5 things to do in Zoo with toddler!

Our Markus loves animals…so we went to Zoo! And here are some lessons we learned:

1.Plan less!

We have a book with drawings of animals that Markus loves. He loves the images but he also loves the sounds and movements we make when we read it with him. Rodrigo brought the book to the Zoo with the expectation that we could show him the real animals that were on the pages. Almost all his favorites (lion, tiger, seal – basically the ones that makes us do funniest sounds) was missing, sleeping or hiding! Just go and make yourself available. Don’t think that you will see your kid looking face to face with the tiger on the other side of the window, instead get ready to spend one hour exploring the first square meter of road of the place!

2. Use your senses!

Make the noise like the animals do!!! Your toddler will love it and it will be a nice exercise for you not to be ashamed in front of other people.
Also speak about smells that you and your kid feel. Is it poo? Flowers?
Don’t forget the sounds: all those birds, monkeys… just be like sponge and take all information. Because your toddler is small and doesn’t have patience to see all animals, you can perfectly spend very interesting moments in those meters around you before your kid get tired.

3. Can´t find the animal? Enjoy the picture!

If it is koala and your kid can’t see it between all those eucalyptus but you still would like him to know how koala looks then you just show the picture to your kid. Usually you have description and image of animal next to his living place for people to understand what they see or what to look for :)… sometimes Markus was even more curious about those descriptions then about the real animal :)

4. Enjoy all environment!

If you toddler doesn’t look very passionate about the animals… don’t worry! He will find some flowers, herbs, stones…. that make him feel like a real adventurer! Let him play with what he feels like, don’t push him to see the flamingos, maybe he likes more pigeons :)

5. Do it slow!

Anything that you decided to do, you need to do it on your toddler’s speed! Enjoy your time with your kid and don’t worry that you not gonna see elephants or that panda is sleeping now or lion is laying far from you and you can’t show to your toddler how beautiful looks tiger… if it s time to eat – feed your toddler. Toilet?? Change as many diaper as your toddler need… even if after all you and your small human being saw only giraffe and half of monkey (another half was somewhere between bushes), even then your toddler had perfect day with person that he loves most and had new experiences to develop his skills!

+ see some pictures from performance of Rodrigo and Rui!!!

Goodbye Portugal, hello London!

Some weeks ago I went to London for the auditions for the Leadership masters at Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

The news came some days after: I was offered a place at the course!

This might have been one the best news since we did the pregnancy test that told us Markus was coming!

We have a lot of work for the next months and a lot of challenges until we move to the amazing city of London!

For now we just wanted to share the great news with everyone. During the following weeks we will organize everything and share it here.

Academia Walkabout – Contingencies of a work like this

In the last weeks we have been very excited about two upcoming performances that promised to be very important for the group in Lameiras:

  1. FATT Indoor, by Associação Portuguesa de Didgeridoo, in Porto
  2. ANIMA – Young Socio-cultural Animators Gathering, in Famalicão

But when we work with so many variables like Non-formal Education, Partners, Music, Art, Culture(s), Communities, Ethnicities and, most important of all, People, we are always subject to changes in our plans.
Urbanizacao das LameirasThe last two weeks dictated two changes in our group from Lameiras… First, someone from one of the families died and because of this two of our kids was forbidden by their parents to go to Porto. We was reduced to 3 kids and it wouldn’t be the same but we could still manage to present a nice show. Then a wedding appeared for the day of the concert so two girls got out of the plan leaving the group with only one boy.

We was sad that we had to cancel the participation of the kids from Lameiras in FATT Indoor but this is the life of a group like ours!

The Walkabout Family will still be presenting the work we have been doing with kids and teenagers through the didgeridoo at FATT Indoor as a way to inspire more people to operate a change in their communities!

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Last week we used most of the energy of the session for a double rehearsal for the upcoming concerts.

We introduced some new sounds on the performance with the use of some toys and a plastic bottle. The kids were enjoying these new sounds a lot.

I totally forgot to use the camera but luckily Bruna from PASEC came to see the performance and she used her phone to record the video so we have some images!

Thank you dear audience!
Thank you dear audience!

ARTIVA-TE! 2.13

So… here is it… last session of Artiva-te!

Nice warm spring is coming to Portugal and to Gondifelos also, our kids are ready to sweat not because is hot outside but because they are working with all power!!!

We continued “ideia fixe” marathon and now was Daniel´s time to share with us his idea. After that we had our warm up exercises and Cláudia introduced Nicolae from Romania, he is doing EVS – European Voluntary Service in YUPI, and arrived less than one month ago to Famalicão. And is already participating in some Yupi projects.

Then we separated in our A and B groups like last time and:

A. Received examples of project presentations: The Walkabout Family´s activities and the concert The World of Didgeridoo and concert “Takas”. They worked to understand how to read those kid of documents and how to write proposal for possible client. As a final exercise the made an email template for the contact with the clients that they can use in the future.

B. Worked on performance that should be presented to possible client.

After all groups presented what they did to each other and they got some advice from YUPI and The Walkabout Family. And also from Nicolae that said he felt the session as a very dynamic one. He compared it to engineering: you have the people, the means, the resources, what counts is what comes out of the mixture.

We think this is a very nice image for Artiva-te!

And even though with this session we finished our year in Gondifelos we till will be available to receive questions from kids and help them if they need.

Go, Artiva-te, Go, Go, Daniel, Alex, Adriana, Maria and Maria, Luís, Ruben and rest of you that didn’t finished with us today!

Ok, last sentence sounds like goodbye song 😉 but still we will see them next week on preparation for the youth exchange week organized by YUPI. And during that week we will visit them for sure and will make some magic sounds!!!

Like Markus like to say: Até até!

ARTIVA-TE! 2.12

Our Artiva-te session started with “special idea” from Luís.

It´s a short and funny game:in a circle, one element of the group gets blindfolded in the center, then someone goes out of the circle. The element in the center must guess who went out just by touching the hands of the remaining elements. Because after some moments the blindfolded element tends to only identify the remaining elements and forget to name the missing elements, this game shows us why it´s important to not forget the main point of the challenge.  And it is so easy to forget even small “mission” in the daily life.

After warming up exercises we made something new: we was working on the steps of the process of creating, producing, presenting and following up a show. We created a list of those steps and asked the kids to reflect on each of them and to think to which of these parts they belong. The point was to help them memorize the steps to keep creating and presenting their shows.

And for the end of the session we split in two groups to work and prepare: A. Performance B. Production.

A. Luís, Maria, Maria and Adriana created DidgeGirls.
B. Daniel and Alex with Rodrigo went to speak about producing the show.

After all we had:

A. For Luís is still difficult to lead: if in the beginning he sees the idea of performance, in the end he tends to lose energy and main point of performance. So with help of our super active Maria :) he cloud prepare short but cute show. Thank you DidgeGirls!

B. With Alex’s energy and brains of Daniel we could produce performances like professionals :) shame that we discovered that only now when we are finishing the project. But is better later than never! Who knows maybe they will use new skills that they found out now or maybe we will be needing them in our future projects!? Who knows. ..

A big challenge for better results

In the quest for better results, The Walkabout Family takes up a challenge, a big one.
We are aware that our work is important in the lives of the kids and teenagers we work with. But we are also aware that there is still so much more to learn and develop to do what we do better and better, after all it’s all about the impact we can create in the lives of those with whom we work.
Motivated by this constant need of improvement we sent me to make a workshop in Casa da Música, in Porto, about musical work in communities and groups. Until now it has been an amazing experience to learn with great teachers and in a fabulous group of musicians all motivated to make a change in society through music.
In this workshop we was introduced to the Guildhall School Of Music and Drama‘s course on Leadership. All the information we could get about it made us believe that this would be the right input we need towards a better fulfillment of the objectives of our work. It’s a two year long course designed to empower creative leaders to work with communities through music.

I applied to the course and was called for an audition that consisted on sharing with the directors of the course my skills and objectives for it, a workshop led by three inspiring teachers together with other applicants for the course coming from England, South Africa and the United States and in the end an interview. I also had the opportunity to visit the Sundial Court, the students residence.

I spent three amazing days in London absorbing all the vibrant energy of that city and gathering inspiration for our work. Included in the free time was a visit to some mandatory places like St. Paul’s Cathedral, the amazing and inspiring Tate Galleries, and the Tower Bridge!

Now we wait for an answer from the school with anxiety. In it resides the possibility of a very very big change in our lives, always with the aim of doing better work with our audiences.

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In the last session we had great things happening. Here is a celebration to returns and group ownership!

Markus changed his routines so in the last weeks he tends to sleep in the moment we have our session in Lameiras. The kids sometimes ask for him and Terese, if everything is ok with them. As I was arriving to the session all the kids ran into the room and forbid me to enter so they could prepare a surprise for me…

As I entered the room they started the show we prepared in December. The main leader for all this was that kid that was out of the sessions for some weeks. We tried to go on with the show but some thing didn’t work out as smooth as we wished (they arrived to the part where I should lead with clapsticks and didgeridoo and I had not yet unpacked them). I thanked them for organizing this surprise and  their initiative and we went for warm up. Another return was from one of the girls that had been out for some weeks and it felt very good to have the full group again together.

They couldn’t wait to show me our picture from Christmas performance in a local magazine!

The group in the news!
The group in the news!

The group was in a very nice mood already. They all participated in the warm up and then we went for the session. I wanted to work on the show and on new possibilities and sounds but our sessions are becoming very interesting so a lot of other kids keep sneaking at the windows and this is quite disturbing for the group. We spent some time speaking about why the others want to see the session and if it’s more important for the to participate or to be covering the windows.

We had the opportunity to do some leadership exercises and almost all the kids tried to direct the others buy placing themselves in front of the group and proposing rhythms or sounds for the others to imitate. It’s not always easy for them but I it’s important that they practice while at the same time they feel the difficulty of leading.

In the end, while we was distributing the tape for their didgeridoos, some kids just took the clapsticks and a boomwhacker and started playing in group while playing percussion. Slowly we are feeling that some results we wanted are coming to happen: the kids come regularly to the sessions, they understand that they must be on time, they experiment more, they follow instructions and rules and above all participate in the sessions.