Today we had our first shows in the schools of San Cristobal. We piled into the mini bubbly station wagon with all our gear neatly packed into the trunk. Our lovely escorts from Save the Children, drove us down the tiny streets with no stop lights or apparent rules of the road to our destination. The schools like many of the houses are behind locked gates. The children appeared to be mostly elementary age and were expecting the clowns. Their excitement and laughter led the way as we made it through our brand new 45 min of skill, wit, status play, and clown logic.
For our 5:00 show we performed at a school where many of the children had worked all day and then came to the school n the evening. We’ve seen many children, pre-teens and teenagers working on the streets, in the collectivo, the bus system that uses vans, and in the restaurants. Every night at dinner children as young as 4 wander through the restaurants selling candy, handmade bracelets and little wooden animals.
Today we made our first trip to the outskirts of the city. Our car ride took us up a street lined with car washes and repairs, fruit stands, construction zones, and other commercial joints. Everything thing spread out a little more like suburbs often do. But, behind the shops you could see little shacks with metal roofs and no separation stretching up the hill. The architecture like the rules of the road is beyond law and codes. Rudi explained to us that this area was full of displaced Zappitistas and other indigenous communities. In some places they occupy the land when the rich owners do not use or secure it.
As we entered the school the ground was dirt, gravel and rocks littered with trash. We were led into a small shack with paper thin walls to dress and get ready. The children at this school were more wild then any so far. At the end of our show which is really starting to gel, the children followed us as we exited back to our dressing room. They surrounded us, reaching, hugging, touching, trying to get as close to the clowns as possible and hopefully get them to stay a little longer.