June 25th, 2009- Thursday
WHAT AN AMAZING DAY!!!! We started off as usual at Sriya’s house to go over and recreate the game plan for the day. Yesterday had completely put us in a different mindset and I was ready to rethink everything. We threw out our old script and decided to start thinking like the kids. What do they really want to do? What does this ‘play’ really mean for them? How could we work with their frame of mind? There’s SO much energy there that we could channel.. but we can’t force it in any direction..and I think were trying to take too much control over that channel. We realized that we were trying to make them do something that they weren’t necessarily interested in or our expectations were too high. Yes, we saw the potential for change and yes, we want to do everything in our power to make that change..but we needed to rethink our purpose, how much we’d already achieved and where we were planning to go from here. Manjul directed us to rethink all of that yesterday in our oh-so-intense meeting. He mentioned over and over again that I referred to the children as “them” and used the word “people” to refer to them in third person. That showed a major disconnect and possibly the core of the problem. I had lost track of when I started to look at the project from a birds-eye-view/ as only a teacher/ as an organizer and not as a level headed person building confidence within these children by directly relating to them, by being WITH them.. it all seems SO obvious now..
What I’m glad about is that not only did we recheck our attitude, we also implemented the new trade of thought and ended up with an extremely positive result! This time, after creating a general plan and goal, we weren’t as meticulous in planning during the car ride as we usually are. We decided to ‘let things flow’.. follow the energy in the classroom. We entered the classroom, briefed Gayatri teacher with the plan of the day as usual. While the teacher was teaching, I was observing the children from the back and felt a sudden surge of love for them all. I saw the beauty in the uniqueness of each child and it wasn’t ‘annoying’ or ‘frustrating’ anymore..it was something I was excited to work with!
We showed the children 2 videos of street play done by ETF with children of their age. They saw one of the videos twice. Apart from three children who were completely disinterested, the rest enjoyed the videos thoroughly. It was really interesting to see their reactions in specific scenes..
We asked Gayatri teacher to lead us into singing the opening song of the play. After singing it a couple of times, we opened the leadership opportunity to anyone who was interested. One of the boys (who’s usually very good at remembering songs and loves singing) took up the job. We then added in the 1,2..CLAP with the song while they went in a circle. They then rehearsed “hum Bache”..till it became chaotic. Then for some reason they were given a break by Gayatri teacher without a warning. That turned out to be a good thing in disguise because we decided to turn on some music in the room and started dancing. I don’t completely remember or understand the transition to this moment. All I know is that everything was out of control..and this time in a good way. We (including Gayatri teacher) danced for a good twenty minutes, which burned out a lot of their energy for the moment. Taking advantage of that fact, we got them to get into the circle and then picked on one boy and asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. He said police. We asked who else wanted to be a police? Three other boys enthusiastically raised their hands. We asked them to come in the center and act out their impressions of being a policeman. They were stumped and didn’t know what to do. I gave them a few ideas, they accepted them, put them forward to Sriya and Zohar..we decided to shortlist two and combine them to make one scene. They improvised on our advice in a beautiful way.. similarly, we had a teacher, doctor and singer..We then asked one boy to lead them again into “hum bache..” That’s when we started to lose their attention again. So we decided to open up the floor to another game that we played before and the kids loved called “WAH”. We replaced the “WAH” with “SUNO” which would lead into the “hum bache” song.. we played another game and then got them to sit back into a circle. We then asked two boys and a girl to act out a domestic abuse scene. Initially, I wasn’t comfortable having the kid who told us the story about his parents to do the father’s role for various reasons. But he really wanted to.. He wouldn’t sit still! We gave him the shot, and he did a brilliant job !!
They practiced the whole sequence again. I noticed Gayatri teacher sitting with a big smile on her face. That’s when I knew that the children had impacted a large part of the community. The teacher’s smile spoke a thousand words. I could see a whole new level of respect for the children in her eyes and that meant a lot to me.
We ended the day with some meditation and reflection time. It was 5pm, but the children wanted to do some more dancing. We danced for atleast another half an hour and EVERYONE was dancing! I was soooo impressed by some of the moves!
I’m going to take the night to get myself down to earth again, have to be ready to face the chaos if it occurs tomorrow. Have to remember to work with what we have (i.e. creativity and energy) and remain calm, because there’s always a way to work things out. Today I felt the most connected I have with the children. I have completely fallen in love with them, and am enjoying every moment of this experience :D