on our toes

The Municipal School

This was a day to share and work with 200 young people (aged 9-15) at the local Municipal School where 3 of our band attend. An assembly for all and then sessions for the classes in pairs (groups of 60). Dan as translator, me fronting, Kathryn taking photos.

Very very lively all afternoon. Kids so excited and very tough to control. Big session included a variety of songs, tunes and a slide show.


It also featured Evany, AnnaPaula and Matheus who all received massive approval from their piers. It was about an hour and then we shifted chairs and moved into workshop mode. Tough three sessions followed with too many kids for the space and the excitement level so very high that to keep focus was tough indeed.


The language barrier and the high numbers meant that it was difficult to do the things I normally do but I knew that was probably going to be the case. We survived and demonstrated in some ways showed how the work takes place.


We also wrote a new song as the afternoon developed. (Later that night we spent a couple of hours in serious reflection discussing how we might have made it better. Dan’s trust that I would have a methodology for mass participation had meant that he hadn’t challenged my role and I hadn’t set up the situation in the way that I would usually do. A key thinking is about the demoncrisation of space and how we could have given the young people the space to own so that there was no need for what I call discipline – a term Dan and Mano no longer use. It requires a real change of head I believe and will take some deep thinking over the next few days and potential reformation of methodology.)

The plan changes again

It is dark. Back after a walk to the shop to buy juice, coffee and bananas. Many people were out around their doorways in the dark streets, talking and we wondered what was taking place. Arriving back and expecting a full rehearsal to be in place for the school presentations tomorrow. However there was a serious meeting with the young people. A 26 year old relative of AnnaPaula had been shot and killed 30 minutes ago – just close to where we had been walking. He lived with AnnaPaula and her grandmother and was a friend to a few of them. However he was a drug user/seller and it seems as if the community is in mixed state of sadness and also rightful retribution. He was using children to sell and deal the drugs and everyone knows that this is not acceptable. So very difficult when so many in the community are connected and there are so many interlinked families and friendships. All our plans change. The presentations will take place because they all felt that it is not right that the drugs should dominate and rule. They will change though in their feel and structure for sure. The party tomorrow night is off. Very hot here. The fan blows but the heat stays. Hard day. Expectations challenged in every way. This is a community that feels it’s community, that knows it’s families and is trying to find it’s way and struggling. The work that Dan and Mano are doing is about trying to keep a positive energy and support the young people to become new role models and leaders.