It rained early in the morning and the weather had turned a cold shoulder towards life. All the five delegates – Jamila Parker, Itumelenge Sebata, Moipone Tsaoane, Nicole Dunn, Thembelilhe Zulu- had arrived and were settled in the hostel. The first day in India seemed pretty challenging for them. Moipone was shivering with cold, Nicole couldn’t believe that India could be this cold, and Itumeleng was rummaging his bags for more woolens.
The discussion between the Startup Safari team and the delegates started along the political lines. We jumped from Trump to Modi and then eventually to the contemporary South African students’ demands of Fees Must Fall.
Later in the evening, an interactive session was held, the venue for which was thankfully changed from the terrace to the dining hall. The room was warm and people kept exchanging smiles.
Apoorv Bamba (Founder at Startup Safari) began with the formal welcome of the delegates and then ran everyone through an outline of what the Startup Safari journey would be like. One of the key tasks required the delegates to draw their first impressions of India so far. Interestingly, noise, chaos, contentment and friendliness were the common words that came up.
“India seems to be suffering from extreme poverty but somehow it still looks so content”- Jamila Parker
“India appears like a project under construction”- Moipone Tsaoane
“Indians seems to be exceptionally friendly”- Nicole Dunn
“India appears like a network of interconnected roads”- Itumeleng Sebata
“There seems to have less female presence in the public places of India”- Thembelilhe zulu
As the sun went down so did the reservations and inhibitions. For the purpose of another task, the delegates had to get up-close and personal with one another for a short conversation to discover one similarity they had in common and one thing they sought for in their lives. Most of our delegates seemed to strive for access to means through which they could empower others.
Such an eventful day was nearing its end and our buzzing and brimming minds needed some solace. What would have been better than music to the rescue?! A very confident Deepak Malhotra (Singer/Songwriter at Dee-Me-Too)strung his first cord and our nerves had already begun to relax. What followed was a beautiful warm moment of everyone singing along to Ed Sheeran and the likes on varying scales. Ah! such euphony!
The day ended with a firm promise of the impending storm of knowledge, but our delegates seemed honed all the same.