When we went to the Sicogi 11 School to explain THE HUGGIN SESSIONS activity, the video recording and working together with students and teachers, the principal sent us to the inspection of education. It seemed us fair and coherent asking for permission to the inspection when it is about an extracurricular activity. That is the letter I wrote:
Vicente Domingo Sanchis
Directeur des écoles à
Abidjan, le 12 Novembre 2016,
À la directrice de Youpougon Sicogi 11
ATTIE, et au Ministère de la Promotion de la Femme,
de la Famille, et de la Protection de l’enfant
Objet: Permission d’enregistrer l’activité “THE HUGGING SESSIONS” (le gros câlin), avec les élèves et les profs à la pouponnière de Youpougon.
J’ai l’honneur de solliciter de votre haute bienveillance la permission pour enregistrer une activité dedans le projet éducatif AFRICAHUGS.
AFRICAHUGS s’agît de casser les mythes, construire éducation et montrer potentialités en Afrique, maintenant en Côte d’Ivoire. Souvent, en Occident, l’Afrique est chargé de préjudices négatives. Je fais cette petit projet dans plusieurs pays en Afrique et aussi en Occident. Je voudrais montrer que l’Afrique, et bien sûre la Côte d’Ivoire, est positive, est en train de grandir et ses gens son vraiment accueillants.
L’activité qu’on veut faire à l’école est très facile, simple et gratuite. Il s’agît de faire une petit enregistrement sur 4 but de travail d’AFRICAHUGS,
– le respect de l’Afrique
– l’image positive de l’Afrique
– la citoyenneté global
– le changement structurel
Je serais vers trois/quatre jours en visitant l’école pour mieux connaître, les élèves et les professeurs et faire un plan personnalisé pour eux.
L’âme de cette activité est de faire connaître un autre Afrique qu’on ne voit pas dans les média, de commencer, dans le futur, des projets entre des écoles d’ Occident et l’Afrique.
Je vous laisse le site web, qui est écrit en espagnol, anglais et français.
Aussi j’ai un peu de financement pour acheter de matériel pour les élèves .
Dans l’attente d’une suite favorable, veuillez, monsieur/madame le ministre de la Promotion de la Femme, de la Famille, et de la Protection de l’enfant.
À Sideci Lem 3, Youpougon
Vicente Domingo Sanchis
Inspector in charge of the Sicogi district welcomed us with kindness and also a bit surprised. He asked us to give him more information about our project and what was that really about. As following, I showed him other recording examples I had already made in countries like Liberia or Sierra Leone. I told to him with honesty and frankness, “AFRICAHUGS wants to spread a different Africa, the one we don’t tend to see in western mass media, the one that do not go to western schools. In short, we want to show to the world, like other people, brave Africans or Westerners have already did before, and are still doing it luckily, that there is another Africa moving further, another Africa that is happy, that is growing, despite abusing her; that there is another Africa waking up before sunshine to work hard, in order to feed their beloved ones. Next, inspector and me had shared beautiful unique moment talking about Africa and the West relationship. He gave us his point of view, that in most occasions was in shape with what I was talking about. I remember him, with batting an eyelid, giving us his approval to push forward THE HUGGING SESSIONS at the public school Sicogi 11 ABC.
the process of the activity at the Yopougon public school Sicogi 11 has been special for AFRICAHUGS. First of all because it has been the school with more students we have never found before. No more no less than 1303 students !!!!!!. But, above all, because of how all the people there, among all students did a great job while talking to his mates about THE HUGGING SESSIONS GOALS:
– Buazo Allince, the smile she had when she went out in front of the audience, her self-confidence when she looked at her mates, the energy she emitted before start talking. “We hug each other because we love each other and we would like the world to respect us”. A very powerful sentence where respect – or lacking of it- for Africa is causing tongues to wag.
– Gohifayé Gohi. “We hug each other to show that Ivory Coast is joyful, full of successful stories and hospitality”. The confidence in Gohifayé when moving his arms and hands, when he expresses himself while talking, while gesticulate each syllable of the sentence, gives him strength and credibility.
– Akosso Ange Leslie starts with a pinch of insecurity, but, while her sentence is moving forward, “we hug each other for real change, for people’s well-being and the development for all”, her expression brings potency, her look commands respect.
– Guie Jean Jbenoc. I love the way Guie goes ahead to the podium. Keeping himself calm and confidence, with no hurries, with no stress when knowing that a crowd is staring at you, that many different eyes are observing. “We hug each other for honest relationships within you ( western world) and me ( Africa), to share without hypocrisy”. And here I am, seated among kindergarten students, and representing The West. Because Guie is talking to us, to the West, to the ones that are not able to share without hypocrisy, with previous interests and clearly benefiting from immoral situations.
Although in the video I could not put the 4 principals talking, due to lack of time, I want to thank to the 4 of them, Mr. Abu Couli Baly, to Ms. Koussi Nicole, Mr. Doukouré Moktar and Mr, Agnimel Memel, to express their gratitude to our small but useful AFRICAHUGS contribution: a desktop computer and printer.
About the teachers presenting THE HUGGING SESSIONS Ivory Coast, I will keep what teacher Tiebi talks about, “like here in Ivory Coast we have peace and people love each other, we would love that schools from Spain and other countries, would start brotherhood and educational projects with us”. That is another powerful statement, provoking, motivating, seducing Spanish schools and others worldwide. Opening up and integrating Africa with honesty among us, will be the only way to initiate this most awaited structural change.
1303 students in total from the public school, raising up their voices, joining their hands, melting in an enormous HUG to say it is enough, to demand justice and equity, to ask to the capital system to give them a break and treat them with dignity.
Last but not least, I would like to talk about my offscreen voice, in one part of the video recording. I wanted to strengthen the idea of anger and annoyance, but also the idea of hope and future about Africa. “Africahugs will continue seducing schools to follow THE HUGGING SESSIONS idea. Thousands of students and teachers from different countries have already been in. Come on!! Do you really think that here in Africa they are asking for your charity? Let’s not be innocent please. Africa is the richest continent on Earth. Did you know that? Africa is feeding The West and not the other way round.
Ivory Coast, 40% of the world cocoa production and here, at the Yopougon Sicogi 11, 1303 students do not even have a single computer. Solution is inside but also outside Africa within they and you. Let’s build honest relationships and stop international hypocrisy. Never an innocent hug. One full of anger and annoyance but also hope and future !!!