La Touche is located at Adidogome-Apedokoe Gbomame, outside the bustling city of Lome. Togo is known for its cool panoramic mountains, expansive beaches, decorative fishing boats, pop-up business in shantytown alleys, historic landmark museums, and friendly greetings for foreigners. It is impressive to see how passionate Sylvie Mensah, founder of La Touche, and Nadia Adamou, teacher and interpreter, are about their attending students and their vision for La Touche’s educational expansion. Sylvie lives at La Touche with her children and has big ideas for developing the center in an unfinished area. She hopes to raise enough funding to complete the structure. Nadia and Sylvie’s coordination and translations in helping with the Kids Share instructions made our time together engaging, fun, and productive.
As we close up our workshop with our final writing piece, we asked the students to begin writing the middle of their story, making the last bridge for the Storybridge curriculum writing. They are challenged to problem solve with unlimited abilities; they are the master of their story’s outcome. We ask them to close their eyes and imagine changing the world for the better. There is no limit to their creativity, and nothing is too unrealistic. We explain to the students that their work will be translated into English and French online for others to read. We hope the connection reaches other parts of the world, sharing the same desires and hopes for the future.
After congratulating the students for their hard work drafting their first soon-to-be-published Kids Share Story, we tell them to line up and see the significant change that occurred earlier with their canvas murals.
To symbolize the impermanence of life, the canvas mandala is changed once again, not by the elements but by Kristina. As the children approach the painting area, they are shown a different scene laid out for them to re-create. It was explained that initially, Kristina wanted to see what they could do working together with little instruction. As expected, the result was a bit chaotic. The work they had created together the day before was covered with blue skies, an ocean of waves, a beach, and the words on each canvas, Kids Share Workshops 2022 and La Touche 2022. Children were instructed to get into painting groups of ocean life, trees, people, animals, and buildings. They were given 5 minutes to paint before rotating to the next group. Each group would have another chance to return to the canvas. The results were organized, beautiful, and inspiring! The Kids Share Canvas Murals can be moved, shared, and express love for the community.
While completing the murals, the adult teachers and volunteers are asked to jump in and add their personal touches. As the children watch on they too feel inspired to see adults having fun working on their co-created work!
Stay tuned for the final celebration, translated stories, and more about the strong support from the Togolese volunteers!