somehow in life, i end up being surrounded by children. whether i chose it or not. whether i avoid it or not. and there are moments of joy. and moments of frustration. and moments of beauty. and moments of chaos. but lately the moments have been good.
last thursday, i ventured on a "bus party" with a bunch of kids from grand roy government school. the school i've been helping out with after school and common entrance class. the school where most kids from my neighborhood attend. and there were certainly "party" moments. as we cruised around the island with caribbean music blaring and kids singing all the words. the kids expressed such excitement at all the sights along the way. with a certain innocence. with childlike joy. and we visited leaper's hill and saw sulfur springs. learned about cocoa processing and chatted with rainbow the parrot. enjoyed lunch at bathway beach and shivered in the wind at grand etang lake. and i don't know about the other "adults," but i actually had fun. hanging out with kids i knew. getting to know some i hadn't spent much time with. it was a tiring day though. for everybody. as evidenced by little antonio falling asleep on my shoulder on the way home.
friday, i journeyed to hartford village on the eastern side. for a closing ceremony with the peace and art programme i've been helping with. back in january, i randomly met my canadian-hippy-artist- social activist-friend maureen at a sailing festival where i was playing pan and she was selling art. she had done youth empowerment sessions with kids in her village, but was hoping to do something more organized and interconnected. after emailing and chatting over tea on her veranda, we created a series of sessions on peace and art to do with the kids. we partnered with older youth from the village that took great initiative in facilitating the sessions. once a week for six weeks, the kids assembled to make art and make peace. they wrote peace poems. made peace boxes. created puppets. did creative drama. made a peace mural. sang songs. created dances. and the programme wasn't perfect. there were a lot of times when we questioned what concepts were being learned. what good was really being accomplished. but we saw kids play together from different parts of the village that usually don't interact. we saw children shine in small groups that tend to be withdrawn. we saw youth take pride in their creations.
and it was a beautiful thing to see parents and other youth come out as the kids showed off their work at the closing ceremony. the songs and dances and drama and poems and art displays. it was all a joy to be a part of. maureen's holidaying back in canada for a few months starting tomorrow. so, i'm not sure how involved i'll be in the village for a while. but good things have started. it seems as if a dance troupe could evolve. as the older youth have discovered an empowerment to lead.
since i've been here, i've been realizing that with kids, and big people too, i'm at my best in small groups or one on one. when i can fully focus on honoring people. on honoring the holiness that dwells within them. so i cherish those moments. with kids: cleaning fish with aj. listening to nicka. cooking with azaria. chatting on our way to the pan house with kaydell. so thankful for opportunities to love. always praying for those opportunities. with open eyes. with a receptive heart. that my spirit might be guided by that which is Divine. on these journeys. and on those to follow.