Her Juggling Feet

everybody's a nobody. and nobody's perfect.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ode to My Inner Clown

I am discovering lots of things.

First, that my red clown nose is the world´s smallest mask, and the quickest way that I can transform myself. I fix it on my nose, and I am no longer Amanda, the Gringa that speaks broken Portunol. She is Amanda, malabarista extraordinaire--playful, spontaneous, and joyful. Sometimes bashful, sometimes coy. She likes to flirt.

I am discovering that whatever inhibitions I feel when it comes to speaking Portuguese or Spanish dissolve when I am in my clown character. I don´t need words, I don´t need voice, all I need is my body to communicate, and for this, I have felt liberated.

This has been an unexpected outlet for me. Often I feel silent or tired or unwilling to speak. Sometimes I just don´t want to translate anything, or make mistakes, or ask for the 942nd time, could you repeat what you said, a little more slowly, please? When I am clowning around, none of this matters. I take myself lightly, and I play, really pushing myself to connect with others. It´s been wonderful to see what comes out as a result.

Our time in Foz was meaningful. The chalet that we stayed felt like a sanctuary. We ate mandarins by the bucketfull. I woke up with the roosters. Slipped in the pool for a little night swimming under the stars.

Our first few days were spent working with some talented jugglers and circus artists at the Point of Living Culture. I worked especially well with one youth, Tiago, with 7 and 8 clubs, and together we passed 9 balls for the first time. Tiago is phenomenal--he can do tricks with the diabolo that I´ve never seen before, with two, and even three. We also did some group club juggling with a total of 6 of us, some on unicycles, others (me), comfortably and securely on the ground.

On a slightly more serious note, the Caravan marched in a city parade hosted by a network of organizations working to eradicate adolescent trafficking and prostitution between the borders of Argentina and Brasil. I can´t think of much else to say about it. It was powerful. I continue to be both full and saddened by all that I witness here.

The final days were spent exploring the waterfalls of Iguassu. I have never seen anything like them. Absolutely breathtaking. The first day a group of us crossed into Argentina to visit A Garganta Do Diablo, or the Throat of the Devil. We walked along narrow steel bridges above meandering rivers, all very calm and peaceful. Then, all of a sudden, one can hear the distant echo of thunder, and it begins to rain, not just from the sky down but the ground up and my face is covered with a thin film of water. And then, I am there, at the Throat, looking down into this immense, plummeting, expanse and I can´t see where the water ends and the earth begins. Everything is wet and white and the sound is almost deafening. I have to shout to be heard, and even then, my words are absorbed by the water.

The following day, we visited the Brasilian side, which is not as up close and personal, but it gives the ultimate panaramic view of the Falls, which spill over a tremendously long amount of land. There were even rainbows. Shucks. Ah, but I sound trite. I really want to pay tribute to Mother Nature and all that She creates. The ultimate artist in this crazy and colorful life portrait...

Our final night in Foz culminated in an invitation to a hip hop street festival, where we performed a theatre piece and a fire spectacular. I´m not playing with fire yet. Still a spectator. Soon, I shall!

For now, lots of love and light.


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