We’re in León!
Workshops and shows are goinnngg downnn!
…Along with many fried bananas, kilos of beans, funny tasting frescos and gallons of water.
Here are some things that have come up in my manic little head over the last week of mania.
Plantain. Plantain. Plantain. I’ve got to know plantain better than I thought I would ever get to know anything. They are basically first cousins of bananas and could maybe pass as an identical twin. These guys are fried, grilled, boiled, bbqed and cooked in every other way possible. Sooo, there are two super common types of plantain – platanos and maduros. Platanos are a little green and a little hard and usually end up crispy and fried. You can use them to scoop out your beans or buy them flavoured with chilli and lime. Maduros are a little softer and can sometimes be a little black. These little guys are my fave. When they are fried, they end up a little bit soggy and sloppy and are what you want on the side of every plate of gallo pinto (rice and beans).
QUE ONDA!? To be completely honest, I’m not really sure what this means in English but I basically feel like the coolest person in the world every time I attempt to say it in my funny little mix of an Irish and attempted Spanish accent. There is a kind of literal translation which I’ve been told means “what’s the vibe?” but I’m guessing it’s like our “what’s up”, but maybe a bit cooler. Sometimes I tip my head up a little bit when I say it and act like I’m so totally used to saying it and maybe sometimes I get away with it. Usually, I get either a confused face, a blank look or if I’m really lucky, a few little giggles. Either way, it’s fun and I feel like a badass Spanish speaker who is down with the kids and knows all the Spanish lingo. The reality of it is irrelevant.
On the way back from the Barrio the other day, I began thinking about a word or a phrase to describe the children that we are working with on this project. During my fundraising, I had used the phrase “disadvantaged” for most of my little writeups, but without thinking about the definition of this word or what this word means to me. We had just finished an amazing show and parade in the dustiest place on earth (may or may not be exaggerated) with an amazing group of kids with an unbelievable amount of energy. I suddenly didn’t feel comfortable calling these children disadvantaged any more. They were hardcore and didn’t spend their time whining about the dust getting in their eyes. They were up for the banter, full of mischief and were all so ready to rumble. This perspective sparked a question: what about some kids in the UK that spend all of their time in front of an iPad and don’t get to spend good quality time with friends and family? Are they disadvantaged? The word disadvantaged depends completely on what you see as disadvantages, which sounds kind of simple now that I’ve written it.
The next day we went to the dump. We saw lots of people working and sorting there. We were told that a lot of children work there for quite a lot of hours for very few cordobas. They were born into this trade and probably didn’t wish on their seventh birthday as they blew out their candles to work at the dump. Maybe they aren’t waking up in the morning thinking about how much they are dreading going to the dump and breathing in filthy air while sorting through bags and bags of things you no longer want near your house. But also the thought of doing something else may not even cross their mind, never mind being presented with this opportunity.
A lot of the kids from Niños del Fortín have spent a lot of time working at these dumps. We’re doing sessions with this group twice a week. This organisation encourages them and their parents to choose a different option and focus for the kids by heading out to the dumps to have a chat with some kids and through this, get in contact with their parents. After learning more about the dump and the kids that we work with, I realised that my definition of disadvantaged comes from opportunities. Not only opportunities that the person has within their grasp with a little bit of hard work, but also the opportunities that they are aware of in their life. Maybe a kid that works at the dump every day isn’t super sad but also doesn’t have an amazing amount of stoke on life. Then, when they get presented with amazing opportunities like getting to hang out in Niños del Fortín, they realise how much stoke they have in life and maybeeee even start thinking of possibilities of awesome things they want and can achieve in the future!
I’m insanely happy to be involved in a possible chain of possibilities.
Right. It’s late and I’ve rambled for long enough.
Did I mention beans?
Besos, Darine xx
- The team after a show at with our amazing driver, Edwing
- Kit with a plantain smile
- Darine “Que onda!”-ing
- Circle games in Barrio Tomas Jorge
- Helen, Sara and Alexandro smashing out a thigh stand in Las Chavaladas