by Jacob

As it nears the end of this Nicaragua project (less than 2 weeks to go!) we have naturally begun looking back at the work we have done and reflecting on its possible successes and shortfalls. As nothing is perfect, and we are all experts in hindsight, it is interesting to think about what worked and what could be improved for next time. Three of us in this team did the first Nicaragua project last year (my first PWB project) and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that this year feels like a big improvement. And I´m not having a go at last year´s (I came back, after all!) it should be expected that it would improve!

I´m not going to go into the minutiae, maybe for fear of sounding like I have it all worked out, or maybe just to avoid boring you, but one big positive has stood out on this project. It is something that we had a taste of last year and I remember thinking and talking about it lots then but this year it has been a prominent feature of the tour. Basically, due to connections founded last year and Tilly´s relentless communications with new friends this year, during the San Marcos stretch of this project we seem to have had a constant flow of other artists/groups joining us to work with our partner organisation, Los Quinchos.

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Zanquistas salsa-stilt workshop at Los Quinchos

After our fruitful skill-shares with the zanquistas (stilt dancers) in León they have now visited us in San Marcos and worked with the Quinchos for a morning with such results that brought us to tears of joy! We had the Estelí crew come down and do their show and workshops for the children which was a learning experience for the Quinchos and for the rapidly progressing Nido de Las Artes crew. And we also had the full show from La Escuela de La Comedia y El Mimo, followed by 2 days of inspiring acro, clown, and mime workshops from La Escuela´s lead artist, Rafa.

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Rafa teaching some acro

So I should kind of amend a previous statement; it is not just “other” artists/groups coming to work with us. Our visitors here have actually been people from other organisations we have worked with before arriving in San Marcos. So not only have the kids in San Marcos had hugely inspirational experiences of meeting other kids who are themselves ´success stories´ of social circus projects, but also these young people from the other projects have been given more opportunities to get out and share and develop their performance and teaching skills.

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El Nido de Las Artes clown act at Los Quinchos

This is not all… Perhaps the most exciting thing about these events over the past 3 weeks is that while PWB is not around for the rest of the year, each of these organisations could be able to visit each other and the groups we´ve worked with during this project. It feels like it´s the building of connections like these that gives PWB´s work in Nicaragua a real legacy. One of our biggest concerns when coming towards the end of a project is how the children we are leaving will stay motivated and inspired if they wish to continue doing these things. We all know how hard it can be to motivate yourself to train or play if there is little or no inspiration around. A year just seems too long to leave it and expect these children to keep it up on their own. But now it looks like that may not have to be the case! With some organisation from across the ocean there is a high chance (we hope!) that some of these connections can be nurtured and stronger links can be created between the projects we work with.

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La Escuela de La Comedia y El Mimo

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