Fahad Bin Husne Ali, Location manager and content writer in S2M, Bangladesh is sharing his experience about the last festival in Bangladesh organized by Seats2meet.com (4 February 2020)

Seats2meet Bangladesh has its own little location in a very backdated village. “Permanent future lab” is one of its movements that is held inside the location to help each other gain knowledge about tech. Recently the initiator of PFLab Mr. Jurjen de Vries showed his interest to come and visit Bangladesh. I was so excited as I followed him very closely for the last 2+ years. So on 02/02/2020, he visited Bangladesh. We packed our bags and took a domestic flight to the nearest city to my village. We took rest on 3rd February and 4th February was the festival day. 

Let me take you 2 weeks behind. When Jurjen told me he would come, I wanted to make something huge in his honor. Then he gave me an idea of creating a Seats2meet festival- “sharing is caring” where villagers will bring their foods and we are gonna talk and eat together. I thought it was a horrible idea as I have never seen anything like this before. I was asking myself “why people will bring food to share with everyone? That’s not our ecosystem”.

I create a meetup with my S2M visitors anyway. There were 20 students and I took time to share the “Social Capital” concept and at the end of the meeting almost every one of them said they will bring food. I was shocked and wrong with my assumption and still, I was happy. 

The day we arrive 30 minutes before and see everything organized. My Seats2meet dudes already make chairs, set up microphones, and projector. I was so happy seeing how these guys can work even in my absence. Thanks to the chairman of our union for providing the big hall room for free. 60 chairs were there and people started sitting because we are ready to start. That’s the first day I have ever seen more people than chairs.

Jurjen was kinda surprised. People from all classes, professions, and religions were there. In the beginning, I give the stage to my Seats2meet guys to talk whatever they wanna talk about. I was nervous because these guys never hold a microphone and talk in a room full of people, but I was somehow confident that I trained them enough these days. Three guys came and they killed it. They steal all the focus to them and yeah they praise me and Seats2meet.com a lot which made me a little emotional, to be honest.

                                 

Then the microphone goes to my other mentor who is a Bangladeshi and works with climate change action in International platforms. Last month he had a meeting with the Dutch embassy and he was one of the representative of Bangladesh in the commonwealth program in the UK along with our Honorable prime minister. He is also the CEO of a big organization named Bangladesh Model Youth Parliament. Mr. Sohanur Rahman talked a little bit about how we are destroying our environment and how we can protect through mutual efforts and social capital.

                                                     Sohanur Rahman

After his valuable speech, Jurjen started showing his presentation “Society 3.0 abundance by technology” (Bengali translation by Fahad) . I worked as a translator as most of them don’t know English in my country. I hate being a translator as always but that day it was fun. Why? Because every time I gave a presentation I found people with almost no response. But this time people were so active and Jurjen and his friends including me designed the presentation to engage more people into it. It was amazing! It took 45 minutes and people didn’t feel boring as the presentation was all about everyone’s life. Who doesn’t want to develop a lifestyle? 

 

We talked about various topics which people never heard of such as social capital, Virtual Reality, driverless car, drone, 3D printing and so on. I saw many people were listening with excitement when we were talking about 3D printing as some of them are waiting to build their own house including me. The presentation ended and Jurjen got a round of applause for a lovely talk.

Along with the villagers, students and S2M guys there were also many respected people in our room such as Chairman of our union, Teacher, Officer in charge of our police station and so on. Like our culture, we took their reaction in the end. I was so happy and grateful to them because they gave their precious time to us. Their reaction was great. They praise the S2M and its effort to come to a tiny village like ours. They also invite everyone to come and join Seats2meet to learn and solve problems such and rats in farming and lack of knowledge of technology.

After getting amazing words from them here comes the fun part. I thought there will be a lack of food as we all are bringing from our house and I had no idea how much it will be and how many people will be there. But it was more than enough. People eat each other’s food though they didn’t stop for chitchat with food as its lunch time and all the people were in a hurry to take a bath and eat rice. I saw Jurjen was a bit upset as he expected people will be eating and talking to each other for quite a time. But it didn’t happen due to bad timing, sorry mate, next time.

 

We end our first part of the festival at 1:30 PM. We end with the announcement of our Tech talk program and dancing party at night. I will write about the festival tech experience and dancing parties with Jurjen in another blog. 

Of all, I was and I am very grateful to the awesome audience and my S2M volunteers for making an awesome day of my life and inspire me to work even harder. I just wanna shout and say “Yes, we can”. The future has begun even for us.

Here are some more pictures from the festival.

 

 

 

Thanks from Seats2meet, Bangladesh for reading the blog and see you soon in some other blogs.