Friday, March 30, 2012

Art & Dance

Uganda has stolen my heart, again.

When I talked to Tara Hawks about what I could do with Fount of Mercy upon my return to Uganda we both decided that an Art Camp would be a cool thing to do. I have a background in dance and theatre, and I also absolutely love working with children, so we decided to give it a try. I have to admit that I was pretty nervous going into it.

I was there for a month and had 3 different groups of children. The first 2 groups were kids from villages that ranged from about 5 to 12 years old. The last week of camp I had a group of deaf kids that were 16 to 22 years old.

At camp we talked about shapes, the kids did self-portraits (that were awesome), they painted with watercolors, played musical chairs, learned 2 choreographed dances, did a lot of silly, fun, creative dances with brightly colored scarves, played human tug of war, played with a parachute, sang songs, had sack races...and ate lots of bananas. It was chaotic and fun. Sometimes we lost electricity and I was unable to use my music and stick to my we improvised...and I think the kids had an even better time when we did that.

Children in Uganda that are fortunate enough to go to school work really hard. They are in school much longer than American kids. They don't have recess or gym class. They don't have art class or fun electives. They are not really encouraged to think critically or creatively. It was usually on the second day of camp that I saw the children start to open up and really start to be free with their own creativity. Once they were comfortable, it flowed out of them. It was amazing to see. They just needed a little push.

I love how art has its own language. It didn't matter that some of the children were deaf. Or that some of the children spoke only Lusoga. We could all communicate when we were dancing and painting. Art was the bridge that connected us all.

On the last day of camp a nine year old girl named Glorio hugged me and said,

"This has been my pleasure."

My eyes filled with tears, because she'll never know that really...the pleasure was all mine.

Written by: Liza Morgan

No comments: