Day 23~ April 23rd~ Congo

messages in art

It is difficult to imagine in our day of gadgets and the time of i-this and i-that available to everyone in the west even small children, that in some places like Congo, this is not the case at all.

And because of that, the children I met often asked me to take a message back with me from them to the world. They spoke mostly Swahili and through their translators they told me that they would like to draw these messages for me to photograph. So here, in the Cajed center for helping the children of the street, ‘les enfants de la rue’ in Kinshasa, the volunteer teacher allowed the children to take the time and draw some messages on the blackboard. And like the children that I met in Goma, these boys also dreamt of peace, of a world with no guns, of a colorful world that included them in it…

Then they went on to sing to me very playfully and very shyly their national anthem (video). After singing, they turned to me and requested that I sing my anthem to them, which I did, a bit more shyly than they did. I sang them the Lebanese anthem, because being with them brought me back to my childhood in Lebanon, or maybe it was the school desks that took me right back to elementary school. It was a very moving day for me meeting their bright faces and sharing unforgettable moments together.

 

 

Day Three Hundred Twelve, November 30, 2011

baby Nikita

I am not sure who was the first person to think it would be a great idea to create toys that mimic killing machines and to advertise them to little children. But they did and the toys are here and very popular. The other day a group of almost 20 boys were coming out of the building where I live carrying these toy machine guns, most probably from a themed birthday party (great idea from mom), and they honestly gave me the strangest feeling watching them. They walked with the attitude that goes with the machine and there was an essence of war emanating from them so strongly. Children are like sponges, they absorb all that we offer them and they process these essences and influences and it all goes into the make up of their identities for their whole life. It is up to us parents in the end…