Volunteer tutors at Ava Tava
Percussion classes
Painting made from discarded material and purchased by SAC
Cup dance
Rodrigo and Craig - cup dance
cup dance
Children learn the cup dance

Barrio Mitre is built on the city rubbish dump. Some of the trash has been there for fifteen years. It is here that a Jesuit priest named Rodrigo has set up the Ava Tava project.

I had been invited as a guest performer. Rodrigo showed me around his fantastic project which includes the preparation of a barrio newspaper. Saturday morning study tuition classes, run by volunteer middle class teachers, are another aspect of the project. I saw percussion classes and art classes.

Due to poor nutrition, many of these kids are very slow learners. It is common to see little children losing their hair. Slow learners maybe, but kids who are certainly not….. ‘dumb’. These kids can see the importance of education. They believe it may be their deliverance from the poverty cycle.

As I walked around the fenced compound, I was taken up to a room to see a painting that the poor kids of the barrio had completed. From a cupboard was brought a large plastic roll. Painted by the slow learners, children of the barrio, I prepared myself for a theatrical ‘Wow, that’s great!’

But look at this!! I was gob-smacked!! This is a painting of unbelievable beauty and made from discarded material. I wanted it. I had to have it. I have almost secured it. Real beauty amongst the trash.

Thanks to another generous contribution from the SAC administration, I have the cash to buy it. I intend to bid double what they are asking – maybe even more.

Rodrigo is almost out of funds. SAC has to have it and I will pay anything to get it. If I secure the sale, I intend to show this work of art around Adelaide schools. I want other schools to commission artworks from the children of the barrios. Maybe others will follow my lead by paying double for these works of art! I am willing to share my expertise in money management and art investment!

OK, so back to the special guest performance. The kids had been primed. ’The ‘Musical Magician’ is coming!’ All the groups were interrupted and asked to report to a large room for the visiting Kangaroo (Craig is just too difficult for the Spanish palate). I pulled out about 20 plastic cups, something I have done numerous times around the barrios.

But a good project can make a huge difference. In that room, where the children have love all around them and where education is taught with patient care, I taught the entire piece not just the short extract. The kids soaked it up. As for the success of my little workshop, I like to think they enjoyed my act. My ego compels me to believe they loved it!

Ava Tava is making a difference. When you look at these kids working in the Jesuit priest’s project, you can see a sparkle in their eyes.

SAC will probably end up being a large sponsor for their barrio newspaper. I intend to pay double the normal advertising fees of course. Sister Judith – start planning where to put the works of art I intend to commission. I may return with several suitcases full.

Their project is so good, their barrio so poor, violent, abusive……… but children are learning………. some children see hope for the future.

Thanks to the St Aloysius College community. The incredible fundraising you are doing is allowing me to buy art from really, really poor kids. And I intend to pay double, triple or as much as I can to bid the price up.

Gee I’m good with money!

Te mando un beso grande,