There is a feeling I get when I spend time with children that tells me I’m doing something right. This is my fourth trip to Cairo, Egypt as a clown, and still each day spent here is moving. Elisa, Les, Maggie and I spent the first few days of our expedition getting reacquainted with this massive city by the Nile, making performance dates with the many schools and NGO’s that serve disadvantaged children here, and generating the thirty-minute clown show we call “High Five!” The very first place we went was the orphanage for Egyptian girls, Fowler’s. I feel so grateful and relieved to see the girl’s shining faces every time we arrive at the orphanage.
The journeys we make through Cairo everyday in order to perform are arduous and long. Each trip may take one to two hours and may require that we walk or taxi miles with costumes and musical instruments to the metro or bus before riding vast distances under the watchful gaze of millions of Egyptian commuters. When we emerge we do so only to walk again, this time on dirt roads through the poorest neighborhoods, down alleyways, through the outskirts of town, around burning trash and huge puddles from open pipes, so that when we come to the door of a school for the disadvantaged and refugee children of Cairo, our hearts are almost bursting with joy to see the delight in the eyes of those who welcome us inside.
It’s the end of our first week here and we’ve already seen over 1,000 children. We visited Found African Children’s Learning Center for the first time, and the kids applauded wildly for Les and Elisa when they performed their high-flying acrobatic routine. We also made it back to the African Hope Learning Center so the kids there could laugh and delight in our crazy clown antics. One part that all the kids love is when Elisa and I are trying to find Les and he sneaks up behind us and surprises us. Elisa and I jump and scream so that all the kids laugh hysterically. Later, Les makes everyone’s jaws drop in amazement when he walks on his hands and does a HUGE flip onto his feet. His moves are so tight that the kids stand up in their excitement. We wish you could see it too.