Dreaming together: A story of hope

By Rodrigo Barraza García | December 1, 2020 | Africa & The Middle East, Asia, Europe & Eurasia, The Americas |

GFC’s Rodrigo Barraza reflects on the programs team’s virtual retreat and shares a poem they wrote together.

In these times of forced virtuality, creativity becomes both a quest and a necessity. Something that we must defend at all costs.

It is not easy to be creative. Little by little, the routine settles in, leading to boring and meaningless meetings. Trainings, webinars, convenings … all trying to maintain a sense of normality so we can think that life goes on as before, despite everything.

Paradoxically, the more connected we are, the more alone we feel.

At times like these, stopping to think and reconnect with ourselves, and with the people we work with, seems like a revolutionary idea. And at GFC, we love revolutionary ideas.

So for four days in November 2020, our programs team came together to reflect, connect, and dream.

We were able to look at and listen to each other, become children again, and remember the importance of our mission. Remember that whatever happens, we are a family that shares hopes and dreams.

Talking about our childhoods and the dreams we had was not just an exercise in nostalgia. On the contrary, we realized that all those dreams are still alive within us, that we continue and will continue to be children as long as we keep claiming our right to dream, to imagine, to laugh, to eat delicious things, and to enjoy life.

An image from the “Virtual Gallery of Childhood Dreams".

An image from the Virtual Gallery of Childhood Dreams we created during the retreat. © GFC

That is what children and our local partners teach us every day. That there are other ways to hug and support us, despite distance and fear. And that, like children, we want to imagine new languages and new paths for change.

We are willing to fight every day to build more human ways of being, of living in peace and with dignity.

Among the many things that we did in November, we wrote a story. Our own story. It seems a small thing, but we know that there is nothing more powerful than a story built by many hands and many hearts.

That’s all you need to change the world. And at GFC, that’s what we’re doing.

It is our way of saying thanks to everyone who supports us, believes in our work, and gives meaning to our existence.

It is our way of reminding children and youth around the world that they are not alone, that they are important, and that they have the right to dream.

A screenshot of the end of the Zoom meeting.

A joyful end to our retreat. © GFC

It is our way of looking at ourselves as a team and thanking each other for the support we have received in these difficult times.

It is our way of defending our right to be childlike, and to keep playing and having fun.

This is our gift and our teaching. And, in both joyful moments and difficult times, we will never stop looking for new ways to give, to share who we are, and to be more human, because that is how the world changes. Starting with ourselves – and with yourself.

We hope you enjoy it.

Once upon a time,
In mid-November,
A group of friends
Met on Zoom
To imagine
Together.

For four beautiful days,
They played,
Cooked,
Shared stories,
Remembered.
They sang,
Danced,
Read poems,
And dreamed
Together.

Their upbringing varied,
And they came from all over.
Yet the games that they played
Were not very different.

Some deep in the forest
Had lovely tea parties,
Some built little leaf houses
Beside the sea.
Some played hide-and-seek
In the sparkling snow,
Some jump-roped their way
From the sea to the sky.
Some brewed magic potions
In a secret tree house,
While others played checkers
Right on the moon.
And some were explorers,
Collecting strange objects
On the African savanna
And on the South Pole!

The sounds they heard
And the smells they remembered
Were of magical places
Near and far.
What buzzed in their ears?
What tickled their noses?

Now please close your eyes
And hear the sounds,
And think of the smells
Surrounding you…
They are the fabric,
they are the essence,
Of things of importance
You shall never forget.

There are old friends chatting
And freshly made dough,
The smell of the ocean
And cheesy pop songs.
Festival colors
And a grandmother’s laugh.
Tadpoles to pet
And frogs to play with,
Seagulls that bark –
Have you ever seen that?!
Squawking street dogs –
Or was it just birds?
Some sibling fights
In the cold morning air,
And drumming
And barbecues
And dancing galore!

Informal, familiar, expressive, and warm:
They shared potlucks
That went on forever…
The taste of a donut
And roasted sweet corn,
Molasses,
Casseroles,
Fufu, bread, and tortillas,
And soup, soup, soup, soup!

They learned very quickly
That FOOD can unite.
Are you getting hungry?
Now go get a snack!

Sometimes they’re heartbroken
And even afraid –
There’s hate, fear, injustice
All over the place.
A lack of connection
And losing one’s hope.
Indifference,
Intolerance,
What could be worse?

But then they remember
That hope is not lost.
They turn their gaze inward
To remember those things
That bring endless smiles
And light up their world.

What is it that warms them?
What gives them the strength?
What is it that makes them
Defend happiness?

It’s cooking, it’s nature,
It’s friends, pets, and walks.
It’s reading and painting,
It’s hugs and long talks
With friends and with family
At work and at play.
And did we mention food?
There is always food – yay!

Life is just that!
My friend, can’t you see?
A journey, a road, the sun, and the sea,
To have little fear, to dance, and be free,
To nurture the love, for you, and for me.

They find their strength
In sharing dreams.
Beaming with joy,
They reclaim their world
With justice and freedom
For every child,
Every girl, every boy.

Some dreams are collective.
Some dreams are unique.
Their mutual energy
And their big hearts
Give rise to a world,
A much kinder one!
A planet united
By deep conversation,
A sense of connection,
With free education –
Of high quality too! –
Clean air to breathe
For me and for you.
No judgement,
No borders,
No hatred,
No crime.
Protection for children,
For yours and for mine.

A global community:
Let us travel and see
What people are like
Right over the sea.
What language they dream in,
What’s important to them,
What they wish to share
For you to take in…

You are important.
And you are unique.
You are worthy of love,
And deserve all respect.
Believe in the beauty
Of your wildest dreams.
Remember your roots
And the sounds of home,
So that when you fall,
You get right on up
And roll, roll, roll, roll!
Whatever it is,
It always gets better!
Have fun, smile, laugh,
And live a life to remember!

 

Header photo: A “tree of dreams” we created during the retreat. © GFC

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