Finally! Two weeks of intensive preparation and a 10 hour Iberia-flight later, we landed save and well on Venezuelan ground. The final ‘modus operandi’ of our project could begin. A warm welcome by our Venezuelan friends as well as a tropical Caribbean breeze set the perfect scene immediately.
Our intercultural exchange started as from the moment we closed the doors of the car: in Caracas people don’t follow traffic rules, they just set the rules. Cars passing by from the right, speeding, breaking, crossing the road verge – the what? – suddenly reminded us to Guido Belcanto’s famous classic “Pechstrook van het leven”:ultimately, we now know how to interpret that title.
Through our dark-blinded windows – “you better never show your face” – we cast for the first time a glance at the barrios of Caracas, perched on the hillsides of the city. Did you know that over 60 percent of the population of Caracas lives in the slums? In fact, they are not even on the map…impossible to count. Moreover – we had a look – the word Barrio is not even mentioned in the “Lonely Planet’ traveler’s guide for Venezuela. Our Caribbean working environment got shaped in our minds…
Many handshakes, kisses, a joke or two and a coffee later, we found ourselves relaxed on a couch at our respectively guest families. The four of us live with separate families in the districts of Santa Fe and Santa Rosa de Lima, save neighborhoods for the middle-class. We were really happy to see the excitement on the faces of the people to meet some tall Belgians.
It gave us an idea on what to expect for our first intercultural exchange activity with the people of Embajadores Comunitarios…Looking forward to tonight!