Hey ho, team Salone went to Bo! 18th – 22nd Feb :)
Categorised in: Sierra Leone 2014
By Performers Without Borders
I knew Bo would be good fun from the offset….I mean seeing a guy on an okada wearing a Santa hat in the mid-day African heat HAS to be a positive thing right??!
Due to issues with non-appearing transport (West Africa Wins Again..) instead of travelling to Bo on the Sunday as scheduled, we ended up surprising the kids in Makeni by turning up unannounced hoping that they wouldn’t mind if we stayed the night. Even though we were sad not to have made it to Bo in time, the kids excitement in seeing us was overwhelming and so sweet. They all ran up to the car and it was hugs all round! Not only was it a fantastic feeling the old ego, but it means PWB is really working out here and that we are doing our job well!
When we finally arrived in Bo we were welcomed with loving open arms!! Well, we were by the groundskeepers and children and orphanage leader and after a frosty welcome from the headteacher of the school it transpired he thought us Brits were going to try and take over and ‘teach all us African’s how to dance!’ After gently explaining this wasn’t the case we finally got him on our side and arranged a schedule that involved spending the morning with the drama group and the afternoons with the orphans.
We did an assembly at the orphanage and they were delighted and excited to have us to stay, everywhere we have been we’ve always had a great response but it’s Tim’s contact ball that really gets them going…it’s so amazing to see them getting inspired and eager to learn. It makes our job so much more satisfying, and helps us get through those tired or extra long days!
After our first day of workshops (all received brilliantly) we realised our equipment needed a well deserved sort out. So, after a meal of dried fish, cold chips and fried plantain (a meal which continued to haunt us for the whole of our Bo trip!) we got on re-counting and packing and making some more juggling balls! 2 hours later we had a perfectly organised, ready to go kit bag, 12 new juggling balls and a beach-worth of sand all over our the floor of our lovely guest house…whoops!
Our time in Bo seen through my eyes…well and a lens. Sometimes pictures speak louder than words.
Our couple of days in Bo absolutely flew by…it turned out we couldn’t teach on the Friday because the school had a prize giving ceremony which we were invited to attend and perform at. The stage was extremely rickety and after sitting through what felt like endless names of award-winning students and some rather amusing French plays where one shared microphone was snatched mid sentence from character to character, it was finally our turn. The younger children started off by performing Emma’s ‘European’ dance and they were fantastic! They’d only practised for 3 hours plus a sneaky go before the show but they nailed it, we were very proud 🙂 Then the older guys and girls performed a cultural dance taught to them by Brima and Morlai which was also great. They had made a real effort with their matching lapas and face/body paint so they looked so professional and were clearly very proud to show off what they had learnt! The audience responded very well to them with whoops and cheers, and although slightly apprehensive they also enjoyed the short show put on by us. I’d count it as a successful show purely because no-one fell off or through the stage haha!
Our last night in Bo came about too quickly and we treated the orphans to a fire show which they absolutely loved! Unlike the school who had seemed a bit quiet during our show in the assembly, the orphanage kids were one of our loudest audience yet. It’s interesting how much of a difference it makes in how the children react to a performance after we’ve spent a week working with them. At the end of our fire show as a special treat, Peachi left the generator on and got out his flashing disco lights (not a euphemism). The whole orphanage went absolutely crazy as they danced their hearts out to the 4 West African tracks that we had -on repeat for 2 hours. The PWB had to dance in shifts; a sort of African disco relay team! They had way more stamina than us for sure! When we began to wind it down, they kept shouting “Please come back! Please come back’ which I’m pretty sure means they enjoyed themselves! Yet another confirmation that we’re doing what we came out to do 🙂
By Kay-T and Emma 🙂