So much has been happening that to attempt to write it all down on this post would be impossible. Between taking in one of my shoeless, homeless, starving students, for example, or, hearing the screams of a beaten prostitute outside my window, or being witness to the extreme poverty in Bir Chifa; my mental strength flickers. Somedays here are so low, but some days are also so high. But I am holding on because of the smiles and laughs and excitement of my students. They get it from my music and film workshops. But I get it from them as well. After over a year o being here, I live my life here in Tangier within a paradoxical space between the fury of poverty and sex, drugs, broken dreams and the mountains that humble and the waves of the Strait that stir the soul. There have been many sleepless nights and mornings of anxiety and depression and loneliness and confusion but just the same, there have been moments of inspiration and love and connection. More on this later. But for now………..
After a year of working with disadvantaged communities in Morocco, I will be making a final presentation of all the movies I have produced with the children from the associations of DARNA and Al Wafa and Dar Lekbira on February 19th at 630 pm at the Cinema Rif in Tanger, Morocco. I would like for you to honor us with your presence and please invite any associations or persons you like. The children of DARNA and Al Wafa will be presenting their films with me at the event. Please find attached some information and the flier. I really hope to see you and your friends at this event. Thank you for your friendship, for your guidance, your help and your support. (thanks to Alexa for designing the poster for my event)
Event at the Cinema Rif: February 19th 2010 6pm
The screening at the Cinem Rif will serve 4 purposes. First it will allow the street children and orphans of the various associations to see their work on the big screen with the public. Based on their availability, the children who have written and directed the films will be in attendance to present the films they made to their community. Secondly, since the films raise awareness to the needs and problems faced by the children, the event will shine light on the socio-economic situation of the kids. Thirdly, the event will raise awareness on the work of the Moroccan associations I have partnered with. The final goal of the event will be to highlight the need for greater incorporation of arts-education for the youth of Morocco.
Lollipops Crown is a multi-dimensional pilot youth arts/music education initiative I founded under my Fulbright Fellowship. The program aims to empower children via the arts, (specifically those children identified as street children and orphans), and encourage them to pursue creative outlets to express and record their unique experiences and learn new skills. Music and art can be the avenue of not only inspiring the youth, but art can further be a bridge of understanding between America and the Arab world. Since January 2009 I have been working with disadvantaged children, drug addicts and single mothers in Tangier and Kenitra. The work has been grueling and challenging, yet, the impact of this project has been worth the work and hardships. My workshops have combined education in film animation, music, and photography workshops. The outcome of my workshops over the last year are a number of short-animation films produced and directed, and starring the children of the various associations of Darna and Al Wafa and Dar Lekbira. These simple, short, yet insightful films are the very creations of the children, thus making them all the more unique. These films are to be shown to the public and presented at the Cinema Rif on February 19th. The children starring in the films have consented to the screening and they desire to attend and present on their work with me. Since January 2009 I have made 10 animated films with the kids from Darna and Dar Lekbira and I have filmed 5 videos with the children of Darna and Al-Wafa. I have also completed dozens of music workshops where I wrote music with drug addicts from the association ASCMP and I taught the children at Darna music literature. Within the last year I have lead 6 music workshops for village children in partnership with the U.S Embassy.
More important than the final products is the process of discovery and creativity that this project inspired with the different disadvantaged communities I have been working with.
Thanks and love to the following people who have gotten me through in Morocco over the past year:
Much help and hard work and time was given by:
Radouane–my moroccan brother and Co-Founder
Maroua-Director Dar Lekbira Association in Kenitra
Fouad-Al Wafa Association in Bir Chifa
Habiba-DARNA Association in Tanger
Hicham and Hanan of ASCMP
Zakaria- translating the films
Ryan Farha, Ryan Seacrest