In 2010, I was encouraged to apply to attend Mekong ICT Camp.
I was a little apprehensive. Sure, I’d been to BarCamps and tech meetings – in Cambodia, usually joined by my friends. Out of sixty people, I knew maybe three, and I was stuck with them for a week.
So I decided to draw everyone.
(I needed something to keep myself from compulsively checking social media every five minutes.)
I managed to complete about fifty sketches in five busy days. By then all my worries had long been discarded. Regardless of nationality, we all shared a lot of interests, and curiosity overcame caution. The trainings and lectures opened up new ideas and paradigms that I’m using to this day.
Three years later, I’m preparing to return to Mekong ICT Camp. This time, I’m assisting with the program, and presenting on behalf of Open Development Cambodia, which I’d never have predicted. I’m still in touch with many of the people I sketched; there’s an informal network of Camp alumni scattered around the planet now.
I can’t guarantee this year’s attendees will have the same experience I did. But I’m quite positive they’re due to learn about some mind-expanding new concepts and tools – and make some interesting new friends.