Sunday, December 7, 2014

Two days to cross the Atlantic, the mediterranean and arabian seas... and get to Bangalore

Back in India to teach in ASB Bangalore a class of 2 weeks called EMSD (Environmental Management and Sustainable Development).


And back in Brazil this time to work with UFMG one of the best univeristies of the country and implement a project in an occupation...

which concept I had only come across in France in cities especially when squatters where invading empty buildings to... get a place to live! Especially in winter times.
But here we are talking a few thousands people taking in charge a piece of private land, building on it and wanting to leave any with free water and electricity.


Good old Europe, the great waves of october, and an amazing week of teaching in Italian top universities

What a relief to be back home, back in front of the beah in Biarritz and rest... tydy my stuff, leave my travelling bags for a while.
Prepare some courses in english for Intl Masters in Italy in some of the best universities, to share my research, some of my findings...

After anaconda stories that huge tarantula on my doorstep and a contract on my head it was time to go ...

Go away from this border life.... at the Bolivian side, in such a depressed area, plaiged by drug smuggling, consumption, such high levels of prostitutions...
or you may die!

I came here for a project which i strongly believe in: short impactful pragmatic implementation of waste decentralized management of waste. And it did work, raised a lot of attention and inspired a lot of people.
Yet I am exhausted, in a bad health and need some rest.

I thought that swimming in that beautiful lake in front of Puerto Suarez would help every day to cope with the hammering heat and polvo!

The this old guy came to me after a few days: "Gringo, que estas haciendo? No sabes que hay bichos en la agua aqui!!? Serpientes que vienen a tomar aere... Dos semanas atras un anaconda se comi una vaca aqui en frente!"
That was it, gone my dream to swim every day, to cross the Pantanal...
Those dreams of Anacondas taking me by the throat hunted me for weeks!
Then the sweet tarantula a few weeks later!
Way smaller but just as scary especially in front of your door early morning.


Friday, September 19, 2014

Did I save ...Don Sylvestre?

Did he want me to save him?
As much as his broad surprised smile seemed to thank me…after recovering… some long minutes of anxious times for his family… I am still not sure.
After passing out, the old man of 84, already followed for heart and bload pressure problems was back in the hot waters of Aguas Calientes as if nothing had happened, those really hot waters emerging from the ground… that almost had killed him some moments ago.
How weird did it feel to practice CPR techniques again… after 20 years. Each move came back quietly. Hours and hours of repetition during the firebrigade training in Paris, practice under very high levels of stress, in le corp des Pompiers de Paris must have marked my cellular memory for ever: pulse, neck, belt.
5 strokes on the chest, 1 breathing, after having laid him down properly and pushed away stressed and useless air makers around.
This time I was getting a pulse, and soon his breath came back.
His wax skin color started to turn back to normal.
While doing my stuff I was really calm… but some moments after, laying on the grass a wave of sadness hit me. I guess it made me think about my father, same age… realizing how much I did not manage lately to spend valuable, simple time with him, to make peace… and he could him too, just go…like Don Sylvestre…letting the engine … stop!
Without having had a real opportunity to tell him how much I love him and how thankful I am for what I learned with him, perseverance, courage and faith… all under high proof here in Bolivia! 

Especially this roller coaster of a week!
But who am I to think I can save anybody?
What if people don’t want to be saved, or cannot be… they just go when their time is… up?
I am just accepting humbly to serve to the best of my capacities. Accepting work, companionship, encounters… with love… be it an anaconda in the Lagoa I have been crossing at the peer of Puerto Suarez (some stories of anacondas eating cows lately are haunting me!) or this tarantula in front of my door a morning this week!
This combined to a high pollution in the waters stopped my peaceful daily swim, which was such a salvation time!
But a start of sinus infection toped the wild Pantanal stories, and my dream to cross the lake.
I miss the water though, especially in this desert.
The heat hitting Puerto Suarez like a wave of plague and the PILOTO changing every day put me on my knees again so many times this week.

One day… the project would pick up and show its potential....

A bit weird to wake up in an... empty bus!

Completely emtpy!
I must admit that for a second I thought they were kidnapping me, especially when I looked through the window and discovered they were taking the bus to the depot in a really rough neighbourhood.

So I came down quietly from the top floor of the bus, smiling and saying: hey you guys must have forgotten me.
The 2 drivers looked at me like... where is this one coming from... and after a few seconds we all broke into laugh!!!
I was not being kidnapped, just 20min away from my hotel, and into a really dangerous neighbourhood.
The driver stopped the bus by the side of the road and stopped a taxi himself indicating him where to drop me!

What a way to start my 3 days of Start Up weekend with the foundation!!
Rene, my friend from FTE was getting worried, and laughed as well when I told him the story.
Guys... I crossed all India, so this is no big deal for me.
Yet I cant say I was really laughing getting out of that bus looking for a taxi in that dump!

Here I am now in a 4 stars hotel, not really my thing, but at least I will be able to swim at the pool to build my back again!
And finish up the big implementation plan for next week in Puerto Suarez.
I am so excited about every steps we are taking towards this Pilot on Waste Management for poor communities. It is starting in a good way... but lets be humble, and grateful...everyday.

I have still so much work to do: plan, get support from big companies for incentives, get ok from local authorities...
And build the model for my research as well as for other villages, find solutions to recycle glass, tires, Electronics...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sinal de vida… da Bolivia...

Cheguei as 5.30 de manha na Corumba.

I charged my suitcase on the front of the motorbike, between the arms of the moto taxi guy and kept ukulele and backpack on my back... and off we were.... going ... crossing… Corumba, bringing back old Pantanal memories... some 12 years ago!

Today the Pantanal is full, waters coming down from the Amazon…quite normal by the end of the winter.
The air is really cold in the morning. I will probably have to buy some of these Peruvian/Bolivian wool clothes to get warmer, to be able to sustain the morning early sessions… in dump fills…

Crossing the boarder in itself was an adventure.

The Brazilian Moto taxi left me at the 2nd control gate, where the Bolivian taxi take charge of you... and charge you.... more!

7 kilometers to Puerto Suarez... and to another world, almost like an old version of Mexico, old kombis, station wagon, pick ups... that could come from a movie of the 60ies...
It feels a bit surreal and the feelings of landing on the moon as surely accentuated by the depravation of sleep. The night bus ride was cold but OK, just long and tensed!

I get now to Casa Real, a hotel by the main road, the only one that is in asphalt..., which looks like an hacienda, just … without the horses tight up in the front area.

Dust is everywhere! It takes me a few hours to get used to it, to get my throat accustomed to the dry and dusty air, to stop coughing!

A quick shower, and right on to a plan to use those 5 weeks here in the most efficient way, to see how to get there with the Foundation FTE.

A quick chat with the lovely house guard, a beautiful red 'papagay'!

Then starting the meetings and visits for the projects.

First listen to people, respect what they have done, who they are, get to know them...
Then only ....share ideas... shape plans together.

I loved these recycling idea of using old truck tires to set a water tank higher...
And the community oven to make cork bricks...or the permaculture fields, with 'galinas' in the middle to use their compost!
I read a lot of other examples of Integrated Waste management where people have good stories and successful methods, that should help...

How is the market of waste built?
Like here with brazilian trucks collecting?

I am here to help but mostly to learn about myself, further... and serve!

Oo yes, and yesterday in SP I met this very nice guy from Floripa, who is a singer songwriter, and we spend the whole flight speaking about music.
He sings MPB, is 28, father of 2 lovely kids that he has with his wife, a flamenco dancer!
We had a great time, rebuilding the world through music and education.
He was travelling with his dad an ex bodyguard policeman from Lula, really funny stories!
Rafael gave me his CD in the end, and I will listen to it while starting my work here!
Thanks for making me feel like part of a famous Brazilian band getting out of a plane Rafael!

Today crossing borders and getting further away I feel closer to people dear to me, the ones I want to build my life with... to my purpose, to my core.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Brazilian dreams

When I was a kid I was kinda scared to dream because even when the dreams were... nice, I felt like I was transported to places… endlessly... brought to the end of the universe, my universe, I guess, and invariably put in front of a black hole: Who am I? Why am I here, What for?
Those were not really nightmares but really deep questions on the essence of life, way to deep for a child.
Sometimes I even had the feeling I was having awakened sleep experiences, feeling like I was flying… to the boarder of… life and … death.
I could not really identify these as extra body experiences but it sure scared me.

Later on, I guess wet dreams, and female fantasies brought some lightness to my nightlife!

Way later, philosophy mixed to personal development and therapy experiences brought those dreaming times back to the front line! As tools, this time, to better understand my psyche, my unconscious worlds…myself...

Dreams are not always telling you what you want to hear or see, just what you need to… what your unconscious wants to talk to you about!

And yes it is a blessing to dream, to remember your dreams and get to follow the messages your mind, your soul are whispering during your sleep. And yet so little is know about them that is dangerous to analyse too much!

Well… sometimes those are not real whispers… like when all those terrifying images of my friends butchered in feb 2007 in Rio were coming back in waves in my mind… to the point of not wanting to close my eyes anymore!!!

Sleepless nights or long insomnias when I got back to Brazil in may this year!

But those dreams as well were still coming to tell me something…
that maybe it was time to grieve and move on.
Move on to other dreams or just simply to carry on dreaming….with the innocence of a child!

Dreaming that work can be done with kids of the street, in favelas in Rio or elsewhere in the world…
Like the amazing kids of Moro do Alemao who learned a few words of English and repeated them by singing, playing football, enjoying fruits, playing ukulele in less than an hour.
See video:
So here I am, again in Brazil, 12 years later, with a lot less idealism but still loads of dreams: dreams of participating to making a better world, of getting that amazing idea that would change everything…
Me first!!!… let me change first, start to trust, myself, others, start to love what I do, choose what I love, where I want to live, surrounding myself with people that inspire me, that I can build a space of serenity with…

And get those nightmares out of my head!

And they do… go away .... in the end.

Replacing hands full of blood, my friends’ heads chopped

… by those beautiful smiles of innocent and yet already damaged kids!

SO YES, here I am, again, not allowing time to dream or just to think, analyse too much, to wander in space and time … at least not to day dream… just trying to further set an SE on alternative education,

to plan this PILOT of waste management at the boarder of Bolivia and Brazil: Corumba, Puerto Suarez and Puerto Quijiro.

Dreaming as a vision, dreaming as a way to share ideas, new societal interactions, shift in economical paradigms…

Shift in my mind, my soul, my way to trust, to love… myself… and them!

Alternative education and the project of Uke’N’Learn started in Rio with one private session followed by the kids session in Morro Do Alemao, which was such a success that it inspired us to go further: other group sessions in SP, even single ones of some strange outcomes (the guy comparing the session to prostitution, his needs to see the tits before buying… negotiating the facial price after bragging the whole time about his luxurious holidays in France!!!; funny how those wealthy people in SP seem to me, ruthlessly stingy, negotiating everything, even their own pleasure!).

So here we go, Uke’N’ Learn seems to rock n roll now:
Private sessions
1 session in Morro do Alemao in Rio
1 session in Capao Redondo in SP
A full week and 4 sessions in Morro da Fuba in Rio with Terr'Ativa

And more and more that feeling that there is something substantial there, that this could be ‘the’ idea, the SE… and we are going for it with Elena and some friends.

Another dream that I have been pursuing here is my research project on Waste… my PhD started in India and which I would love to transfer here in Brazil.
Well some steps and great encounters have been made with USP, with UFRJ…
Lets see where it can lead?

In any case people are really interested by the topics of decentralisation and small scale community oriented solutions.
And that feels like a good start in a few weeks!
So I put my brain and soul fully into the concept and possible implementation of that project in Bolivia at the boarder with Brazil: connection of 3 cities: Puerto Suarez, Puerto Quirijo, and Corumba.

A beautiful project at the heart of a poor local community, in a very poor boarder city (with its loads of drugs, drug smuggling and heavy prostitution...), in one of the poorest countries in the world:

2,867.64 USD
as compared to other neighbours
6,659.81 USD ‎(2013)
14,414.75 USD ‎(2013)
14,760.20 USD ‎(2013)
One month to shape a strategy and start… to implement simple ideas, simple solutions…
That can only be better than the round of consultants that have only sucked municipality budgets lately without any delivery and implementation aspects.
But what a challenge!
How to bound, to convince, to build teams, to shape flows, to get places to compost, to stock, to repair, to connect to the market of recycling, to create flows of revenus, to change waste into cash… in 1 month!!!

Dreams of building a life here, of finding my place, in front of the sea…starting from what I love, where I want to live and build a life around it!

And not the contrary like I have been doing my entire life quite unsuccessfully I must confess!

Monday, July 21, 2014

From Paris to Venezia, from Les Mines to U Ferrara, in 3 weeks!

Well sometimes you don't have a choice...
things crumble, get pilled up... and this is how I got from a week of classes in Paris in Institut Les Mines Telecom to 4 days of workshop and classes focusing on waste management in Ferrara, a nice little italian town north of Bologna.
From teaching Supply Chain Management to very smart students from all around the world (with their own drawings of bikinis!!!) to papers presentation in a workshop on Waste Management and North/South divide in Italy.

And of course I was not going to skip what was in the middle: A few days in Paris, to rediscover by velib...

A day in Bordeaux to see friends and borrow the mighty BMW R1100, a few days in Biarritz to rest, to swim, sleep and eat well... and the adventure was on: Toulouse, Carcasonne, an evening with Martine and Freddy, singing, dressing up in Brazilian carnival...near Montpellier... then the amazing lavender fields of south Lavandou, especially from Apt to Aix... 

What a dream to ride that big BMW motorbike from one lavender field to another... that was her dream, box ticked!

Then Cannes and the realisation that driving such a motorbike everyday is really exhausting... so lets go by car...

Italy: a night in Cinquo Terre to start up with, then Parma, Bologna, just on time at 1pm for the start of the workshop on Waste Management and the divide North/ South which I was there for at the University of Ferrara:

Managing waste as a resource: economic and policy perspectives in international domains

After a few days of stress and presentations some relaxing times along the cost, in the amazing Venezia...

even though it seems to me more like a Disneyland of the 19th century than a real living city now.

The magic, the romance is still there at every corner, especially if you meet Carlos and Julia who invite you to visit the best pasteries in Venice and sit at sunset time to have a Sprezzi!

 We did not even find the "pont des soupirs' no need for the usual tourist traps...

We found so many bridges to sing on, together with our friends... to enjoy the typical ice creams...