Just a few reflections before I go lay down and try to take things easy for a while. I'm feeling a bit better, but I still have quite a long way to go.
1) The Delays, the Organization, and Complaints
I think there are a couple of ways of looking at the organizational issues here. One is to say the last couple of worlds were somewhat exceptional, and maybe we are a bit spoiled. I'm fairly new to Worlds (this being my third) and so the "standard" easily falls toward some really great experiences. I don't think what's going on is that terrible unless you are somewhat spoiled by Koc and Cork Worlds.
Plus there are a lot of good things going on - the volunteers are pretty amazing and friendly and helpful beyond belief. They are so excited to be involved that their only fault is going a bit overboard on being helpful - not a bad thing at all. I really enjoy talking to them and they were very helpful to me when I wanted to go find a doctor. They are doing an amazing job.
The second way of looking at it is a issue of what the World's community values. Do we value bringing Worlds to the developing world or do we value keeping it in very nice first-world environments? I think things like lack of AC, no hot or cold water from time to time, and stuff like that are the price for bringing this tournament to an area of the world that gives access to debate to some people who would probably never get a chance to try it. So I suppose when future bids come along for developing countries or smaller countries to host and the narratives and memories of Botswana come to mind in the future, it will be up to the community to recall not only the food service problems and temperature problems, but also the exposure and experience and educational opportunities that could have transformed lives. I know which narrative I hope wins out in that future, but I do know which stories will be plentiful. The cost of broadening the scope of WUDC might be something we are unwilling to pay.
As far as the tab goes, it's no big deal. I.A. Richards said that we shouldn't study communication but "miscommunication" since that's so common as to be the only thing we really have. I think tomorrow will run much better. The only thing standing in the way of that will be cynical debaters who engage the self-fulfilling prophecy of, "Well they aren't going to start on time so we will just show up when we like." I hope it doesn't happen.
2) The Rounds have been really good - great motions, and really good performances even in rooms where people are inexperienced. I always feel that debate is improving in the Northeastern US with every tournament. It is also clear that WUDC is getting better with each year in quality of argumentation and delivery. I was very happy even with my failing voice and illness to have a great opportunity to teach at the end of round three and hopefully help some people improve a little bit. All the judges I've been with have been really great, thoughtful, and interesting people. I really like judging at this tournament although I feel like crap.
3) The best thing is randomly, in the middle of debates, or talking to people when the thought flashes through your mind, "Hey, remember, you are in Africa right now." Pretty exciting stuff. I certainly would have never thought I would be in Africa at a debate tournament.
tomorrow: More debates, and hopefully less illness.