Jan’s Journal, Wednesday, September 8th, 2010, Grand Goave, Haiti.

First two days of workshops completed.  We are staying in Grand Goave, an area near the epicenter of the January jan-with-mopearthquake.  Although 80% of the buildings in the area were damaged or destroyed by the Goudou-Goudou (the local term, derived from the sound), they were spared the massive casualties of Port-au-Prince because the houses were smaller and offered better means of escape.  The people of Grand Goave are poor by any standard and include many displaced persons from the city.  However they seem to have access to clean water and basic nutrition, perhaps because of the presence of Terre des Hommes and other NGOs.

Starting to develop a routine.  At 8 AM we are picked up by a rented ‘Taptap’, a taxi made from a modified-pickup, which takes us to Papett, the beach-front child-protection center.  We have 3.5 hour workshop with the adult ‘animateurs’, Haitian young people employed by Terre des Hommes to work with children.  At 12:30 boxed lunches for all are brought in by Taptap, including generous heaps of rice and beans.  We enjoy them under the palms and swim a bit.  Then in the afternoon, we work for two hours with 20 children from local centers who will perform with us in the show this coming weekend.

Workshops can be difficult because of the language barrier, a mix of french, english and creole is used, sometimes necessitating several rounds of translation at the onset of each activity.  However we are carried through by the overwhelming enthusiasm of the participants.  In two days we have covered theater games, songs, dances, character walks, partner acro and basic juggling.  The Animateurs, especially, show engagement and ask follow-up questions reflecting the fact that they are expected to continue teaching many of these games and skills to their children, after we leave.  We have also learned several games and dances from the young animateurs, giving the workshop a genuine aspect of exchange.  We’re enjoying our workshop days, a mix of frustrated enterprise with surprising discovery.

At five each day we return to the compound of Terre des Hommes, try to squeeze in some show rehearsal or interviews with the film crew before succumbing to the heat and dirt and heading for the showers.

We only have two more days to assemble the show with the kids, then this weekend, four shows at various local protection centers.  We all look forward to moving from the workshop to the stage this, and sharing our weeks work with the wider community.  –JD

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