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Over Cross View on Our Differences

Are you comfortably seated in your armchair? Very good, then you may relax and let me give you a short overview of what a youth exchange in Martinique can be like.

Without a doubt you wish to have a description of all the delights of this Heavenly island as well as its right to present all the important parts where we were drawing a lively picture of the scene.

Group of participants doing an ice-breaking game The Martinique-based association CAPAPH (Collectif d'action pour l'autonomie des personnes handicapées), in English an association working for disabled person, with the objective to help those people becoming more autonomous, VIEWS International and the Belgian La Baraka discussed about their motivation of having an “overcrossing view on our differences”, in French, "Regard croisé sur nos différences" the title of this project, and especially the differences inside of a group composed of around 40 participants from Belgium and Martinique, sighted and VIPs of different origin, bringing together many ideas, experiences and contribution.

The young people of La Baraka decided to take the initiative of bringing guitars and percussion instruments and the right material to film the our great adventure.

Once arrived at Sainte-Luce, our accommodation for the next following ten days, the travelers from Belgium had the time to discover and adapt to their new environment, The participants from Martinique were expected to arrive only the next morning. So we took our time to get to know every corner of the residence. The sleeping rooms could hose between three or four participants and the group had at its disposal a big half-opened “hangar” for the meals and the rooms of the activities. We could access the beach via a pontoon that crosses the mangrove, filled up with exotic birdsongs. Rap evening at the hangar What about the sea? Would you may be ask me. Really good. It was absolutely not difficult to jump in. It's turquoise water, with a perfect bath temperature. Absolutely nothing to have with our Northern See. Just try it and you’ll say the same thing. The darkness of the night didn't take anything away from the charming of the sight especially in the period of full moon. And of course participants from Martinique didn't miss any opportunity to let the visitors be familiar with this environment.

The Belgian group had the possibility to discover different aspects of the island's culture, especially the traditions and its story. One of our evenings we discovered the "Danse du damier". This hasn't got anything to do with a board game, but it's a traditional dance presented by two protagonists who have to be dancers and fighters at the same time. These two people are battling each other in a circle on percussion rhythms according to a ritual. We also learned more about the first inhabitants of the island called the Arawak population. We got historical information, we could touch traditional objects and learn more about their pottery technique Once we got all the explanation, it was our turn to try it. All participants went into it and became Arawak artists.

Playing guitars at the hangar During the whole youth exchange music, art, meeting people were central points of our activities. And how could we not mention the Easter that we spent at someone's house who lives only ten meters away from the sea? For this day it is a custom that all families gather at "Matoutou de Crabes". The traditional meal, made of crab. The conversations, the domino rounds and of course music and dance were the nice part of this event. This was also the moment where the local group gave place for the percussionists of the Baraka who made the day. A very mythical day! Another evening, this time at Fort-de France fortunately we could repeat the sensational experience vibrating to the percussive dancing rhythms of Belgium and Martinique and what a sensation, the participants couldn't stop.

And if we are speaking about sensations let me mention the fabulous visit to the “Gorges de la Falaises”, a marvelous canyon. After some irregular step downstairs all participants had to cross a river between two big cliffs, dominated by a luxurious flora. Sometimes we had to climb the stip stairs against the flow. At the end of the path an impressive water fall and its noise covered without any problem the sound of our admiration.

The exchange also introduced some people to the world of the camera and sound recording. Several workshops were dedicated to these issues. In fact our group would like to make a little film about our exchange.

Participants from VIEWS International The sensitizing activities to visual impairment were carried out as well as informing sessions about the Erasmus+ programme. Well-read, other activities took place during the exchange and gave the participants the possibility of getting to know each other better and to express our opinions on topics like the mobility of persons with a reduced mobility, the condemnation of Nabilla’s and many others, but as it would take too long to mention all of them I stop here.

Finally the evenings were organized taking into account each person’s wishes. The last one was done on the beach around a fire influenced by the percussion instruments and guitars, which will probably be partially graved in everyone's mind, certainly in those one’s who were not illuminated by the Rum. Who says last evening, says Farewell Party. But also time to say good bye. It is the worst point in the whole exchange. The end of a nice moment. We learned an expression from our friends from Martinique: "On a un gros poil", that suggests very well our feelings. But we know that our mates will come to Liège next autumn. Thank you for hosting us.

It was super turbo