Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Remembering Freire, Reinventing Freire

Just spent the afternoon at OISE at the Freire conference and it was quite good. I have a learned skepticism about conferences and thus set the bar rather low for what i expect. But i didn't need to deploy the lowered expectations. It was a lovely event. Not least because of the remarkable diversity of people from the various generations of activists who have encountered and/or worked with Freire and/or his ideas, to young people, folks from afar (across Canada and from beyond Canadian shores), women and men, literacy workers, trade unionists, health workers, artists, poets, students and more. And it was a roomful of stories - more than could be told. So here's one of my wee Freire stories:
It was sometime around 1999 or 2000 and i had just finished being interviewed by George Stoney for a film he was working on about Paulo Freire. Nita Freire was in town and she stopped by George's apartment. It was a briefcase or a shoebox, i can't recall, that Nita put on the table. Out poured dozens of photos of Paulo's life. The table was inches deep in images from across decades. Nita handled them gently as we sorted through them, making choices about what might work best in the film. She showed George and i and photo when she was a girl in school and a so-very-young Paulo was a new teacher. She told us so lovingly of their life together. As i sorted through the treasures i found a few copies of a bookmark shaped profile topped with a photo of a very young Paulo. In the photo he is very thin and his eyes have an intensity that made me wonder if he had some sense of the future that lay before him. And then there were his ears... Nita let me keep one of the bookmarks.

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