In order to pass the courses here at the CBL Cambridge Summer Institute, delegates have to make some achievements. Besides compulsory attendance these achievements can either be exams or presentations on which you are graded. Such evaluations usually take place on Wednesdays and since each of the delegates took this issue rather seriously and wanted to make a good and professional performance, they worked hard on their group presentations.
Sometimes it was great fun to watch and listen to their discussions, especially when ridiculous ideas were born in the creative process to be dropped right after everybody had laughed about them. But watching them was interesting as well, because each of the group members brought in specific knowledge of his or her field of study so that, eventually, good projects evolved.
What I found quite remarkable was that people seemed so motivated to make good 15-minutes-presentations that they were also working during the meals. On some tables you could find five laptops that were used to gather information that was later summarized on a presentation slide.
But there was still time for some fun and charity. The ice bucked challenge had also arrived at Magdalene College and one delegate from Egypt exposed himself to the frosty water that was poured over his head. By that, he contributed to the rise in the awareness of the motor neuron disease ALS.
As the day passed by and the lectures were over some of us continued with studying serious diseases. CBL invited a lecturer from Cambridge University who was talking about neglected tropical diseases. She presented the origins and treatments of four of the most common illnesses in developing countries, where about one seventh of the world population, some one billion people, are affected. And she also gave us some hints about how we should behave in areas, where these diseases are common.
A little bit shocked by the presented facts, we decided to go to the next pub and to calm down with some cider, beer and discussions about less serious topics until we left to get some sleep.