17 October, Quaker Youth Gathering and Wedding continued (next day)
I was invited to give a presentation at the Quaker Youth Gathering on Sunday. It was at the Quaker church. Rebecca woke me at 7am so that we could leave at 8am. We had some breakfast and her mother was making me feel welcome. Her mum is traditional Bolivian. I wonder at how modern the children are and then you meet parents and you see clearly into another era. The parents are both Quakers. However, I have noticed the Quakers are different here as they have a pastor and basically operate as a Christian church. Quakers usually have no pastor and they basically stand up at a meeting when they feel moved to speak.
We traveled across town in two mini buses. On one of the trips two little girls were sitting in front of me just staring with these big brown eyes. I wondered about the life for women, it is not an easy life anywhere in the world. I thought of their future and their awareness. They were such sweet children just staring innocently at people around them.
We traveled along dusty dirt roads with buildings and rubble everywhere. Some places there was just rubbish everywhere. We got out in a dusty street and I reflected on the underdevelopment of some places and contrasted this to the Inca’s and their stone paved cities and efficient organization. I also looked at global capitalism and how this global model is picked up at the local levels. Where people have lived in small communities many these days move to the cities and make shift cities are built up. So they appear underdeveloped. Yet the intelligence of all people is the same for hundreds of thousands of years.
We arrived at the gathering and I saw groups of women outside reading the bible under the supervision of a teacher. Everyone was waving. They remember me from the night before clowning at the wedding. I sat with them and many smiles emerged under shy eyes. They sang sweetly around me and I found my eyes closing. They had a bible in Spanish/English but I am not a Christian although I know Christ existed, I don’t follow scripture I follow my heart. I see the source of creation as communicating through feelings and love. So I go there. I am at peace with whatever resonates for others as all roads lead to Rome as they say.
I then was guided by Rebecca in the room with boys and men. I saw my friend Ruben speaking and my name mentioned he was recalling what I talked about with him the day before. i reflected on how our words travel. Had I not been there I wouldn’t have realized others were hearing my words.
I went outside and Ruben talked to me about doing a session with kids. They wanted me to dress as a clown but I wasn’t feeling like it and I wanted to talk more to the children. I ended up in a room with around 40 children. Quite a few older people came into listen. I spoke of my journey as a peace clown. How I dreamed I was teaching peace, my going to university and learning peace studies, contacting patch and then being invited to Russia and spending a year writing a peace education program for children. I found my life increasingly turning to peace. I realized the importance of happiness and to find real joy in life not through materialism. I encouraged the children to follow their own hearts and it didn’t matter if they were street sweepers the main thing was to be happy. Throughout my talk I demonstrated my clowning and some activities in it. I brought out my glowing red nose and that was passed around the group. I dressed up partially but my main intention was for them to learn from my experience. I also talked about negative thinking and to look within when they feel negative. I used bubbles to show positive thoughts.
We then did a game where the kids had to creep up on me. I had a jumper between my feet and when I said go they would creep then I would turn around and if I saw anyone move they were out. They enjoyed the game. We also did pass the funny face/smile and the kids found this hard as they were very shy. It was good to observe this shyness and I told them I am not shy at all and to become fearless and to not care what anyone thinks. Life is too short to wait.
After the session we all walked to the venue where the wedding was to have lunch. All the guests from the wedding were there. Children rushed up to hug me and I could see the love in their faces. Everyone was very welcoming to me. We had lunch and I had my bag sewed and I fixed my clown suit. I wanted to get that done. The kids came up and wanted me to do magic tricks. I don’t have any tricks but I did take out my rings and play a game to put the ring over the bottle. They liked it and adults also joined in. I played balloons with the kids, I had a nice time and felt accepted by this community.
I was supposed to do a presentation but the present part of the afternoon took up much time. What they do is the bride and groom run upstairs racing each other to bring down the presents. They place them on a blanket. The presents are then opened and counted. I was amazed to hear they had 169 presents. Many blankets and bed covers. They were given to gas stoves. They received a lot of dishes and furniture was given. A whole lounge suite was made for them and cupboards. They were set up. I am sure they were given money as well. Very generous from a average income community. I thought of consumerism and wondered at all the weddings everywhere. This of course is life but much of what we do is unquestioned environmentally. We are all part of the consumer juggernaut. Yet when we consume too much we take from the children’s future. Many people are unaware of this. I enjoyed the time with the wedding party and accepted the reality of what is. I found many friends in this place.
Toward the end of the day they ran out of time for my presentation. I didn’t mind and just went with the flow. I was feeling pretty tired. We caught two mini buses home. I gave a child 1 boliviano and he was very happy and a bottle of drink. His eyes shined as I left. I had impacted many children this day and I felt very happy.
It was good to come back to Rebecca’s place early so I could get a good night sleep. It has been very busy.