It’s Monday, we’ve been on the ground in Haiti for two days. There is no internet at the compound but I hope to send this out tomorrow. Mission is going smoothly so far. After landing at in Port-au-Prince we took a colorful and chaotic ride through the what can only be described as the knarled mess of the city and surrounding area. Traffic, tent cities, cracked roads and bridges, many colorful vehicles and driving techniques. We then made our way to the relative calm of the more rural Grand Goave and the compound of our hosts, Terre des Hommes. They have an enclosed compound where we sleep secure in large tents pitched outside a beach house they have rented. We have therefore a beautiful rehearsal space and ready access to water, food, and a driver.
Yesterday we rehearsed together most of the day. Today we visited the four sites where we will perform our show this weekend. These are protection centers, essentially free day cares for affected areas around Grand Goave. At each site we were soon surrounded by children, many welcome songs spontaneously presented by the gathered youngsters. We played and juggled with the kids briefly before moving to the next site, and assured them that we would return with a spectacle and to bring their families. This was fun.
This afternoon we met with the 25 ‘Animateurs’, young adults who work for Terre des Hommes at the protection centers. We will work with them all week, workshopping physical theater and circus activities that they can then continue with their young charges. This was a fun exchange; after we talked a bit about our hopes for the workshop they shared some of their interests and questions about clowning. Then, seemingly extempore, five of them got up and performed a ‘Coordiné’ dance, which seems to be a cross between line dancing, hip-hop and military drill. At the young people’s coaxing, the clowns then performed their own imitation of coordiné dance, and a few pratfalls, to the amusement of the Haitians. We followed with name games, some basic pyramids, and songs. Much laughing, I think this will be a fun group and we can leave them with some new skills and games.