Destination Imagination team wins big in Qatar

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photo courtesy of Ms. Kirsten Hoogenakker

The victorious DI team poses in the Qatari desert next to a camel.

In late February, the Destination Imagination (DI) team got the opportunity to participate in the DI Qatar Invitational. Teams from all over the world competed in this international event. The team spent most of their time in Qatar competing but also experienced the city of Doha.

The DI team placed first in the international Extreme Challenge, a competition in which teams have exactly 24 hours to construct a model for a new city center in Doha. “This year’s extreme challenge was an architectural challenge where we had to create a prototype of a building that would be a center for creativity and innovation and it also had to withstand a simulated Qatari windstorm,” sophomore DI co-captain Landry Elman said.

We became close with Polish and Saudi Arabian teams. It was really cool to get to know a different cultureWe became close with Polish and Saudi Arabian teams. It was really cool to get to know a different culture”

— Landy Elman

When the DI team wasn’t competing, they ventured out into the city of Doha to explore and experience Qatari culture. One aspect of Qatar the team was excited to see was the traditional clothes that are part of Qatari Islamic culture. “Men wore completely white thobes and the women wore black abayas. An interesting part of the abayas is the style in which the hijab is wrapped shows where you are from,” DI coordinator Ms. Kirsten Hoogenakker said.

The DI team met people from all over the world during their time in Qatar, they met merchants from surrounding countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. Most of the people were born in Qatar but identified with their lineage similar to how us Americans define ethnicity.

The team also bonded pretty well with teams from Saudi Arabia and Poland because there wasn’t much of a language barrier. “The highlight of the trip was probably getting to meet the other international teams. We became close with Polish and Saudi Arabian teams. It was really cool to get to know a different culture,” Elman said.

One of the excursions the team participated was a Desert Safari, which featured camel rides and sand dune racing. “We rode camels, ate dates, and drank hot tea even though it was 85 degrees out,” Hoogenakker said.

The team was supposed to go desert kayaking as well, but the excursion was cancelled because of inclement weather. “We were under the impression that we are going to be kayaking into the desert and then getting into a car and looking at cool animals in the desert. We got there and were told we couldn’t go kayaking because 80? Fahrenheit is “too cold” to kayak,” senior DI co-captain Kayla McMenamy said.

Overall, the DI team had a great time at the Qatar Invitational and came home with a trophy to prove it. One aspect that really stood out to the team was the call to prayer. “Call to prayer was very pretty, I was surprised. I went on the BSM field trip to the mosque, which really helped me to learn to expect going into a Muslim country,” Hoogenakker said.