7 October, Clowning around Arequipa, Peru
Spoke to Leah my New Zealand friend this morning. Mornings are hard as I tend to work late on my blog and photos. We had a quick chat and she told me her and her husband have traveled since 2006 wow, I said to her. They are footloose and fancy free. Their son is in Santiago, Chile. They have a grandchild there. She told me her husband was a retired CEO in the envelope business, he was based in Australia which was interesting. So they have done well and are now traveling. They were on their way to Spanish lessons this morning. They are speaking very well. Great folks. However, had breakfast and started to get my clowning gear on. The guy that owns the place is Alder, he wanted to organize my tour to Machu Pichu for $150 which includes one night accommodation, mini bus and train then stop over, the ticket to Machu Pichu and return trip to Cusco. So in between putting on my makeup we got that sorted. The banks amaze me the way they take 8% processing this end and then my own bank takes percentage of the price. They have a cheek to take so much. It doesn’t cost that in processing and the fact that it is a percentage means it goes up the more you spend, it should be a flat fee, anyway that out of the way, all is good.
Anyway launched myself out on the street. The traffic are coming up behind me in a one system. So I turn around blow kisses, juggle and get many toots.
I go into the school and have to wait for around half an hour. In the meantime I meet 3 girls who spoke English. I showed them my bag of tricks. In the office one girl was particularly interested and we played a ball game together. She asked about Australia. I told her about my life as a clown. We had many conversations over the day. At one point she said she was not beautiful and I noticed her language was self depreciating. So I told her the real beauty is inside. That when is see people I see their beauty because I found my own. It has nothing to do with how you look. Much beauty is conveyed through smiling and kindness. The clown encourages peace on all levels, it can be as simple as a smile or learning the psychology of peace and self awareness. she took in what I was say and I made the point it is very important to be happy in life. You don’t have to be success in a career or popular, it is more important to find what makes your heart sing.
The Principal indicated the assembly was ready. I thought I was going into a small room and found myself in the centre of a basketball court. I looked up there must be 500 students. Now this woman is announcing I will do a show. I am laughing inside as I came to talk about being a peace clown. I never see myself as a performer as I adlib everything and my juggling is average, yet my talent is conveying peace. So I did a few exercises with a child from my peace education curriculum which is resistance and flow. I explained flow was going with the life not fighting it or each other. I told them a little about Gandhi ‘to be the change you wish to see’ and that peace to care for others. I showed them what made me happy and juggled for them. I also went up and hugged some boys they are so scared but deep down they like it. I also had a little boy come out and learn some juggling. I explained through translation that it is not how well you do it it is important to try. I explained I had traveled around the world and that it is ok to be different. These were the messages I conveyed. The little girl I spoke of earlier she filmed me in the auditorium and told me she liked the messages.
They gave me a badge about learning English and with that I was away with my puppet. The girl and I spent more time together as she wanted to juggle then I was released onto the people of Arequipa.
I met a range of people as I walked. I waved at people and squeeked my nose (as I normally do), I made out I was slow crossing the road. In this place it can be lethal as they all cross intersections fast and it is the most pushy that get through. I laugh at how they drive. Anyway I see a lot of people from old men and women selling lollies to make a living. I go into the main square and meet a whole group of people. All locals and Spanish speakers. I offer to take a photo of them with my jesters hat, one has my LOVE glasses, the other has a fluffy plastic ball and another my juggling clubs. I juggle for them and I show them my bubbles in my bag. I then get out my doggy poo (hee hee) and throw it on the footpath and wait for an unsuspecting passer by. I then yell out no no no watch out. Some just keep walking, or they look at me. I laugh with kids I blow bubbles and I know they love it. They are so fascinated by how I look sometimes they don’t see the bubbles. Other times they are very excited by the bubbles that just glisten in the sunlight. I played also with some men giving them hugs and pointing to my peace sign. I am telling them I am into peace and love. Life is great. Then I meet some young girls who want a photo. A young man comes up and communicates he likes fire sticks. Later on he juggles for me and he is very good. My New Zealand friends turn up to watch and take some photos. I then meet the police who tells me in Spanish I can. I give him a hug and smile a big smile and off I bounce. I don’t mind the whole world is my stage and I don’t mind if I juggle here. I just flow with life. This is what I was teaching the kids, not to resist but just allow life to carry you. I climb up joking on to a higher platform these western girls ignore me, and they mean it. I smile at a tiko and then look at the big cathedral. I ask to go in, it appears I am a clown and I can’t. the guy refusing me is heavily armed and with a flack jacket. I blow him a kiss and indicate I’ll come back as touristo.
I then go up the street and just say ‘hola’ to everyone smiling. Some smile back, others ignore, others probably think I want money or they feel confronted. I have clowned so long I just go with the flow always. I don’t mind if they react positive/negative or neutral it is the joy of life passing me by in all its colours. I so love it.
I then meet this lovely man who takes a photo of me. Turns out he is a journalist at a local Spanish paper. He comments that good news is so important. I convey I am traveling the world to bring joy and connect. I am a Rotary Scholar I tell him and teach peace and nonviolence to children and adults (the later is important). At the time with the journalist this little girl is trying to sell me chocolate. I want her to come into the photo, she says no and is shy. The journalist bought her some chocolate and eventually she agreed and then she started to have fun as I felt to connect with blowing bubbles and juggling. I have her a hug as I left. I felt the connection with these two little girls and I gave the chocolate that was given to me to the other girl. She was happy.
I then went and found the street where this lovely lady was who I had met the day before I wanted to show her my clown suit. She was very nice, bought some aqua (water) and told her in pictures about my day (had my camera with me). She was very happy, I gave her a hug and then went on my way.
As I was walking back another guy sidled up to me and was fascinated by the clown. He mentioned Patch Adams, I told him I went to Russia with patch and 40 other clowns. It was freedom and wonderful. I told him we don’t take money we do it for love. He was very interested and really tried to find the English to speak to me about my life and juggling. He really liked it when I juggled.
I realized on my way back to the hotel that I left my puppet. I couldn’t find the school so I guess it is meant to be there. How do I know I don’t need it, I don’t have it.
Now I am about to catch the bus to Cusco and then onto Machu Pichu. It was a great day and I really loved meeting the people of Arequipa, Peru. They are more conservative and not as expressive as other cultures, you can see the Indian (inca’s in some of them). They are warm hearted and those I spoke to said they love living here that this is a great city. Well I enjoyed contributing.
Anyway off to the next adventure.
Much love all ways, susan or rather Peace-full.