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Photo of clowns from the back, facing the crowd of children

Guatemala 2018: Volcano Emergency Tour

“The show is magical and emotionally charged. I see children smiling, and through the crowd I can see adult faces flooded with tears. The energy is so vibrant and the crowd is super receptive. Once again, the show is alive and there’s a lot of improvisation.”

-Noemi Lira, performing artist, Clowns Without Borders – Canada

Tour Overview

On Sunday, June 3rd 2018, Volcán de Fuego (or, Chi’gag in Mayan) erupted in Guatemala. Information about the total number of people impacted remains unconfirmed. It’s estimated that 1.7 million people were impacted, and 12,000 people were evacuated, in the wake of the eruption. As of June 26th, 2018, 112 people were confirmed dead. Many people remain missing, and very few bodies have been identified.

On Tuesday, June 5th, CWB – USA received an invitation for an emergency tour. The team performed at a number of shelters and hospitals, and led four workshops for first-responders and civilians who participated in the emergency response.

Tour Context

On August 16, 2018, CWB – USA returned to Guatemala for the first time since 2010. The previous tour focused on HIV/AIDS education, and visited remote, rural communities.

In addition to the impact of the volcano, many Guatemalans are displaced by economic and political forces. On June 25th, 2018 Guatemalan officials requested that the United States grant asylum-seekers Temporary Protective Status. This would (temporarily) prevent them from being deported from the U.S. Currently, this measure is not in place. In many instances, families that cross the border together, fleeing natural or human-made disaster, are separated by deportation.

The Team

“The show is the journey of one tall clown and three short clowns. They play music and sing songs, they dance and chase each other, they blow up balloons, juggle clubs, and make the audience scream ‘Whoa! at the height of the diavolo.”

Sayda Trujillo, CWB – USA board member and performing artist

This tour was in partnership with CSF – Canada. Noemi Lira, and her accordion Johnny, joined CWB – USA from Canada for her first tour. Lucho Guzman (Colombia) and Sayda Trujillo (Canada, USA, Guatemala) have both worked with CWB for years, but met for the first time on this tour. CWB – USA partnered with local clown Stef Gue, who added height and a phenomenal booger act! The fifth member of the team was Ricardo Bamacá (Guatemala), who organized the tour and kept the clowns on time.

CWB – USA follows United Nations naming conventions for all countries, nations, and territories, along with the Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To read more about our Code of Ethics, click here

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