We are in the last week of the 2010 football world cup taking place in South Africa. The month of July has arrived at last. In a few weeks’ time “Paris plage” will attract tourists and Parisians alike. And as it has been the case for 37 years, I will once again turn one year older. The month of July is much appreciated by the younger generation. It is the first month of the long holiday in the academic calendar. That is the period when students have just left school and university and are still around. The habit wants it that before travelling for the holidays they take the time to meet and chill out in the streets of Paris. Lots of parties are then thrown during this period. In the districts of the north east of the capital, July is also the month when some associations display the different projects they have been working on since the beginning of the year.
In the nineteenth I am particularly interested in two figures often seen as examples in the district. The first one is Christophe Adji Ahoudian, a thirty years old political actor who decided two years ago to organise each year in July a festival aimed at promoting the young talents of the district. His aim is to go against the prejudices affecting the reputation of the nineteenth. “Yes, in the nineteenth district of Paris not everything is negative”. The district is composed of young talented people Christophe Adji Ahoudian wants to put all spotlights on. This year the Festival is taking place from the 5th of July till the 9th of the same month. The different events are also sponsored by people from the district who have become kind of success stories or celebrities in France. Among them are the basketball player Moustapha Sonko, footballer Mohammed Lamine Sissoko and others…. . There is no doubt that in the nineteenth district of Paris the “festival talent” is about to become an institution that nobody would like to miss for any reason. The success of the previous edition is particularly due to Christophe Adji ahoudian’s good knowledge of the district and its different communities. Indeed, before being elected deputy mayor of the XIXth district of Paris, Adji Ahoudian was a social worker helping and accompanying the youth of the district in their education.
The second figure of the nineteenth district I find interesting to focus on is Sadia Diawara and his travelling crew. While those taking part in the festival are busy organising everything for the opening day of the festival; a young entrepreneur and director also in his thirties is with some others heading south. Their project, known as “the Road Tree’P”, consists in travelling south by car and planting trees on their way to Mali. Sadia Diawara, the organiser of “the Road Tree’P”, is not actually from the nineteenth; but working there, he is considered as a resident of the district also known under the name of “twenty minus one”. His reputation in the district is without contest. With a crew of 29 people he has decided for the third time to cross the African continent in order to reach Mali by car. He calls his initiative which is also about to become an institution in the district “an act of solidarity with countries affected by desertification”. In exchange for school materials and equipment the thirty people crew will acquire knowledge and experience in a new environment. Through his initiative Sadia Diawara is building an important bridge between Africa and France which only can but enhance the reputation of the nineteenth district of Paris and its residents.
In the nineteenth district of Paris, the month of July being the month when all the work of the different associations and organisations is evaluated, let’s just hope that the success of these two initiatives this year will inspire some more other youngsters.