Day 5: 3 shows today. 5:30 am rise. Our first hospital this morning. A bit emotionally overwhelming at first, felt myself starting to lose it, but swallowed it down to do what we came to do. Small pediatric tent. A tiny, tiny newborn wails in a makeshift crib. A little girl with a head wound, a boy and a girl hooked to tubes, more injuries. The little newborn stops crying at the sound of Joe’s guitar playing. I try in vain to blow some bubbles, but today they’re just not working, so I put them away and play the harmonica a little. Smiles and silly faces go a long way here. A very different environment from the shows we’re doing in tent cities and schools. It’s a lot of sensing where these kids and their families are at, taking it very gentle and slow.
After the hospital we head to a preschool. Another place where a little more sensitivity is required because these kids are so young. We take off our noses which seems to ease some of the initial shock at these white people in wacky outfits marching into their environment, and soon they are laughing and screaming, singing and dancing with us. Almost as awesome as doing the show for the kids is the time we get to spend with them afterwards. The kids are thrilled by Sarah’s stilts “jambes du bois” as they call them here, seeing Joe fall in any capacity is always cause for roars of laughter, and the little girls get a kick out of my tutu. Lots of hugs, high 5’s, making outrageous animal sounds, and when we’re lucky, the kids will do a song and dance for us.
We head to our final show of the day, a tent camp. This is a more intense place. The needs are far greater here. We pass through soldiers guarding the entrance, lines of people waiting for water, and spray painted messages on the walls, “we need help. US, Canada, please help us.” There doesn’t seem to be any organization here as far as where we’re going to be performing. It’s a little unnerving to say the least, but we get of the car and people begin to gather, probably as uncertain as we are. We are able communicate with the onlookers enough so that they form a large circle around us, creating a 360 degree stage. And we begin the show. Seeing solemn, pained faces transform into laughs and screams of enjoyment – I will never forget it.