A quick rundown of the middle of this week! I still feel as though I'm recovering from the craziness of our long weekend in Namibia, so it's been pretty lowkey. Nevertheless, there have been a number of wonderful highlights, including :
- Dragging Fred to Childline and playing with the kids! Childline is the only orphanage in Gabs, and every week MaP students go as a service program. It felt so good to pick up babies and run around with the toddlers; and since most were too young to talk, the language barrier wasn't too much of a problem! I communicated mostly through high fives, and, with one two-year-old boy who was sitting in a students' lap, through winking. I tried it just to see what he would do, and I was absolutely blown away when he winked right back! We switched eyes a few times and it was such a random, funny moment of connection that no one else noticed. Fred was also such a trooper, as all the kids decided they wanted rides on his shoulders, and he got a workout carrying everyone around the playground. It was heartbreaking having one adorable toddler in a cute yellow coat hold onto my legs crying as we were trying to leave. Fred pried her fingers off of us and we ran out (sadly), but spending time with these kids was wonderful.
- My tutee informing me that I forgot to "zip the zip on my trousers."
- Talking with two girls outside in a sunny field on Tuesday afternoon about their interest in petitioning the government about providing pads and tampons for girls in the villages free of charge. They're also interested in holding workshops about feminism for younger girls, and are hoping that I can help them develop a curriculum. While I'm definitely not qualified for this, I've been in contact with some friends from home and trying to put together a list of resources to use as references for our future discussions and planning meetings.
- The first meeting of MaP Think Tank, a discussion session we Harvards are starting to encourage students to think in different ways outside of what they learn in the classroom. We had an interesting discussion about education: what is intelligence? what is the objective of education? what does it mean to be educated? what is the responsibility that comes with an education? etc. I appreciated hearing the students' perspectives, which were quite different from mine and Harsh's especially. Looking forward to talking possibly more about social issues next time!
- Community Art, as always. UGH!! I ADORE this group of students, whom I'm getting to know quite well, and I loved hearing different people calling my name because they need a certain color, or got paint on their clothes, or have a question about how to put down tape or whether we're making a border. I also got to hear a bit about one girl's crush on the basketball team, another girl's SEVENTEEN (!!) upcoming exams, and just how everyone is doing in general. It's so laid-back and such a joyful, creative vibe. Siqi walked by us working, and later commented on how happy we all looked; and Laone, a music instructor who also happened to stop by, mentioned after the fact as well how it was nice to see me in that environment because it was clear how much I enjoyed it. Love, love, LOVE Community Art! Everyone is ridiculously helpful, too. There are supposed to be 40 students total, but a bunch were missing because of the Juilliard workshops. One of my favorite students ever (the shy boy in Form 2 who I talked at until he smiled last week) swung by after the workshop at 4pm and stayed just to help us clean up! He also showed off some killer ballet moves, which were awesome to see. And a bunch of the kids helped me pack up all the paint and carry boxes back to the girls' annex, just in time for me to make the end of the Harvards' resume workshop! Such a happy afternoon. :)
- Chatting with Vamika, a music TA who'll be attending school at NYU Abu Dhabi this fall, about what art means to us in preparation for the upcoming Tutti & Soli performance next week.
- Along the same vein, I've loved sitting in on different rehearsals taking place in preparation for Tutti & Soli, particularly one band rehearsal and a workshop held by three Juilliard students who are here for this week! I ended up putting my camera down to join in the fun, and attempted a bit of salsa and rumba. I still can't get over how good some of the students are at dancing; and a few past MaP graduates who are involved in the Botswana entertainment scene now came back to the school to participate in the workshops as well. It's so clear in how they move and interact and exude joy while dancing how much they enjoy it, which was inspiring to see—hoping I caught it on camera!
And now— I can't even believe it—we're leaving for the Delta in just a few hours! How is that possible?! We had a late night out with the Juilliard students and Laone at Riverwalk, so after four hours of sleep (Heba and I miraculously woke up for breakfast), I'm pretty beat. But hoping to rally and maybe nap on the plane today, and then so ready to spend all day outside during our game drive tomorrow. See you on the other side!