If you are reading this in english, you should know an important thing: it is the first time that I write a text in english. My first original English text is a concrete result of the Aura Fellowship in my life.
It is always time to learn, isn’t it?
It is important to remember that at this moment of life and the world.
I’m completing my sixth seven - which means that I’m a 42 year old woman. Since I co-founded an organisation called Énois, a laboratory of journalism 13 years ago, I have been an activist journalist advocating for more diversity, representation and inclusion in media here in Brazil. In this context, I have been defending that English skills shouldn’t be essential to select a person to work in a national newsroom, especially to cover city problems. On the other hand, it's just a way to maintain the exclusion and the same bubble working and directing our media.
According to a research by the British Council with Data Popular, just 5% of the Brazilian population speaks English (and just 1% are fluent). In addition, when you are starting as a professional, you don’t have to do an interview in English because it is a job for editors and more experienced people in the newsroom. So you don’t have to be fluent in English to be a great journalist and cover information and facts about the city or environment, for example. If you need to understand something, you can use a google translator as the majority of our society.
Anyway, I have been believing and saying that English is just a way of sustaining the exclusion and inequality of who makes journalism in Brazil. Because of that, I didn’t study English and wasn’t interested in doing that. It was a conscious resistance and I was right. I had never realized I was right about English until I met the women of this circle: my dear Aurettes - as we call each other.
Meeting Aura circle
I was (as probably you were too) living the coronavirus pandemic, in the year 2020, and believing that the end of the world was very close to us. I was dealing with this sensation of not knowing what is gonna happen tomorrow (now I know that it is just really real life), when suddenly I received a message from a woman that I have known in my activist life: Renata Minerbo. She asked: “Do you receive my email? I believe that you should participate in this selection process”. The first thing that I thought was: I can’t because I don’t speak English. But the application was in English and Portuguese. So, I started to complete it. After a long and interesting selection process, based on the lunar calendar, I received a notice that I was approved which was a surprise because I had never gone after a fellowship - It was just not my thing. I’m not an academic person, I don’t like the traditional way of studying and getting knowledge and I always earn money for my organization, not for improving myself.However, it was real:a scholarship for me and 9 other activist women in the world from Brazil, Lebanon, South Africa and India.
At the first meeting, when I saw those incredible women who don't speak Portuguese start talking about their experience (thanks Dona, Linda, Nomita, Ra, Eve for that revolution in my life <3) I simply understood English in another way. Because of them, I solved this long resistance. I just wanted to understand what those interesting new women from different parts of the world were saying to me. It was amazing.
A picture of our first meeting
Believe me: discovering a new point of view about an old thing inside you is a much more profound transformation than learning something totally new.
So my first mentor in the Aura program was an English teacher, Nour, my dear, a refugee woman from Syria - who helped me to write this article and make me travel to other realities just sharing experience - in English. The second mentor was a clown, but not a simple clown: a woman, permaculture, agriculture, mother AND clown. With her and another circle of women opened around me and I learned to cry. Yes, my clown allows me to cry, be sad, let things out, convey my feelings and accept my failures.
In addition, just to end my words about mentoring, I took a course of autonomy in health with different kinds of witches who know a lot about plants and selfcare. Nowadays I can make my own medicine at home to treat diseases like: headache, stomachake, colic, full chest, tired, insomnia… I love it and I make it for my daughter and friends too.
Turning soul point
Moreover, as I said before, English, clown and autonomy in health have been the more concrete knowledge that I put in my bag on this Aura journey. Uau, it's just enough, isn’t it? But my turning soul point was understand the space between us - as women, as a circle, as society, as humanity, as species living on the earth.
The space between me and… my group, my team, my family, my friends, my mother, my daughter, my girlfriend. The space between light and shadow, love and hate, personal and professional, action and pause, talk and listen, white and black woman.
In her blog post, Dona Geagea, from Lebanon, wrote about the empty space and water. Now, conversing with her here, I want to bring for us the space between.
I still remember one of our first meetings online when Ra Vuyi Qubeka, from South Africa, read a poem talking about light and shadow and making fire. I don’t remember the context, but as a woman who has never turned on a fireplace, I remember the methodology: to make fire you need to organize the wood in a way that you guarantee empty spaces between them. So, the oxygen can circulate and ignite the fire. And you have the magic!
Thus, guaranteeing this space in between is the only way to make fire and transmute this old patriarchal and capitalist world into a better place to live. This space is essential to see the other and rescue the love between us - different people and species living in our common home.
Let’s make fire and sit down in a circle to warm our souls and share ideias from ancestrality and a new world that can be sewn. In these two years here, in Aura Circle, I experienced the magical things that happen when you are in a circle of women with this empty space between us.
I wish every woman activist from all ages, from all places, with all ancestrality, from all communities, and all kinds of culture and languages to have a circle of women to be loved and love, to be safe, to be looked after and care for others at the same time... And make fire together!