You never know what to expect when a director visits
But today I was amazed and inspired.
We took our regional director, El Khidir, to meet young people we, and our partner CRIA, are working with near Salvador, north eastern Brazil.
The population of Salvador and its surrounding urban areas has over 80% Black African ancestry and despite outrageous slavery beginnings is now known as ‘Brazil’s capital of happiness’. It lived up to its name…
In Paripe, about one hour and a half from downtown Salvador, El Khidir called upon the children to engage with their local authorities, to speak up and make their voices heard: “your performances are not just for entertaining but are to be listened to for the many problems your plays and songs address,” he said.
Just to hear the way the children answered his questions about what they were expecting to change, was amazing.
The fact of having an African as a Director from Save the Children was a must! Children and adolescents, all of them from African descent, were extremely proud and happy; and wanted to know and learn a lot, from the language El Khidir speaks, which song he used to sing when he was a kid, if he liked to dance.
So El Khidir sang, taught them a song in Arabic which ended up in a nice choral, and gave them a ritual drum lesson from Sudan, and of course a Dance… Samba, Axe and other rhythms!
I’ll let El Khidir tell you what he thinks about the children and the partners we work with, because I have a biased answer. But for me the visit was a success as he recognized the children’s talents, their will to overcome difficulties, to learn, to know about their ancestors, to claim for their rights.