Wetskills-USA 2020, by Adele Young (IHE-Delft Institute for Water Education)
After weeks of preparation, we have finally made it to Wetskills NY. For some, the journey meant traversing the continents, for others a direct trip followed by a long two hours in the JFK Airport immigration line. But it’s all worth it as we’re finally here and ready to take on the first day of Wetskills New York.
On Sunday we meet all the participants. Meeting a new group is always exciting and a little nerve-wracking. We have an enthusiastic group of young professionals from different countries Thaiane and Mila (Brazil), Yaya ,Aya and Danika (South Africa), Tim, Dan, Sannah, Meinke from (The Netherlands), Lester (Philippines), Ayman and Samah (Jordan), Rita (Palestine), Trinidad and Tobago (me) and we will be joined by others online.
Going with flow
No first day in NY is complete without a bit of sightseeing and no bit of sightseeing is complete without getting lost. Strolling through the streets of New York you can’t help feeling wanderlust under the sheer loftiness of the skyscrapers. I know such a cliche. After our walk, we took the Ferry to Staten Island. There you can glance back at Manhattan in all its glory but the water nerd in me wondered where the Big U is being constructed. After Hurricane Sandy, parts of Lower Manhattan and other areas were damaged. A plan was made to develop a project called the Big U. The project consists of the construction of several miles of raised parkland, floodwalls, berms, and movable floodgates that will reduce coastal flood risk on Manhattan’s East Side
In the afternoon, we did a team-building activity called Crazy 88. The objective was to make to break the ice with the newly assigned teams. From this list, we had to choose several activities to perform as a group. The different teams did tasks ranging from attempting to buy a child, doing a Macarena flash mob in Time Square, proposing to a “chick” and sneaking onto a rooftop bar. It was actually a lot of fun. In the end, my group accomplished 19 tasks and I agree it did help to bring each team closer.
Finally, we ended the night with a wonderful group dinner filled with lots of laughs and great food. On Monday the work on the challenges starts and we are all looking forward to the many challenges and great ideas.