user group Nairobi.js will be started!

On the Hackathon the next day many people from the Barcamp showed up again and everybody obviously enjoyed working together. Some really cool projects got started or were even finished.

The feedback for our events made us really happy and showed us that we are doing it right. Many participants pointed out that they enjoyed the collaboration and asked for more events of that kind. The approach of self-organized community events doesn’t seem to be so common here and we hope that members of the community step up and continue this exchange. It feels so rewarding that our format is greeted with so much enthusiasm.

Connecting through the events is actually happening. We are sharing Twitter handles and email addresses to keep in touch and continue working on the projects we started. We visited impressing initiatives like the Nairobi Dev School which is providing a full-time web development class completely run by the community that will also soon start an OpenTechSchool chapter in Nairobi!

Oh, and we climbed a volcano and some of us saw giraffes in the wild.

One thing is for sure: There’s developers and designers with the same skills and attitude like us. We call them hackers. We found them. We even have the first Africans actually talking about a EuroHackTrip and planning from both sides already began. This is amazing! Our wildest hopes might actually become true!