Monday 17-6 we had a day off - our first since the start of the project on 20-05-96. It wasn't planned that way. We were expected in Gouda, but the two schools that had been 'thinking about parti- cipating' had finally decided not to do it. So we all went home and had a long week-end, except for the captain and the first mate :-<.
Tuesday 18-6 we were in Alphen aan de Rijn. That day, Ronald used Mireille's camcorder to film that day from beginning to the end. Chris and Ruth will bring copies of the tape with them when they go back to SA. It was also the day that something incredible happened: a student refused to go along. That is nothing new, but the way he did it certainly was. We spotted him in the 3rd hour of the exercise. He had stolen stickers from someone else and made himself into a blue-eye, although his eyes were brown. He stated that he "could not do anything to stop the brown-eyes from treating the blue-eyes badly, and rather than be part of the oppressors, he wanted to be one of the oppressed. When we told him this was a really foolish choice, because as a blue-eye he could do nothing AT ALL, he said that he hoped and prayed that other brown-eyes would follow his example and also would put on a sticker. Amazing. When we gave him the big choiche (either you behave and do as we tell you to, or we send you back to school with your teacher, and she will put you in a room for a day to do some nice tasks, and she will inform your parents of your bad attitude) he just said : "NO! I am not going to do it.I am not going to cooperate. Do what you like, I'd rather be punished myself than treat other people like shit. I know exactly what you are trying to do, and I understand why. But I don't need it, I don't want it, and I'm not going to discriminate other people just because you say it is right!" So we took him aside and gave him a small private debriefing. Asked him if he understood that the choiche he had just made was 'in real life' a much more difficult one, that the consequences of a choiche like that in real life could be very, very severe. He said he understood that. We told him about how the people of Denmark had done the same as he did (when the Germans occupied Denmark they tried to deport all jews to the camps and forced them to wear a yellow star of David, after this was ordered by the German Authorities all people in Denmark wore a yellow star of David the next day). He was one (1) in over 3000 students. One who understood from the start and immediatly made his choiche.
We were in Leiden on 19-6. Another routine day, exept for the fact that this was the last day that we did the brown eyes blue eys exercise. We had a comparatively small group of students, 88 in all. It was a model day, all went well. News came through the mailing list that everyone agreed on a final chat-session on Channel #za on fridaymorning 10.00 AM
Thursday 20-6 we were in Haarlem. Almost no-one there. We had a press photo- graper who made a few snaps for the biggest Dutch newspaper. We started cleaning for the end-of-tour party already.
Friday 21-6. IJmuiden. We were late aboard the ship (as we are in the vicinity of Amsterdam now, most of us are sleeping there) and we had to rush to get the computers online...and of course Murphy's law was there again...connection problems. The cellular phones at first did not pick up a signal at all from the Dutch Telecom transmitters....Aaaahhhhh!!! Chris and Ronald started fiddling and mumbling and saying things like..."NO try this, now do that...well...&&^%%$$!!! Do it again, gogogo!!!, Puleeaaaseee!!!" and grumbling to the others who were joined before the screens and were making jokes about computers...And in the end we were online at...10.30. Luckily, not everybody on #za had given up, most of them were still there waiting, and we finally had the chance to do kind of a serious chat-session (with a few interruptions caused by the phones). Well...all during this project, we were plagued by bad connections, Murphy's law (if anything can go wrong, it will :-) ) but some of it was usefull and fun, and it made us (the people over there in SA and the people on the Zeester) come closer together...that was a nice feeling, that somewhere far away in South Africa you all supported us and cheered us on all the time. That really helped, especially during the moments when we were not so sure of ourselves or we just had a bad day. So...our thanks to everyone who participated in the chat-sessions; Joker, Splatch, TKC, Alien, Shaddow, Yorke, Di, Aquila, Trubble, Oaf, RDP :-) and of course all others!
We also would like to thank all the people at mtc and pretnet for their support and friendship, for all the work they did and for their trust, all the people from places all over the world who made the mailing-list work (hope it will continue for a while, we certainly will) and of course all the people over here in Holland who supported us.
It was not what we wanted it to be, it was not as diverse as we wanted it to be, we expected that we could make people, especially students and teachers from a lot of countries, join in. We sure tried. It left some- thing to be desired, especially during the few not-so-succesfull chat- sessions. But anyway, like Yorke already said before the project: it is not quantity, it is quality what we need. And we certainly got that from people on the mailing list and on #za. And also friendship. Thanks all!
Special thanks go to Dianne Faktor for helping us, guiding us through the IRC jungle, for being there with advise and expertise whenever whe needed it and for being Dianne Faktor :-).
Saturday 22-6 End of Project. The Zeester arrived in Amsterdam at 02.00 AM. It crossed the railway bridge that gives ships access to the inner waterways (the famous canals) and we were home. In the morning we cleaned the ship and started to prepare for the festivities. At 12.00 dignitaries arrived, a jury chose, out of all flags which were painted during the tour, the best one was made by: CSW afdeling VBO in Middelburg! Congratu- lations! The flag will be printed on the special boomerang Free cards and distributed through Holland. It also will be the new School Without Racism Flag.
Everybody was much impressed by all the 'brown eyes blue eyes evaluation forms we had copied, blown up to A3 size and pasted on a special long table together with pictures from the tour. For lovers of facts and percentages: of the 3000 students who went through the brown eyes blue eyes exercise, 70 % wrote that they have a better understanding of what racism is and that they felt how it was to be discriminated, that they did not like it at all and that they would (try) never to do that again to other people.
The Kuni Kids did their final concert - we all danced and enjoyed despite the rain. We will miss them. But as there are plans already in the making for a tour in South Africa in which the Kuni Kids would love to partici- pate, we will see them again.
In the evening, we did our private thing. We had a big meal together, everyone who has been a crew member or in any way connected with the project was there. It was very nice indeed. Mellouki made us 'couscous', a traditional meal from Algeria. We did speeches, we had a lot of fun telling each other over and over again about crazy situations, difficult moments, beautifull moments....
Now comes the hard part...dismantling all the things on the Zeester, cleaning up, saying goodbyes...getting Chris and Ruth on the plane on wednesday....
Chris and Ruth participated beautifully in the project both in the Internet-part of it as in the team itself. They have done South Africa real proud. Thanks for sending them. We return them with our love and we hope that we will see them, and you, in 1998 (or earlier) in South Africa.
Ah, there's an end to all things..here comes the blues now :-(
Greetings from the Zeester crew:
Juergen, Suzette, Harmen, Joke, Julius, Mellouki, Chris, Marije, Dewi(our youngest crew member, 7 months old), Denic, Seyda, Mireille, Kitty, Ruth, Jan Thomas (sound), Marga, Antwan, Gijs (the captain) Riekie (first mate) Radjinder, The Kuni Kids (Koen, William, Juerd, George, Mensah, Hermien), Hanneke & Geert (off-boat transportation), Marcel, Ronald, Achim, Ute.