FRANCE, Day 3, Part 2: Monday, 2104-01-06

By Yasmeen
Right after our workshops with Tara and Ladji, we headed off to the metro to our next destination: StreetPress. This time on the metro, we upgraded our tickets to a plastic card where we just had to scan on the go and proceed through the gates (très chic). We arrived at StreetPress in the 19th district to be greeted by three hipster-like journalists in their modern office. StreetPress is a small organization that scouts people without a Journalism background or anyone passionate about writing that has a specific topic or news story that they would like to share. Because the news is no longer objective and has a targeted agenda, StreetPress offers news that is written by the people in which the community finds it’s voice and therefore democratizes the news.

After putting on our journalist hats, we brainstormed three topics that we would focus on for the rest of the evening: American geography, Translating French words to English, and whether President Hollande should include more women in the Panthéon. For now, Marie Curie is the only woman buried in the Panthéon. We split into three groups and had to brainstorm three questions for each topic under one minute (experiencing the day in the life of a journalist). Each group of three went off to the streets of Paris with a video recorder in hand and a microphone, very apprehensive of our French speaking skills of course. Facing our fears, we head off to the busy streets with the help of one journalist per group.

Although we were rejected by many people (which boosted our self-esteem), some kind citizens agreed to let us take 10 seconds out of their day for us to embarrass them. Some answered the question “what is the capital of the USA?” with Texas and New York (interesting?). Others translated “je voudrais un pamplemousse” to “I would like a pamplemousse” (not quite- it’s a grapefruit). Others guessed correctly that Rodin’s sculpture “Le Penseur” was in fact “The Thinker.”

Our workshop with StreetPress was truly an amazing experience. Not only did we get a taste of what it’s like to be a journalist and gather information, we got the opportunity to engage in conversation with random people walking the streets of Paris. Each group edited their clips into a segment and we wrapped up the evening at StreetPress. Merci!

The final event of the night was dinner at Mansouria, a Morrocon restaurant. Mansouria was a an enjoyable cultural experience where our appetizers were olives and traditional bread. The main course varied from tangins to platters of couscous (delicious). This meal by far was the best Morrocon food we’ve ever tried (also the first time we’ve eaten Morrocon cuisine). At the end of the night, we had the amazing opportunity to meet with the owner of the restaurant, Fatéma Hal. After reading about her journey in Nadia Safsaf’s profiles, we got to meet her and ask her questions about her work and life. Christina courageously raised her hand and said the words we were dying to hear “en anglais, s’il vous plait?” and we were all relieved. Yasmeen also had a brief conversation with Fatéma in Arabic (this is becoming a trend). Fatéma discussed cultural differences and life of Morroco and France. She also shared extremely wise words leaving us determined and encouraged to take on the world. She left us thinking about how anything is possible in life as long as we work for it. Fatéma is the paragon of “women leading” and her story exemplifies that everyone can make it, and nothing is impossible.

It was a great day and we all slept with Fatéma’s wise words lingering in our heads.

Bon nuit.

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