The Prototyping Phase
July 29, 2016
The morning of the 27th marked the grand reveal of the final week : the challenges or prototypes that the group would have to create by July 30th. Edgard and Fábio presented three missions, guiding principles, and working laws. The principles were simple : the results had to be free, fast, fun. However, he quickly added that because every group "gets the challenge they deserve", the results of the Amazon Summer School prototypes would also have to be fantastic. Being good or great was not enough - they would have to be fantastic. He advised each of the participants that in order to complete the missions, each one would have to allow their X-factor, or individual superpowers, to be unleashed to connect to their higher self and create unimaginable things.
The first step after receiving the challenges was to take half an hour by themselves and wander around, letting their legs take them where they wanted. When back, after some big group decision processes, they divided themselves in three groups to tackle the challenges - based not only on capacity each one had, but also areas they wanted to develop.
During the next three days, through hard work and incredible effort, there were many moments of despair and irritation as well as synchronicity and magic. The community spontaneously joined the group as they worked to make things happen. The process was completely in the hands of the participants - the days were freely organized with check-in points in the morning, afternoon and evening, as well as the option to call on the “experts” or group facilitators for help or support for one hour a day when needed.
In the check-in moments, the group engaged in beautiful circular dances, filling the group with joy and collective coordinated movement. Every night there was a circle for sharing celebrations and mourning, dearly known as "moments of the heart", a space for sharing what was alive within each one as they moved through the last days.
In the end, participants completed all of the missions to some degree. For a full summary of the exciting mission assignments, process, and results that were presented on the final day to the FAS team and community, see below:
Mission X : Tourism
The community of Tumbira and the other communities within the Rio Negro reserve have been developing local tourism as a new source of income generation over the last several years. It has been clearly stated by the community and FAS that it is important this shift or transformation happens in a sustainable way that is led by the community themselves and is in line with their values and aspirations.
The purpose of Mission X was to promote community based eco-tourism in Tumbira. The concept is based on reinforcing the community’s talents, skills and traditional knowledge while aiming, as a final objective, to increase the income of all families who want to be involved, not just one or two.
In contrast to illegal logging, the previous common economic activity of the region, sustainable tourism is an activity that could bring income to the region while valuing forest conservation and traditional culture.
The specific requirements of the mission were : a facebook page, tourist packages on trip advisor, and activities that generated income for at least 50% of the community are listed in the photo.
This group included participants Laura, Arthur, Tulio, Camila and Harsh. They began by mapping the skills, talents and activities of each household or family in the community, especially the ones related with eco-tourism. They also created a study or review of all the activities offered, their prices, and the current strategy for transporting tourists to and from Tumbira.
When all the information was mapped, the group started to generate content for the Facebook fanpage, drafted posts, created an activation strategy and designed the tourist packages for the trip advisor page.
Since Tumbira does not have reliable internet access, part of the group had to travel to Manaus. They spent the whole night creating the page and spreading the world, using the pages and networks of all of the Amazon Summer School participants. Although they had pizza in Manaus, they were happy to return the next morning.
FACEBOOK FANPAGE: Tumbira, um mergulho na Amazonia (a dive in the amazon) was created and launched, with pre-programed posts telling the stories of Tumbira's richness to attract attention. So far it has reached more than 4k likes! The page is being managed by a community representative named Lais and by Camila from Amazon Summer School to keep calling people to visit and experience the magic of Tumbira.
AFFECTION MAP: By understanding the profile of the tourists the community wants to attract, instead of offering pre-packaged options the group made the strategic decision to work on a comprehensive community and activity map( link to: map of all activities ). Each of the houses in the community who want to guide tourist activities are mapped out geographically with icons to indicate what they want to offer. In this way, tourists can discover the place and the people through meeting families, hearing stories, and experiencing tourist attractions.
Mission XX : The Farewell Ritual
During the course the group understood and lived how important relationships are in order to create the trust needed for community development projects and initiatives. These relationships developed naturally by spending time together during events and in people’s homes.
The purpose of this mission was to organize a farewell ritual to close the Amazon Summer School 2016. The event needed to: include the four elements; engage at least 50% of the community; touch people's hearts and reflect the experiences lived during the three weeks together.
The group formed by Rozita, Don, Bia, Pedro and Robyn. They designed a flow for the event, the content and an engagement strategy. The handmade invitations were distributed to every house. The night of the ritual, the participants personally visited everyone, walking through the community and playing music. The children of the school were involved, preparing a dance for the evening.
A memorable, emotional, and fun event to celebrate friendship and learning was held on the evening of July 29th. The community building was full of people, with representatives from each family, including about 90% of Tumbira.
The community started by presenting their gifts to the Amazon Summer School: Odenilze made a videos that showed images and information about the region. Inês, the school director, made a very beautiful speech about friendship and longing. Giselle wrote and sang a rap talking about exchange of learning, using all of the participant and facilitator names as chorus.
The program created by the summer school participants was organized into four parts, one for each element. The event began with the earth. Each summer school participant showed two pictures: one from their hometown and one from Tumbira. Each participant and facilitator explained what they loved about home and about their new home of Tumbira in portuguese! The next phase was air, represented by a dance presentation Joao had guided with the children, all beautifully covered in glitter! The water session was a ceremony dedicated to Bryans. The group watered a mango tree to be planted in his honor, and told everyone the story behind it. The final part, fire, was a circle around a huge outdoor camp fire. Everyone joined in to sing a farewell song, followed by a dance. In the end, everyone tried food participants had brought from all over the world. Together, a panel with painted handprints was created to represent friendship, the vision model was presented, and everyone danced together late into the evening.
Mission XXX - Tumbira's vision Quest
The final mission was an exercise in future visioning, asking : How will Tumbira look like in 20 years?
The team formed by Noor, Caio, Paul and Gabriela agreed that they needed to build the vision together with the community, capturing their view and reflecting back to them what they had learned. The first step was to map all the knowledge they had from the place, information, resources, people. It was the more rational side of the research. To add the emotional part, the team visited each house and asked about their current life there, Tumbira's history and then how they imagine the future. They asked people to draw what they loved most about their community, and used this to inform the vision as well as to create a beautiful art piece.
Two main products were created as a result of this process:
TUMBIRA +20 text: This statement, written in English and also translated into Portuguese, captures the content of the conversations with community members of all ages. It is written in present tense, as if we were already in 2036 and expresses how the community wants to develop in the next decades. It also brings a bit of the participants’ view on sustainability and the experience they lived there. It was read to all of the community members during the last ceremony.
(...) "The population has grown, but not so much as to put stress on our precious land and resources. Growth has been gradual and well-managed. No one has been forced to move or has complained about too rapid growth. Everyone still knows everyone’s names. Almost all the families who lived here in 2016 are still here in 2036." (...)
The prototype: A model of Tumbira 2016 was created informed by the mapping of the whole community and incorporating the development in the next 20 years. New buildings were included so the community members could see future possibilities and move the pieces of the model to create alternative futures based on their own view. From asking about universities to placing soccer fields closer to their homes, people of all ages explored the possible future of Tumbira’s development.
Overall results and learning :
Learned how to recognize and find local resources
Heard stories from Tumbira’s residents
Explored the desires and dreams of the community members of Tumbira
Created a methodology for the different challenges
Developed activities together with the community for the farewell party
Strengthened relationships with the community members of Tumbira
Strengthened relationships between participants
Experienced moments of personal frustration and success