Boats and balloons


by Kate Scanlan

Friday was a great day of friends, old and new, and another London adventure.

Essentials …. binoculars, scooter and smiles

We headed to the meet at the spot (our photo bench at Southbank Centre) and met up with Nicola, Faraz and his friend Shiv and Ian (who volunteered and the centre and knows the guys well). First stop was lunch in Giraffe, everyone was enjoying the amazing array of food choices. They plan to work there way through as much as possible whilst they are here. Didier got a hellium balloon … caused great delight until it was no longer required … and even then provided delight (more about that later)

This afternoon was all about Didier (more about Willy’s night out later). So, first stop was all about C’s.  Carousel and candy floss.

Candy floss is great when you are small, something quite magical and bonkers about fluffy sugar on a stick. It got gobbled up quickly. Yum! Covered in sugar Didier and Willy jumped on the carousel, we’d seen it the night before when we were running wild on the Southbank with Didier on the scooter … he didn’t stop talking about it. As you can see it was a massive success

We saw some quite random entertainers on our walk down towards the London Eye. Willy actually battled a guy who was popping. Willy smoked him. Defeat wasn’t taken well. Willy got cheers and on we walked, only for Willy to catch the eye of a lady …

Jokes. Didier got collared by two silvery folks

After this we weren’t taking our chances and we ran towards the London Eye and the dock. We got a good deal with our Oyster cards (discounted tickets on the boat!) and we climbed onboard the boys first boat trip.

Didier had tired of his balloon, rather than burst it we let it free and waved goodbye.

The boat was amazing, such a good way to experience the city. I’d forgotten how much I love being on a boat, ploughing through the water, wind on your face. Was a lot of fun.

Even the clouds looked beautiful on this grey and rainy day

This picture does not do justice to the sheer delight that Didier had on this boat trip. I have a short film of him jumping and jumping (when I took this photo). I’m not so on the ball with video so bear with me and in the next week I will learn how and post a very sweet video of this little boys enjoyment of being on the river.

Back on dry land we discovered another photo of the boys at Les Enfants de Dieu and its huge! No one could believe quite how large this was so we sent in the very tall Willy to give us some sense of scale

Thank you Southbank. For these children in Rwanda living on the streets they are largely ignored by society. They are considered a lower cast than dogs on the street and daily have the sole aim of survival. To see photographs of their friends magnified on London’s Southbank and enjoyed by Londoners is another source of confirmation that they are worth it, they do have a contribution and their are loved.

The postscript of this day is Willy’s adventure with Faraz and Shiv. We planned for Willy to write this himself in preparation for starting his own blog. But … we were having so much fun exploring the city every day we would say, we will do this tomorrow and tomorrow never came. So, for Willy here are the high lights of his night with Faraz and Shiv in London.

From the day he arrived Willy was fascinated with the number of people in London who eat on the street. In Rwanda there is no culture of eating on the street. It does not happen. On our way to Southbank on Thursday morning we saw a really smart business man, full suit, brief case, standing under a bridge stuffing his face with a baguette. That was it. Willy had to try it. He kept saying, ‘I want to see how people look at me, they will think I am crazy’. Crazy or not the baguette was good and he followed it with a crepe and then an ice-cream. Willy is making a film of his time in London so you will see it in full glory on screen soon!

Then he met Michael Jackson …. well …..

And toped it all off with an insane fairground ride that is almost the height of Southbank Centre – again footage coming soon from Willy

Willy took his first tube and came home full of the delights of all he had witnessed and experienced. He is soaking up every experience he is having in London. The notebook I gave him when he arrived is fast filling up with his thoughts.

It was a great day and two young people went to bed with their heads full of ideas and new things learnt.



About Nicola Triscott

Nicola Triscott is a cultural producer, curator, writer and researcher. She is the founder and Artistic Director/CEO of Arts Catalyst. Specialisation: interrelationships between art, science, technology and society.
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