The whirlwind continues! Tuesday marked our second and final day of workshops with individuals from various Venezuelan organisations.
Predictably, at times we felt we were learning as much from our group as we hope they learnt from us. Many guiding principles of communication remain the same here, but there are differences in the socio-political landscape that impact the work and the comms companies are able to execute in this part of the world and we were fascinated to learn more about them.
We were also up against one minor challenge from the beginning – the language barrier. Despite an initial wave of terror at the realisation that we were going to be wired up with radio mics, sound packs and headphones for two days, the situation ultimately did us a favour, because there can be no momentary distraction when you’re working in translation: you have to focus on every single word, 100% of the time. By the end of Monday, we’d grown used to the dynamics of working into mics and headsets, and realised that ultimately, it made us better teachers: more focused, more able to respond more carefully and specifically to every comment, question, or discussion that arose.
We were sad to say goodbye to our new friends on Tuesday afternoon – they were a fun and inspiring group and we look forward to seeing how they get on. If you’re a tweeter, don’t be afraid to check some of them out: @Yohana Silvera, @AEscalona92, @HabitatCreativo, @HENKA_CMC, @tiunaelfuerte. (And if you’re not a Spanish speaker, Google translate will do the hard part for you.)
Ben and Leila x
Caracas, day one.
There are loads of interesting and awesome things about this place. Here are our Top 10.
- The breakfasts at our hotel.
- Our resident hotel harpist who plays the harp each morning during aforementioned breakfast.
- The skies are amazing.
- The old American cars bashing around the city are just so freakin’ cool.
- The hills and the colours. We’re in the middle of the Caracas Valley and there are mountains wherever you look.
- Shopping malls. We’ve already been to two. They rock.
- All of the girls have amazing manicures.
The final three points all relate to our raison d’être (we haven’t been able to work out what that is in Spanish) here in Caracas.
We travelled out here at the invitation of the British Council to help a mixture of organisations and businesses explore ways they could raise the profile of the work that they do. Today we led the first of two days of workshops with a group of thirteen individuals. It’s been an experience.
8. Our translator, Jeniffer, can translate almost simultaneously as we talk. She’s like a Spanish-speaking Superwoman.
9. Hearing all the inspirational stories from the organisations that we’re working with. They range from Tiuna el Fuerte (http://tiunaelfuerte.net) to The American-Venezuelan Friendship Association (http://www.avaa.org/). We hope they learn something from us, as we’re certainly learning a lot from them.
10. Finally, our hosts, Julia, Claudia and Soraya from the British Council in Venezuela, who have taken such good care of us since we landed on Sunday night.We can’t wait for day two. We’ll keep you posted on how we get on.
Ben and Leila x
We’re half way through our week-long collaboration with the girls of Ni Nyampinga. The magazine and radio show might only be two years old but it’s already famous in Rwanda. The degree to which Ni Nyampinga is a household name became clear when we went to visit Marie Adelaide school in Gihara, just east of Kigali. We’d gone to get content for the two features and two radio packages that we are making during our week here, and specifically, we’d gone to find content for a story about how new Rwandan music was bringing young people together in friendship.
When we arrived, the whole school were lined up in the yard to greet us. Ni Nyampinga girls Cecile, 22, Beni, 19, Glorious, 24 and Christine, 15 took to the stage and were greeted with cheers and whistles. The story required an interview with a musician so they asked the students if there were any musicians among them. Two candidates were quickly pushed to the front: a rapper who performed his track, Miss Independent and a very shy girl who was described as a gospel singer. The former is already a school superstar and his peers were enthusiastic in singing back the chorus. The girl performed a version of Rwandan superstar Knowless’ song Nzabampari and everyone responded, soft voices dropping then rising, like a Rwandan village version of Donny Hathaway Live In New York.
It was a vibrant welcome for the team who have become slightly famous themselves. Girls and boys throughout the country read the articles in the quarterly magazine, now on issue 7, and hear them weekly on their live radio show which has been running for two years. The magazine is designed to be shared (“not kept in one person’s bag”, says Girl Co-ordinator Pacifique) but still it’s at a premium: the head teacher of the school, a softly-spoken lady who radiated a quiet authority, explained that the magazine is so popular they have to ration it, and only students who are processing well get their hands on the new issue.
Celeste and Keisha took their team off to a youth club south of Kigali to make a story about that perennial question – whether boys and girls can ever really just be friends. (Note to office: make sure you ask them to see the video of them doing the local dance. It’s a gem). Back in the office, we collected all the audio, pictures and notes we’d made from our various excursions and finished for the day, dusty, tired, but pretty sure we had the seeds of some very good stories.
And in case you’re wondering, Ni Nyampinga is a Rwandan concept which describes a girl who is beautiful inside and out. A Nyampinga is confident and happy, she makes good decisions, and she knows she is valued because of who she is. It’s a concept we think might just be useful back in the UK, too.
02.04.13, Emma Warren, Senior Mentor
Our very own content and community manager Dwain Lucktung has been blogging for The Independent and the Huffington post. We’re so proud we thought we’d share his blog about somewhereto_ with you here too!
‘Life-changing’ is a term thrown about all too easily I think. A friend of mine once called his discovery of Guarana as ‘life-changing’. Granted, the drink is moreish but take the story of three young friends from London going from dancing pals in the playground to a standing ovation in the Olympic Park, before flying off to Rio de Janeiro to star in their own short film directed by Anuvahood’s BAFTA Rising Star winner Adam Deacon – I reckon their summary of ‘It was life-changing’ resonates a bit more than a can of Guarana.
Francis Ngahu, Troy Cameron-Eastman and Krrishna Sivakumaran (all aged 17) entered the somewhereto_ show off the back of a nationwide talent competition back in June. Going by the alias TriN3rgy, they had impressed already with their handheld camera entry, though were up against some stiff competition including musicians, circus performers, BMX riders, free runners, martial artists, fashionistas and even a guy doing lovely motorbike sound effects with his mouth – all with a keen eye on the prize; one of 10 performance slots at the Olympic Park, and one overall winner to get that spectacular Rio trip with Adam Deacon and starring role in the short film.
I travelled from London to Belfast, Edinburgh and Cardiff with somewhereto_, capturing the best (and at times weirdest) of young talent the UK had to offer. I play guitar myself, but never had the confidence (or sufficient talent) to perform anywhere beyond my bedroom, so already – credit was due.
Then came the huff, puff and scratch of the head challenge of whittling the hundreds down to a final 10 for the Olympic Park – and of course, TriN3rgy were in there. On the day I recall meeting them for the first time, all three of them nonchalantly stretching, body popping and flipping behind the Bandstand stage, and all already extremely appreciative and wearing champion badges. “We’re just so excited to be here. We’re in the final 10, there’s hundreds of people waiting to see us – so Rio or no Rio, we already feel like winners” – humble sentiments by Krrishna before setting the stage alight with Troy and Francis, and as the story goes – winning the competition, hand picked by head judge Adam who said, “I watched them perform, and thought their style and moves would definitely look sick with the Rio backdrops.”
On to Rio, and I somehow managed to get a seat on the plane for my own life-changer, six days working alongside the crew and TriN3rgy; who danced with trademark woolly hats and masks in 30 degree heat on Copacabana Beach, through an old school Copacabana market and Rocinha favela, down the Selaron Staircase, and opposite the iconic Christ the Redeemer. “It was special from the moment we flew over Rio and saw all the lights…” said Troy, “I can’t choose a favourite location; the whole experience has just been out of this world for us” added Francis.
Also basking in the ambiance was Adam: “City of God is one of my all-time favourite movies. To be here where that was filmed, with TriN3rgy and somewhereto_ doing our own film, I’m just as happy and excited to get tRio out there.” Meanwhile, I was flooding somewhereto_ Twitter and Facebook with everything I could grab a snapshot of – from the stunning scenery to TriN3rgy’s moves (simultaneously plotting my return ticket to Rio. Bring on the World cup 2014).
Back in London, and tRio (which you can now watch below!) had its premiere screening at the Brazilian Embassy (with the added bonus of Guarana on the menu), provoking a rapturous applause for TriN3rgy. I expected nothing less. “Watching it, I don’t think things will ever be the same. This spells a new chapter for us,” said Krrishna who with TriN3rgy, are now on the cusp of booking further dance shows in 2013.
somewhereto_ is all about changing young people’s lives, and I’ve seen hundreds over my 16 months on the project who have found the space and channels they need to turn their ideas, skills and passions into outstanding actions, in turn formulating positive changes for their future. With TriN3rgy and the rest in mind, ‘life-changing’ may be a term I’m not get sick of just yet.
The somewhereto_ project is delivered by yLivity and has been funded by the Legacy Trust UK, to create a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK. As of 2013 somewhereto_ will be funded by Big Lottery Fund (BIG) who have injected £7 million to support the expansion of the project over the next four years.
For more information on somewhereto_ visit www.somewhereto.com
Follow somewhereto_ on Twitter @somewhereto_
10.01.13, Dwain Lucktung, Content and Community Manager
Livity had an amazing night last night, winning at not one but two awards ceremonies.
Our somewhereto_ film, shot at Number 10 Downing Street, won the DADI best use of video award at the Emirates Stadium.
Meanwhile, on the other side of London we were also celebrating, as we scooped the smarta100 award for best people business at the O2 in Greenwich.
We might be suffering from slightly sore heads today, but hey – it’s Friday – cheers!