September 2013


Viva con Agua de Sankt Pauli

Project trip of Viva con Agua Switzerland to Cabo Delgado, Mozambique

An excerpt of Vero Bürgis (QueenKong) experience report.

We were delighted to hear about our chance to take part in a journey to MosamBIG with Viva con Agua.

We, Marco and Vero aka. QueenKong, planned on travelling to MosamBIG by bus via Tansania. We landed in Dar es Salaam, after a trouble-free flight. We had arranged to meet Josina Schiff there late at night, at the staircase on the right of the airport exit. She arrived a few hours later. In order to keep this report short and simple, I won't go into further details on the subject of “claustrophobia in stuffed bus next to chicken”, “4 hours pick up in a sandstorm” and “bus speed 140km/h despite potholes”. However, what we found particularly noticeable during our journey were all the things that can be carried on your head. Our top 3: 1. aquarium including fish, 2. a backpack and 3. a sewing machine.

An excerpt of Vero Bürgis (QueenKong) experience report.

(...) After three days, we fell into Dorotheas arms in Pemba, a bit dishevelled but very happy.

We knew straight away: she was “the man” for Pemba. Along with Barbara from Helvetas, she guided us through this african adventure. We were thankful to the power of 20. Before leading us to this wonderful abode, Doro showed us which wall we would be painting. We were very honoured to find our wall right at the main entrance of the Pemban football stadium. We got a building that was 4 x 7 meters twice, which could not have been more beautiful. We organised some scaffolding (thanks Jürg), paint (thank you dear Osman), printed out the authorisation (thank you dear mayor) and got support from a local artist (thank you dear Nelson), and painted the first streaks onto the wall at 5:30 am. Luckily, we were in the shade until 11:30 am, and morning-active like never before. Next to the golden morning glow, we had another alarm clock which knocked at our window every day at 5:00 am sharp: a bird, irritated by the audacity of his counterpart, pecking at his mirror image.

After 5 days of intense working, watched by hundreds of nosy pairs of eyes, the picture was complete, and so the stadium is now graced by an elephant playing football with balloons. One of Pemba’s numerous crows was eternalised as the referee.

An excerpt of Vero Bürgis (QueenKong) experience report.

(…) During painting, our group grew by members that had flown straight from Europe to Pemba. Our crew was complete on the Wednesday before the festival weekend. Our sea-front house transformed into a creative factory, a music-film-photo-painting studio. A kilometre long table on the veranda was the place to be. Every half an hour, the printer would conjure up photos, that our master of photography “strassenkoeter” had shot during the day. Portraits of story-telling faces. Proof of our feelings. This is Pemba, this is MosamBIG.

The beds were creatively decorated with mosquito nets, ropes were stretched through the entire house. Little bells were attached, otherwise they could have been used to practise dodging laser beams by performing flick flacks through the room. Personal objects were placed next to the bed - photographs of family and friends, lucky charms, and the machete under the bed - for safety.

An excerpt of Vero Bürgis (QueenKong) experience report.

Our project trip began on a Thursday morning at 7:00 am. We went on a long drive, and visited Helveta’s and Viva con Agua’s project villages. We learnt a lot about the WASH initiative (water, sanitary supply and hygiene).

The people welcomed us with open arms, and shared everything that was in any way shareable. In rapid succession, minute by minute, new experienced moments added up and formed a huge internal pyramid.

A big moment was being able to refresh ourselves using the water from the project village’s wells. These wells allow for the inhabitants to access fresh drinking water, even in times of drought. With joy and full of pride, these wells were shown to us and the easil access to water was demonstrated.

I gain a personal power recharge when I think about the dance that I was taught by the village inhabitants at night. A moment without right or wrong, with no me and you, just us - here!

An excerpt of Vero Bürgis (QueenKong) experience report.

As the day following our two-day project trip was also the day of the festival, there was no time to pause, even after this flood of impressions. Back in Pemba, QueenKong met up with lots of kids on the festival grounds at 7 am, in order for them to paint another wall. We divided the wall between 7 local art teachers, each of which painted their part of the wall with 10 of their students. Things didn’t go exactly as planned. As soon as the paint was spread out, a tremendous dynamic arose, which we couldn’t and didn’t want to fight. The kids painted as if the wall was about to be snatched away from under their noses. Painting inhibition or insecurities were nowhere to be seen. This created a picture that could not be more typical: Full of colour, with no concept, chaotic, positive and motivating all at once. The paint-filled balloons had a special appeal. They were thrown at the wall to mark the beginning of the painting: pamper the world with colour!


An excerpt of Vero Bürgis (QueenKong) experience report.

(…) As another highlight and secretly saved leaving gift, Pemba experienced a show like never before. The opening was a fashion show performed by Josina (“EJ!”) and Doro (“el J.”). Afterwards, many local musicians performed, before Mr. Knackeboul and Chococolococo left the audience transfixed. I expect beatboxing to become the next big thing in Pemba! Shot B, a hip hop artist from Maputo, and Knackeboul performed their hit song, which will forever accentuate our journey: “Vamos la”. This song was born in “our” house, with us all as its witnesses. We sat next to the two boys as they conjured up the lyrics. It was recorded in the legendary “tambo tambulani tambo” studio in Pemba, including a video directed by Simon Ramseier. However, I must mention that QueenKong missed this part, due to our return to Switzerland. This makes us anticipate its release in November even more!

Credits: Story

Fotos — Strassenkoeter / Thomas Koch
Video — ARTE Tracks
Texte — Vero Bürgi (Queen Kong)

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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