"No no no, Yves, no way ! We ain't speak about us Gipsies, forget it !"
The seven teenagers watch us, puzzled eyes and crossed arms. Our idea is not really on her way, but we still hope for it. Actually Odile thought we could take part of the contest at BDecines comic festival, guess what the theme is this year... Travellers (Gipsies are called travellers, Voyageurs, in France) : fantastic !
Odile and Yves teach at ASET (Help for Gipsies children to go to School). They drive around the region with their marvellous classroom-cars (school trucks !) to teach French to Roma children from Eastern countries and Spanish gipsies who settled-down in France. They also teach French Gipsies children.
If they're still travelling, the two teachers park their school truck in the middle of the caravans and teach directly there. If the families settled down, children go to public school but some of them drop it out (trying to study in the stuffy caravans with the whole family around, not so easy...)
That's how they got a classroom at the Brassens Highschool at Décines. Out-dropers can learn quietly French and Maths. They also enjoy Yves and Odile's human monitoring.
To help the teachers, there's a great string of volunteers and help, and I'm happy to be part of them. It's a great way for me to share through drawing, this tremendous international language, so practicle, quite magicle ! Great !* (*"mishto" in Roma, *"choumir" in Albanese... So true you can travel down the street !)
"Ok guys, look at that, I can see the Chantal, there's also the Peguy, the Angelica.." Yves took a book full of pictures of French gipsies, it makes them curious about it, arms and eyes open-up...
"So we're studying the Little Prince", what if he was travelling, what if he was landing on the Gipsies planet ? What would happen ?"
- Well, we would invite him to have dinner with us, and we'll make a party with a fire, and we would take out the gaz of the campin' to make some barbecue...
Speaking and drawing together, they made it ! The comic is done, really good scenario and drawings. We even learnt a bit of Manouche like hello : conicava. "The little Prince on the Gipsies planet", our young writers' work, will be exhibited at the Toboggan on May, 16th at Décines. You can have a look at it on the Classe Niglo blog, and we will be there for the contest, please come and support us !
On May 17 and 18th, I will show my msketchbooks I drew at the Gipsies school in France and Spain. Now we're going to teach at The Saint Maries de la Mer, but I will let some new drawings before I leave.
Thank you so much to Yves and Odile to welcome me in their classrooms, to share their human warmness and generous teaching methods. Gipsies School makes you feel like going back to school.
More about it :
The Niglo Classroom comic: http://laclasseniglo.over-blog.com/2014/04/b-d-suite-et-presque-fin.html
BDécines comic festival : http://www.bdecines.org/
Sketchbooks fair at Beaurepaire : http://carnet.beaurepaire.free.fr/presentationdesc/index.html
Price and diploma I made for BDécines :