18 may DAY 1
Today is Dave’s birthday, we jumped on the bed in Miami to wake him up before flying to Haïti all. Even with few hours of sleep, everybody in the team is enthusiastic about the project and about meeting each other. It was a good thing that we landed together in Port-au-Prince as it is not so easy to find the ‘Terre des hommes’ driver at first. Dave made us notice the great improvement of the airport compared to last year. The road to Grand Goave is our first adventure. Soon after our departure a motorbike driver chased a thief running barefoot in Port-au-Prince. Many houses are still destroyed on the way, thrashes gathers in the river and pretty much all over, broken or accidented cars are left on the side of the road or most often at the exact place where they stopped working. There is load of tent site filled with people and we learned that many of them don’t even want to live in a house anymore as they are still scared of earthquake. On the way, one bridge has a huge dirt pile at the entrance to avoid cars or at least too many cars to pass at the same time on the bridge cause it is not strong enough to support it. The driver tell us that they often cross by the river with the car. While waiting, five people on one motorbike passed us…The organisation of ‘Terre des hommes’ in Grand Goave is really friendly and well organised. We are sleeping in a wood bungalow with each one a little room. They introduce us to the place and the project and warn us about hygene procedure due to an increase of cholera case. Our main goal for this project is gonna be to train future circus trainer in order that they can form other circus instructors to teach after. We will also perform a show with them in the coming weekend.
This morning there are meetings with members of TDH, then a visit of the site where we are going to teach. In the afternoon, we start the teaching with the people TDH selected. Today five students, and more are coming tomorrow from Les Cayes. Our training space is located in ‘Petit Paradis’ (Little Paradise). The space is great and covered, located in a field where many kids come and play soccer. At the back of it , there is a tent site loaded with people. We start the afternoon with a game to put everybody in the atmosphere and then, some clowning and juggling . Our CWB team is really skilled!! Many curious kids and adult peek through the window, some even stay there for the length of the class.
20 MAY-Day 4
Heading early to ‘Petit Paradis’. This morning, clowns class with Iman that I am translating in French. The trainees learn fast, are motivated and open which lead to beautiful results. Some of them even understand a few words in English. We do a rhythmic game which works really well, they quickly start to improvise vocally on it. Then, we walk back to TDH to exceptionaly teach there, by the beach side in the afternoon, as there is something else happening to ‘Petit Paradis’. Learning some Creole words on the way, greeting people and talking with goats… aren’t goats amazing!!
I led a partner acrobatics class. We start by a warm up together and I asked everybody for an exemple of warm up exercices and the result is not what I was expecting. They mostly come up with little dance move or mouvement sequence probably related to Haïti dance style. After that, juggling class with Dave. This afternoon, focus is a bit harder by the beach side but we still did good work. Heading to TDH house for dinner avoiding the tarentula on the way. Gather with the amazing TDH team in evening is always a perfect way to end the day and good opportunity to catch up with the project and the schedule update. Mostly with flying gecko around.. Tonight we also visit IOM a neigbourhood NGO where we will be invited to perform a show in Friday to one of there tent site!
21 MAY-Day 5
Today is Saturday and day off of teaching. We still get up early to work with the local carpenter in order to create a pair of stilts with local product. It is a bit tricky and everything takes time. It is Saturday so as many people are on holiday at TDH, access to the storage and resources are more complicated than during weekdays. We work the whole day and really well, we end up building a pair of stilts, rola bolas and a set of juggling clubs. We are invited to perform in a music festival tonight in ‘Petit Goave’. Even if tired, we are all pretty excited, we just have a few time to pull it out. When we get there, the place is inappropriate for us to perform and we end up cancelling the majority of the show. I’ll just do a little fire manipulation number with someone from ‘Oxfam’ organisation which is really well received.
22May- Day 6
We are meeting at 8h15 with our students to head to ‘Petit Paradis’ . We have started collecting the cell phone of our students before class in order to keep focus. As there is new people in the group, our students already start to teach each other during the classes. Today people learn clown, juggling, rola bola and stilts. The reaction of locals that see the trainer stilt walking is beautiful mostly when they see a girl standing on them, as we a one female trainer from ‘Les Cayes’ in our group. People stare, follow, smile, ask if they can try or they clap hand on walking rhythm. During the day, I get into a discussion with Sophie from TDH and we get sorted out a new way to restructure the schedule so that the trainer gets more formation which makes everybody even more happy.
23 MAY- day 7
Today, training with the whole team again. Starting every morning with clowning. We start going deeper in the teaching and it gets really interesting . Then acro which felt unfocused but ended up leading to the final number that we are gonna use this week-end in the show with the student. A little number involving clown, juggling and acro. During lunch time, one of our student take us apart to share is inspiration of building a circus conservatory for street kids in his area.
An other great day of teaching. In the afternoon, we splited the group in two to work on specific sketch while other practice juggling and rola bola. After the day we work on the certificate for the students and flyers for the coming shows.
25 May- DAY 9
Today is time to prepare juggling equipement with the team. To start we have about 150 juggling balls to prepare…all pink color! Iman and Dave leads this activity and I deal with logistic and carpenter as it easier in French. Getting the team to stay focus is harder today but we still will end up with few rola bola, juggling clubs, juggling balls and material to make stilts. Our bungalow gets filled with circus equipment and even better, our trainees knows how to build them!! After the class, we got to visit ‘IOM’ tent site where we are gonna perform Friday. Dave perform a few tricks that brings huge smiles to the kids. We are walking throught the site with many kids holding on each hands.
26 May- DAY 10
This morning we are getting in show preparation mode. We split the training space in two so that we can work one bye one on specific number and that people can keep on practicing on the other side. Sarah gets here today. She brings a beautiful energy in the team. We quickly blend her in the show we are gonna perform at ‘Petit Paradis’ tonight for the community. This show is only the four of us and got some great laughs.
27 May- DAY 11
This morning everybody is late but we end up doing a good run through of the show we are gonna perform with our students tomorrow. We are involving Sophie from TDH inside which brings a lot to the show. She is such a natural clown. In the afternoon we do a pedagogy exercice and we lead a discussion about how to built the activity they are gonna do this afternoon. They are having a first meeting with there kid’s group for the supervised stage they are doing this coming week. The result of the discussion is great, they have a lot to say about what they learn during the training with us. Then we let them go by themselft for their introduction activity as we head to ‘Petit Goave ‘ to perform the show at the tent site. We will do a show of over 1h30m long for about 300 persons. So fun!
28 May- DAY 12
Today is the first day of show with our students, everything is messy. Transport wasn’t well organised and neither communication with the places we are visiting which is disappointing as it was our trainees’ responsibility. We make our first show in an orphanage in ‘Grand Goave’ which went pretty well. Then in the afternoon, we go to an other orphanage. Dave is sick so won’t join us for this one. We have a good talk about the morning and Iman makes a lot of appropriate notes to adjust the show. The other orphanage is gorgeous. All the kids are in their nice outfits on small chairs by the seaside. Pretty poetic! Everybody is pretty happy. It is a gentle atmosphere, all the performers are more confident and playful. The show was really fun. Then back to TDH with the trainees, we give them their CWB certificate.
29 May-DAY 13
Today I’m leaving back to Canada. It is a pretty hard separation as we all got pretty close to each others. As much as in between performers of CWB, with our students and the TDH team. Through this journey we have seen and learned more about the actual situation in Haïti. There was some facts really hard to acknowledge. I’m leaving here believing in the power of Haïti people and that things can change for them, and mostly, through them. I’m also feeling optimistic that the goal of our project will be reached and that our students will help spreading smiles all over in Haïti!