For the Saudade project I have chosen to work with a booklet made by the children of a family who were Dutch expats living in Nigeria from 1978-1983.
My recent work explores child-led organisation and experience so I was particularly drawn to the booklet made by a school class titled ‘Nigeria Week 1982’. It is full of drawings, recipes and handwriting about living in Nigeria, which gave me an insight into how these children navigated a new place, new people, a new culture. It made me wonder how much they really understood about why they were there, and how it might have effected them to be moved from place to place. Did they see the differences between them and the locals, did they understand their privilege? I became intrigued by how they might have integrated into the community they lived in – did they participate in activities with the locals? Did these experiences shape their world view as an adult?
So, to continue this trail of thought I am planning to interview a friend who was the child of American aid workers living in Kenya around the same time as the Dutch family from the archive. I will possibly interview other grown-up child expats, to hear their stories of how they found comfort and familiarity in these foreign places, and how they look back at these experiences now they are older and possibly more aware of what might have been going on socially and politically at the time.
I am really excited about working on this project and I’m looking forward to the conversations and shared stories.