Home again home again, jiggity jig. Well, not my home, but a home. We are back in Johannesburg, having finished our first expedition. This past week was very eventful, playful, exhausting and rewarding.
Most days, I couldn’t wait to perform for the kids. I’d wake up so excited to do the show that I would be ready an hour early and have to sit around in my striped socks and goofy glasses saying, “is it time yet?”. What a clown nerd. Oh, and I finally got my clown a dress. Jamie says it makes my clown look more gentle. Which is good because my clown is kinda punchy. Also we’ve managed to work my bad magic in! Now it’s not embarrassing, it’s funny.
Feeling Good #1: On September 5th, our second performance was our first indoor show. We performed in a school’s hall for 400 children. Jamie was right; sometimes the laughter is so loud it hurts your ears…. And he also discovered that if you pop a balloon beside your ear in a small hall, you lose your hearing for five minutes…
Afternoons last week were devoted to teaching 36 OVC (orphans and vulnerable children who have lost either one or both parents to HIV/AIDS) in association with the Rob Smetherham Bereavement Service for Children. We taught in an empty classroom in a school. Other students would push their way through the broken windows to get a glimpse of the class. We had wonderful translators to help us teach the “life dreams” workshop. Our main translator was Njabulo, who I discovered is also a great guy to have at a party. Liz, Jamie and I taught the children warm ups, theatre games, visualizations and improv. They worked in groups to present final pieces that they created regarding their life dreams.
Feeling Good #2: Making sandwiches with Liz every night for the OVCs the next day. Never have I laughed so much while making polony and Rama sandwiches.
On September 7th, we performed for over 3000 children. We had 2 shows for huge schools. The second show was in a huge hall. The show went on for an extra 30 minutes just because it was going so well; playing with the audience and each other. I must admit, I was a little sad at the end because it was our last show together for this expedition. But it was a great show to end on.Most of the villages don’t have electricity. These kids don’t have T.Vs, computers or go to see movies… so we’re kinda the entertainment. I’m glad we make them so happy.
Feeling Good #3: On Sept 6, we performed to a school of 900 kids. After the show the kids ran up and hugged us and hugged us and hugged us. It’s selfish… but making someone else happy sure makes you feel good! The next day was our last time teaching the OVCs here. They were such an outgoing group, always willing to jump in and take risks. I have no doubt that if they wanted to, these kids could do anything. We finished with a reflection, passing out “thought on a threads” ( www.thoughtonathread.co.uk) and handing out clown noses.
The next night we had a Braii (BBQ) at the Patch with the lovely folks from the RSBSC. Jamie cooked some chicken and boerwors (and by cooked I mean burnt and by boerwors I mean meatworm)….It was actually very very delicious! And we enjoyed some dancing and laughter. The RSBSC staff are fantastic people and it makes me happy to know that the kids have these great souls to help them through the hard times. Lucky Stars singing during their “Life Dreams” performance.