FRANCE, Day 5: Wednesday, 2014-01-08

By Sarah

We began our day by taking the train to Clichy Sous Bois, a suburb outside of Paris. Once we arrived in Clichy Sous Bois two people who work at ACLEFEU, a local youth center, drove us to the organization. When we arrived at ACELEFEU the founder spoke to us about his motivations for starting the organization.

The mothers in the community prepared a delicious meal of bread, chicken, and potatoes with olives. Sarah and Yasmeen then challenged two young boys at the center to a game of foos ball. During the heat of the game a painting almost fell on Christina and Alexa, but luckily Jolena caught it. Then we made beignets and chocolate lava cakes with the mothers.

By Rachel

We began Wednesday afternoon with a tour of Clichy-Sous-Bois. To Alexa’s delight, we passed by a McDonald’s. We also saw a few government subsidized housing buildings. After stopping by a few schools, a police station, and the town hall, we returned to ACLEFEU. While we waited for the boys and girls of Clichy-Sous-Bois to arrive for an evening with us, we played a few rounds of foosball. Yasmeen and Sarah (the pros) began a game with Mr. Lowell and Alexa, while the rest of us gathered around another game. Margarita and Abby scored quite a few goals. Our quick break also included some card games and pool.

An hour later, we relocated into a larger room where the Clichy-Sous-Bois youth joined us for a screening of the movie La Marche. We learned about the determination of those who participated and the struggles they faced in the process. It was a very inspiring and powerful film. We learned that French schools don’t teach this part of their history. Instead, French students learn about parts of American history, such as slavery, the civil rights movement, and Martin Luther King, Jr.

After the film, we joined the youth of Clichy-Sous-Bois for a quick dinner of pizza and drinks. We began by introducing ourselves (in French), while the Clichy-Sous-Bois youth practiced their English, telling us their names, their age, and their academic interests. We learned that the French boys like TV shows, such as House and Breaking Bad, and they asked us why we chose to go to an all-girls’ school. The pizza was different than what we were used to. To Christina and Jolena’s surprise, what they thought was pineapple on the pizza turned out to be potato. Another pizza was topped with slices of pink salmon. At the end of dinner, we said our goodbyes (French style), took some group pictures, and Sarah became Facebook friends with a few of the boys. We had a great evening filled with meeting new people and sharing our cultures before we took the train to our new hotel – the Citadines.

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