Day 4 in Paris

Tonight as I write to you, some of us are watching French news before bedtime — we think of it as training for the brain exercise we get during the day; the people we have been speaking with have such inspiring stories that we don’t want to miss a thing for lack of understanding. This morning the six of us went for a brisk walk before the official wakeup time. We traversed la Seine, snapped some pics by the river, grabbed breakfast (seriously, I can’t think of anything better than a brioche sucrė early in the morning), and headed over to Studio Praxis with Tara.

The first thing we did was conference with a young student leader via Skype. She discussed the discrimination she faced at university because of the headscarf she wears, and we had a chance to have a question and answer session at the end of our time with her. We asked her about advice she has for young Muslim girls, and also about how to react when one sees discrimination. After this interesting talk, Tara gave us more information about the campaigns she works on with Studio Praxis, which mainly deal with combatting unjust policing. Since today was January 6, “La Fête des Rois,” it was a must that we ate Galette des Rois after lunch. This warm pastry made with almond paste was absolutely delicious. The tradition is to put a tiny gift in the cake (called a fève), and whoever finds the item (in this case, a little angel) in their piece is king or queen for the year. Lucky Tara found the angel this year!

After our fun lunch, a Roma leader came to speak to us about the efforts of her organization La Voix des Rroms, which works to empower Roma people in France. She was a charismatic woman, and we could tell just by conversing with her how effective she is at empowering people to action; she encouraged us to ask questions, give our opinions on various issues and potential situations, and, most importantly, gave us valuable advice on how to develop our own voices.

Then, it was movie time! We watched L’Esquive, which was a truly touching movie about the lives of youth in the banlieue (suburbs). For dinner we had the amazing chance to go to La Mansouria, a delicious restaurant that specializes in Moroccan cuisine. For many of us, it was our first time trying authentic Moroccan food. I can say with absolute certainty that everyone loved the couscous and tagine dishes we ate. And what better way to finish off the night than by watching the glittering Eiffel Tower again?

We will publish more pictures in a separate post to come shortly. À bientôt!image

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