On may way to the orphanage this morning I even gave a homeless dog my breakfast. (Not the particular one shown below, but one very similar. The one pictured is one I pass everyday right down the street. Want to snuggle. And take home.)
Our first class started at 9am (with the older boys). Much like yesterday, they were a little restless. But, after introducing some new exercises, much of their fidget-i-ness subsided. And, instead of spending our whole class just doing run-through after run-through we spent a vast majority of our time working with individuals, tweaking problem moments, and trying to remedy the chronic ailments of poor annunciation and fialed projection that most, if not all, the boys suffer from. It really is remarkable the kinds of improvements we made just by having the boys stand on opposite ends of the room and have conversations with each other.
Another thing I was so happy to see a change in, today, was the attitude of one of our lead actors--a boy named Ryan. On our first day at the orphanage, Ryan was introduced to us as the "leader" of the older boys. While he obviously enjoys theatre, if he thinks an exercise is "uncool" it automatically flops. However, after doing some one on one character work with him today (he plays the part of the Sun) his attitude seemed much improved, therefore improving the attitudes of the group at large.
At the end of our rehearsal we decided to give one of my personal favorite games --Musical Chairs. The kids loved it. Almost as much as they loved the American music I was playing. The only downside to this was that, at the end, they asked me if I had Hannah Montanna music.
They live mere miles from clay huts and are confined to a completely isolated institution nearly 24 hours a day and they're asking for Miley Cyrus? She's completely taking over the world. But, since they asked, I'm going to get one of her songs for them tonight. How do you say no to such a simple request?
After class we headed over to Municipalidad de Puno for a meeting with Antonio to get approval to use the building's auditorium for our final presentation on Wednesday. But, since we were a few minutes early,we decided to try out some Peruvian icecream. The chocolate was good. The condensed leche (which I had anticipated would resemble something like sweet cream) almost made me gag. And then, almost instantaneously, Ryan and I found ourselves caught up in the midst of one of the many parades that are taking place in these few days preceding Peruvian Indpendence day (the 28th).Not that I'm complaining. Being surrounded by hundreds upon hundreds of cute kids dressed in costumes ranging from ancient Incan gods to European Nobility to some-other-costume-I-didn't-quite-comprehend is totally okay by me.
After our meeting, Ryan and I enjoyed a nice little break and then prepared to head back out for round two with the younger kids.
But, shortly before 2 o'clock (the time of our next rehearsal) we were informed that one of us needed to return to the Municipalidad to take Antonio pictures and video footage of the work we have been doing with the kids for the past few days. This meant that one of us had to go into rehearsal (with eleven very energetic boys) all alone. So, we left the apartment at the same time, and then split up (him heading off to the orphanage, and me heading off to the Municipalidad), expecting we would see each other less than 15 minutes later.
While I wanted to be at the orphanage for rehearsal, this split was nice for the simple fact that it was the very first time I was out walking through the city entirely alone. I always find it to be a very fulfilling experiencing-- making one's way through a foreign place on one's own. Making turns, and crossing streets, and excusing oneself after bumping into strangers --things one doesn't think twice about at home-- gives one the feeling of great sufficiency--if not invincibility--when in an unknown place.
However, when I got to the Municipalidad the man I was supposed to meet with was out to lunch (even though he set up the meeting...) So, I waited for him for nearly 30 minutes, and then informed the ever so helpful Antonio that I couldn't leave Ryan in the lurch any longer. I hurried off to the orphanage only to find the gate keeper nowhere in sight. So, I sat outside waiting for someone to let me in for nearly 15 more minutes.
When I finally was let it, I rushed upstairs. And then the most lovely thing happened. As I walked into the room all of the children jumped up excitedly and screamed "SARAAA!"
:) :) :)
(One of our translators came up to me later and told me that the kids hadn't been listening very well to Ryan, and that she could tell they were waiting for me.)
Ryan then showed me the progress he had made with the kids after making the changes we had talked about. I was happy to find our already wonderful show much improved.
We then spent the next bit working on blocking our finale (because the unorganized chaos we had envisioned simply wasn't cutting it). So, we tried doing some semi-circles. We tried forming lines. We tried circling in character. Finally we settled on the animals circling the sun while dancing and making animal sounds.Since the kids were so patient and worked so hard, Ryan promised to play soccer with the boys after rehearsal. But, before that, I insisted that we play musical chairs. I was very pleased when no request for Miley spilled out of the mouths of the younger ones.
Anyway, afterward, most of the boys ran out to the soccer court to play with Ryan while my two personal favorites (don't tell!), Juan Gabriel and Jefferson (prounounced yay-fur-sewn), stayed by my side. Both of them are quite taken with technology and remain close by me/the video camera/ my canon as much as possible. I can't tell if they love me or my stuff...either way, I'll take it.
So, long story short(er than it would be if I kept going), I spent a wonderful evening just roaming the hills and the exploring the old chicken house with two of the smallest (and most perfect) Peruvians I know.
Like I said, it was a good day.