Day ends with rainstorm!
The first school workshop; a secondary school, big bare concrete spaces, blue chairs this time, 20 teenagers aged 14/15. They were very relaxed and immediately engaged, excited for a change in the timetable that doesn't, usually, include music!
Young people here are as attached to their mobile phones as they are in the UK and reluctant to put them away so they take photos, record the session and share their music with Pete. No conflict. It was a great session, a lively exchange of music and songs and a reunion with some people from last year who remembered us.
In the evening, we returned to the school for a conversation with teachers, artists and community activists This was a very inspiring and thoughtful group of people, with an openness and a willingness to share feelings and opinions with energy and passion. They have a very philosophical approach to life and they speak of solidarity through the arts, of culture as integral to life and, as a non- negotiable human right. People from this sector, in Maraba are very eager to engage with the project in Cabelo Seco, to learn from it and to develop similar models in their own communities. It is very high profile now and is becoming something of a thorn in the side of the local government and the development agencies that have big plans for the transformation/ destruction of this community and the city through the industrialisation of the Amazon.
Heading for dinner we walked to the ORLA, the promenade that runs alongside the river and came upon a group of 30 young people practising a dance routine to a portable sound system, perfectly choreographed and completely beautiful beneath the moon. Getting anywhere takes ages, Dan and Mano, know everyone and everyone wants to say hello. By the time we reached the restaurant it was late, we were all tired and then a hot wind began to blow bringing with it the rain. Water came down with a mighty crash, bouncing off the pavement sending the waiters and diners scurrying for shelter and rattling the canvas roof with the sounds of fire-crackers. The weather is so extreme, the rain is extraordinary in its power and volume, in its biblical intensity and in the instant relief it brings from the heat.
The shower passes, and we walk home under the stars, which are upside down.