By Angeli Sweeney
R - Reality Of this place, Reverberates,
O- Opens my mind; it’s energizing,
T- Talks to my creative, speaks to my muse
T- Telling me, unequivocally, that we are rising ,
E- Everywhere I turn, surprised I see my hue,
R- Reflected in Rotterdam, imagined in Netherlands
D- Do they really See Us, I secretly ask?
A- And what do we really Mirror Back?
M- Melanin Makes Us Mighty. We have never had Lack
Hello Rotterdam! Arrived safe and sound after 8 hours travel 😫. Walk to the hotel and get lost, but the sights are worth it! The sheer amount of bikes and the infrastructure to support them, makes me want to move here! The Art, architecture & sense of creative freedom is contagious.
Fun-filled day of group exploration, games and dialogue at Dorpshuis Community Centre. Recap on our aim & objectives, digital mapping and our current Sankofa learning and future expectations. Face Festival presentation by Ede from by https://www.ycl.solutions . Followed by an amazing Turkish lunch and a tour of the area.
Tour of Delfshaven Harbour, where the pilgrims left from to ‘discover’ the New World😒. A stop at a Wester Volkshois, a youth/community centre to discuss their amazing youth work approach - youth-led & emancipatory!. Very impressed with their attitude to working with ‘disaffected’ youth. Then off to a tasty Turkish lunch 😋 💫 I. We had to hire me a bike... 🤔
So when you go through headache hiring some bikes, nearly give up, but persevere, then cycle to the Wereld Museum, expecting to see one exhibit, then cycle back to the hotel & do some work. But instead you meet a lit Rastafarian lady who is from the same place in Jamaica as your family (sistren ✊🏾), & one of your group knows one of the artists, then you end up at a Rotterdam exclusive, VIP art exhibition smooshing with amazing people & drinking red wine? What are the chances? 🤷🏽♀️ #IAmSuperGassed! #Synchronicity #DivineTiming #InAirForceOneHighTops😆 💫✊🏾💜
Breakfast, people watching, team building & The U Process, Adinkra Gratitude exercise. A busy day visiting Stiching Azàgua, a community centre and youth workers in a social care setting to discuss multi-agency working from Futuro JSP. Saw some OG’s playing Dominos in the local community centre & a police station turned onto a youth club! 😃
Then a ‘Letter to myself’ exercise exploring what we will take back & implement within our own youth practices, which really helped us to crystalise & think about our next steps. This was followed by a jokes ‘Cup in the Middle’ evaluation 😆
Visit to the ‘Art Studio’, a purpose-built youth centre focussing on harnessing talent & reducing youth crime, we watched a very emotive film about the Antillean community 😢, but also how aspirations, family cohesiveness/cultures & commitment from the local people & government can literally turn around a generation & spark Hope & Action amongst young people & a community affected by youth violence 🙏🏾 Shout out to Ramone Seymour 🙌🏾
Then a (impromptu) quick tour of Hoogvleit, ending in an amazing final dinner with the BTTF2 family!
Departure Day. Thank you Rotterdam. I’ll see you soon 😘