Thursday, December 18, 2014

Social Workers in Kinshasa

Back to Kinshasa and work with the social workers of Anuarite and War Child.
I had an incredible time seing the social team discussing about their work, addressing their concerns and finding ways to address their difficulties.
I also had a bit of time to sketch and info-doodled my presentation of the study about girls living in the street, their activities and their relations with the social workers/ or, how to address socio-economic integration of the girls.
I am often surprized that the same recipes to get the girls off the street/ prostitution... are still in use when people talk about "re-integration". The same model that is bringing the same rates of success since they have been monitored end of the 19th century. And the same complains of the social workers can be heard today or read last century.
Girls are in the street for some reasons, and the street can give them a balance, support and understanding. As social worker, if we want to help them change, we have to make them dream of change, and help them in finding another balance, better than the one they have in the streets. There are no quick fixes nor recipes that fit all. It takes time, and grounding, and -for the social worker- to accept to let it go, work in teams, work where the girls are, understand the risks they take and the unknown they face getting out of where they are. They have done it once, leaving or being kicked out their families.
What is the better deal for them? What do they dream to reach?
Now we start to discuss. There are no problems to fix, only a bright future to build and reach, step by step.  


And Airport people, tired, waiting for the plane.

Happy birthday baby girl

Happy birthday Elena,
My baby daughter would have been two on the third of Decembre. So we had a birthday tea, with pancakes, strawberries and waited for the sun to go so we could launch lanterns in the stars.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Colour Spekes

I'mpossible HARARE!!
It is happening!
for the last week over a thousand people volunteered to clean and paint the pedestrian in front of town House in Harare. This is the result of over two years of preparation, contacts, lobbying and persuasion from Urban Space -my wife's company-. Lou has been relentless in pushing the idea of bringing art, environment and co-creation and working to transform public spaces. 
Mainly she loves Harare and have dreams that most people feel are impossible to reach because "they" should do something about it. They start with I and I turns into We. I'mpossible, Colouring, greening, bringing people together is not only something good to do, it is also something that is so important to build a community, to take ownership and to move forward.  She cannot take no for an answer - so being her husband it's not the most comfortable route all the time, hahaha.
For the last two years, she build relationships, shared her visions and dreams, annoyed people to the point of getting authorizations and then convincing them, making them part of her dreams and letting her dream go with the people who jumped in. The way she dances with people is truely a work of art in itself. 
She got support from the Culture Fund, Hivos, the Swedish Embassy, Proudly Zimbabwe (big up Fungai!), the Art of Hosting practitionners in Zim, the youths fro Kufunda's leadership program, Dulux and many many more. 
She launched a public consultation and vote for the designs to paint on the street, which saw the ones proposed by Jimmy Saruchera and Martin Steward being voted to be produced, and now, the city is a bit more colourfull. 
The reaction of the public is amazing, people were asking questions, participating in the paint, sitting on the new public seats, just feeling a bit more happy and smiling. 
And that is good. 
It is incredible what is happening here. 
The paint is only the tip of the iceberg. She has really been building bridges, a community, appropriation of a public space, and created something beautifull. 
She is just too cool.

 Our dining table withpart of the organizing team.