Wednesday, May 1, 2013

47th day, Toliara – Je peut être ton héro, cherie

Yes, I am actually translating an Enrique Iglesias song from English into French. But there is a logical explanation for everything, and I have a few words to say in my defense.

With some people I met recently and who work at the NGO Bel Avenir, I spend the holiday at the Toliara beach (Which, contrary to popular belief, does exist, but it’s a 1-hour walk from the city center). Bel Avenir’s work focuses on education and supporting children and teens from disadvantaged families. For the beach day, they take about 40 teenage girls and 2 blind boys. The kids come from the poor families of the saline area, where children are mainly born to help with work and girls commonly have to prostitute themselves from the moment they grow breasts. 

We play soccer at the beach, and, in spite of my more than doubtful expertise in this field, I am pretty impressed with the skills of some of the girls. They train 2 or 3 times a week, and I can’t help but think of the movie “Bend it like Beckham”, evaluating the likeliness of a talent scout coming to their quarter and turning one of them into a star. I wouldn’t bet on it.

As we head home in the afternoon, I walk with 18-year old Malala, who brought a small stereo. She is ambitious and determined to learn English, so she makes me translate one song after the other, pausing the music after every line. Before we part, I promise to have a written translation of her favourite song ready by Friday for her to pick it up at WWF. So here I am, honouring my commitment.

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