Dérive Day 2013 – Tales from Kampala, Toronto and Cairo

This post is the first in a series of Dérive Day 2013 posts

The following three reportages of Dérive Day 2013 were kindly compiled by Veronica Yow, who also headed up the organisation of the one-day-marathon urban exploration event, that had 60 users in 23 locations worldwide using Dérive app to explore their urban surroundings in new ways. The following three tales give a bit of insight into what the derives were like for Veronica, Isabel and Dalia.


Dérive #5385312m, 106min, 43 cards

Overall, it was great discovering another side of Kampala which I don’t normally go to and it shows that when you do take the time and throw caution to wind, you’ll never fail to find something that delights you.

Most Striking Observation:
Going places you don’t normally go brings with it many little surprises that you may not have come about. I’ve never seen a busker in Kampala before and just as we were on card #32 – Move South, we came across this amazing musician, strumming his guitar and singing with such ease and comfort; he could be on a road in Kampala or in front of a live studio!

Most Common Observation:
You walk past many buildings each day but most of the time, you never look inside. On this Derive Day, we came across 2 buildings which took us by surprise when we looked a little deeper:
• Pavilion Mall which is really close to City Square and what I would call an unassuming place but when you enter, its beautiful space & layout with plenty of striking African art décor makes it a real haven at the heart of Kampala;
• What seemed like just another office building turned out to have such amazing statues and Egyptian pharaonic wall décor. Really shows what you can creatively do with spaces.
Never judge a book by its cover!


Dérive #5723494m, 206min, 46 cards

Turning left and right onto random little streets caused me to uncover hidden gems- interesting houses, street art for a cause, random encounters with various Torontonians…

I have always known that something which makes Toronto incredibly special is the “cities” within a city it contains- vastly different neighbourhoods with architectural, cultural and social differences. But participating in Derive Day amplified that characteristic of Toronto- with just a short streetcar ride from east to west, I was surrounded by a totally different environment.
Turning left and right onto random little streets caused me to uncover hidden gems- interesting houses, street art for a cause, random encounters with various Torontonians (which unfortunately can’t always be captured in a photo!).
I can see myself using Dérive app on a regular basis- especially as I recently returned to Toronto after spending a number of years abroad. Deriveapp can help you see the city around you with fresh eyes; it can also prompt you to get out of that winter hibernation funk so many of us are going through in the Northern hemisphere.
PS: Where can you find a cat in Toronto? (Unless you peek into someone’s window?!) 🙂
See Isabel’s photos of her dérive on flickr


Most Striking Observation:
Getting a card with the instructions ‘Find silence’ in the middle of Cairo’s crazy streets and having my brother lead me the other way, crossing the street and into a garden area only to discover that it was a local library I never knew existed! Plus it has beautiful conference room spaces and a children’s section that both just made my day!

Most Common Observation:
Seeing these flowers again. I didn’t realize they were in Egypt too. I only used to see these flowers and suck on the ends of it for honey when I was growing up in Saudi Arabia… I later googled it and realize they are called Lantana flowers…



What is Dérive app

Dérive app gets you lost in your city and lets you share that experience with others. Build your own task cards and invite others to play with you.

Immersed on the path of the gospel

Angela Reinders is based in Aachen, in Germany, and recently used Dérive app as part of a liturgical service. She’s providing a writeup of her experience. Getting hints and tasks to stop and move without even moving, does this make any sense? Sounds like kind of a play, and yes, it is one: Following famous