So, I had to eat Kebab for lunch that Tuesday, that sunny and wonderful day in Baghdad, from Kebab Al-Sayyed in Al-Kadhimiya, just a small shack actually, and it was amazing I’d tell you (not that I’m advertising for it, but to be honest), then I went out to walk a few meters, and then, to my surprise, I met Marwan Al-Samra’ay, a young and enthusiastic photographer from our TEDxBaghdad Volunteer Team, who happened to walk on that same street, with a pizza in his hands, and his father was with him, so we exchanged greetings and his father left, to leave us both starving for that activity that was planned for us on that day.
To tell you the truth, I had known little about what was going to happen, all I was told was that “there will be a workshop about 3D printing for the TEDxBaghdad team in Al-Kadhimiya”, and that was it! So, I chit-chatted with Marwan, until we both arrived to the destined place, and actually it took us a while to find the door (not an easy job I tell you), and then we entered to find most of our beloved TEDxBaghdad family gathered there, and with our arrival at about 3pm, the workshop began its course.
Bilal Ghalib, who was our mentor, and later became our friend, was the facilitator for the workshop, an Iraqi American technology expert, from San Francisco, California, with a vast knowledge in the field of modern technology, including topics like open-source technology and 3D printing, began introducing each of us to the team, including himself, and I never forget what was the first sentence he told us; “I’m here to learn from you, not the opposite; for each of you has his own story in himself, waiting for someone to unfold it”, and he said nothing but the truth; as the following 30 minutes took each and every one of us in a journey; as every member of the team talked a little bit about a project that he/she is in, or is a part of it, and I found that many of audience were so creative to a point that their words drove a feeling of inner satisfaction to me.
After that, Bilal began describing the concept of open-source technology and its numerous uses, and the idea of 3D printing by using the simplest, least expensive tools, and how we can exploit those terms to our advantage, and he discussed the idea of Hackerspaces, and the possibilities of starting a new one here in Baghdad, and then he spent the next 2 hours training us on the various uses and exploits of the open-source technology, including passing Arduino chipsets and LEDs to all the members and teaching us how to use them for the better advantage of TEDxBaghdad, and also gave us an idea on the technical possibilities of using them, like in medical field (as a pulse sensor), entertainment (light painting) or even in fashion (believe it or not, it has a role in there too!), and the session had fun in its definition in every minute.
After that, we took Bilal and the whole team to a wonderful dinner on the Tigris beach, along with the Simech Masgoof (grilled fish, Iraqi-style), and Kebab, along the wonderful weather and the nice companionship, talking and thinking of every possible step for TEDxBaghdad to step into, and then we concluded the night at around 11pm and everyone left for home, when I got back home, all I told my family was; “What a day!”.
By Al-Nasir Bellah I. Al-Nasiry