Getting to Know You, Reflection by Sean

With the monster of pena locked behind bars, the kids arose at the crack of dawn to stretch their arms to the heavens and then sink to the ground during the first morning of yoga. Many showered before and after the unusual morning exercises and then filed into the kitchen for sweet black water (diluted coffee) and breakfast prepped by the volunteers. They broke off into their respective small groups and the plays began to evolve from read lines to acted scenes and characters were born in the hearts of the actors. Some groups picked up their parts quickly, while others struggled to give form to the stories. They then broke into project groups, a backdrop of mountains and rivers and suns and centros de salud was born. Kids danced and laughed to the song Soy Yo and analyzed and wrote poems.

Two HIV Charlas passed the afternoon, one by an eloquent MINSA rep, who explained the essentials and the second by the Wizard Dario, who put the kids into a trance of participation and critical thinking. Dario's talk was accompanied by the fascination, interest, respect and silence that an amazing professor can inspire in his students. They talked about the psychological effects of learning one has HIV and resources for HIV patients.

A full moon rose as the kids presented a sneak preview of Saturday's presentation, many already having memorized their lines! The 5 min volunteer review at the end of the day lasted 16 minutes- because it was such a full day. The volunteers were so exhausted that (most) fell asleep quickly even with the building nightly shenanigans of the chiquios.

The participants from the communities of Cerro Pita and Palma Gira had mutual interest in getting to know each other from day one. Their interactions were awkward- introductions with false names and auto-presentations and in general they seemed to be struggling with breaking the ice. However, after two days of awkwardness, they decided to dance jegi together for Saturday's presentation.

Sean Schrag-Toso

 Youth participants rehearse their scene. The student on the left is portraying a germ named "Valentino Matasanos". Translated, this name means "Valentino Health Killer"!

Youth participants rehearse their scene. The student on the left is portraying a germ named "Valentino Matasanos". Translated, this name means "Valentino Health Killer"!