Lesotho, clowning without borders

Trip Start Jan 19, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Clowns without borders organises a year-long programme in Lesotho, with a number of various workshops. The concept is 3-fold

  • train a few members of the community on how to interact with children, so they can facilitate the future workshops and organise activities by themselves in the future.

  • teach breathing, relaxation, stress-relief techniques to the members of the community who are taking care of orphans (chief of the village, grand-parents, uncles and aunts, neighbours...). Also teach them how to pay full attention to the children, despite all their own problems. The number of orphans is still increasing as AIDS progresses, the middle generations are decimated and a lot of old people are suddenly forced to take care of little children.

  • Play and sing with the orphans, preparing a mini-show using a tale about being different (children of wax are different and cannot play like normal children during the day, one of them wants to escape and play like a normal kid...) and using some of the circus skills like juggling, acrobatics...

The feedback from the guardians is amazing. Some that could not sleep well started to feel a real change. They have fun with the children and it seems easy to understand and take care of them.

Sibongile was telling me that during one of the previous workshops an orphan who was not even talking to his guardians and was eating outside the house, on the floor as he refused to sit at the table, started to behave almost normally after he and his guardians attended the workshop...

It was great fun to play with the kids, see the various techniques, and above all to see the grannies play and dance like 6-years old kids !

Making 80 peanut butter sandwiches every day was not the funniest part though... (Thanks Kim!)

Over the week-end we also did activities with other kids from an orphanage in the South of the country. Juggling, playing, taking pictures... I am becoming a professional clown :)

In parallel, we also spent a few surreal evenings in the local taverns, dancing on the Basotho house music and moves, quite unique ! Tom, I would have liked to see you around :)
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