Saturday, 17 May 2008

The Final Countdown!

The time has come my dear friends!!! After 3 weeks of lots of work and little sleep we finally got to the final presentation! I think you will all agree we started the day with lots of things in our head and a little bit stressed…but with no idea of what would come later on!
First, just to put a little bit more pressure we still needed to present our projects to our tutors, then make the corrections and put everything together again for the presentation at 4:00 pm!!! After some minor delays and computer crashes we manage to collect everything, translate to Turkish and print all of our work!
By the time we got to ITU, the exhaustion just became adrenaline, people just kept coming and in no time the room was not enough for the audience! Many people we met along the road came: Members of the community in Sulukule, even Diego’s friend, the amazing musician Erdogen Dalkiran with his drums, (which he delightfully played for us at some point!), members of the Sulukule platform, the IMP, the Fatih Municipality, the Fener and Balat EU project team, Professor Alper Ünlü and many friends we’ve made in this amazing experience.
The fact that so many people came just made us work harder and give the best of us; the presentation went great despite the fact that we had to condensed a massive amount of work in a rather small presentation! I also have to say…we had never imagine how difficult is to present with a translator! We had to speak very clearly and at the end you don’t even know if you are being translated exactly as it is! (There are some interesting stories about this!!)
However, the more interesting part came later on!! Before we even realize it, we were spectators of a never ending struggle between completely different interests, people with power that are convinced they’re doing the best for the city and people that are fighting their neighborhood, for the right to preserve the kind of life and relations that make up their daily lives, things so random as to talk to your neighbor from the window and just watch the people go by…things that many of us even take for granted.
And when one resident of the community addressed to us and said that even as outsiders, in three weeks we manage to understand Sulukule because we had the will to do it, it made all our effort worth it… (Although he was too kind, we wish we could spend more time and get to know more this amazing community)…
At the end of the day, this is not just a field trip, an exercise or another step to get a degree; this is not about houses, about globalization or even about demolitions… This is about people and their lives!
I think I’m not alone when I say, is a rather strange feeling to work with such real and overwhelming issues, make an analysis, propose, present and then just go back to your life in London while the problem here will sure continue and get even worse…I praise all the people working for the cause with such passion and courage and we sure hope an agreement can be made and most importantly, that everyone involved acknowledges, once again, that this about PEOPLE!
Ok, I will stop now or I will never end, plus I can already hear Diego (A.K.A Cochabamba) saying I speak and write like a Mexican soap opera!!
“Seriously guys” We hope you can get a glimpse of our incredible experience this day… we sure never forget it…
P.S I know my so dear colleagues have more things to say about this day…hope you can contribute! Photos and videos to be posted later!! Un Abrazo!