Hello everyone, and welcome to the 2018 PWB Nicaragua Team Blog!
We’ve been in Nicaragua almost two weeks now and the project is off to a flying start. Let me introduce you to the team:
Pictured above from top left to bottom: Willy Bum (Master of dance parties and lover of acro juggles), Jacob (Team Nica coordinator and acro juggler extraordinare), Kit (AKA Leo off stage and a primo clown contact juggler), Helly Hoops (AKA Helen off stage and a lover of circular objects and silly walks), Darine (Magnificent maestro of games and movement), Ivy (Strong woman and spins dragon staff like a clown BOSS), and Sara (Non stop club juggler and other strong woman)!
As the group arrived in Managua at the start of January, we were graciously hosted by a friend and supporter of the PWB Nica Project for a couple of nights as everyone arrived at different times over a couple of days. On the evening of the 3rd we loaded up a minibus with all our kit and travelled 30km to Leon for an overnight pit stop to do some grocery shopping and pick up last minute essentials before heading out to a more remote location for boot camp. We travelled in the same minibus on the following afternoon to ‘Rigo’s Guesthouse’ on the Pacific coast in Las Penitas to be welcomed by a glorious sunset and a relaxing swim in the somewhat turbulent and powerful waters of the open ocean!
Pictured above: Darine and Jake post epic sunset swim!
Over the couple of nights before arriving at boot camp, the group seemed to be bonding well and forging strong relationships despite only having met once or twice over Skype dates before arrival. Upon arriving it was clear that everyone seemed quite comfortable sharing dorms and communicating openly and honestly about everything in our day to day lives, as well as our own lives back home on different corners of the planet!
After dinner on the first night we drew up a schedule for the following week that blocked out our time in order to address our primary objectives, which were; practice and learn about each others teaching styles; develop and workshop show ideas and create the show; learn and practice Spanish; and cooking rotations. Here is what our typical day looked like:
9:00 – 10:00 Morning warm-up and games with a different leader each day
10:00 – 11:00 Classroom style teaching session with same leader from warm up (in Spanish with the rest of the group acting as kids in the workshop environment)
11:00 – 11:15 Break
11:15 – 13:00 SHOW DEVELOPMENT
13:00 – 14:30 Lunch
14:30 – 15:30 Spanish Lesson
15:30 – 17:00 SHOW DEVELOPMENT
Over the course of the week, everyone had the opportunity to suggest ideas for the show, as well as run games and exercises to help us develop our clowns, performance styles, and interpersonal relationships with the focus of developing strong connections on stage. Some extra activities we added into our evenings included sunset swimming, creative jam sessions, acrobatics, juggling, hooping, and board games. We quickly discovered that we have a feisty and competitive group with a wide range of skill sets. Another personal highlight of the week was our costume exploration session where we all revealed the elaborate and whacky costumes we’d all brought and got an idea of what we might want to wear for the show!
By Thursday the 11th we’d finished the first draft of the show, and all of the group members had lead a session with the rest of the group on a topic of their choice. So, in the afternoon we did a dress rehearsal of the show with music, and filmed it in order to make some final improvements before our first show the following day.
On Friday we were invited to a local youth organisation just up the road from our bootcamp called ‘Son Flora’ to perform the show. We had an early lunch, and presented our work in progress to around 70 kids and a handful of volunteers, all during the hottest part of the day! It was a big success, despite a few hiccups (some of the props were forgotten), but all in all everyone was happy with the result. After the show we were given a ride home on the kids’ school bus which was a ‘HOOT’ with all the kids jubilant and intrigued with our crazy circus antics! We enjoyed a well deserved ice cream and swim in the sea to cool off followed by a beautiful show debrief on the beach watching the sunset before heading out to the town for a celebratory meal out with the group. That night the stars were incredible and we could even see the Milky Way!
Pictured above: Post show group photo with our lovely audience at Son Flora! The team had a load of fun premiering our show there and are looking forward to returning and teaching some workshops!
Saturday was a slightly later start, with a more informal and relaxed warm-up session and a series of performance games which allowed us to deepen our understanding of each others performance styles. We worked on a few aspects of the show that we wanted to improve, continued with our Spanish classes and took the afternoon off. In the evening we found out that there was a local Nicaraguan circus performing in a nearby Barrio so we went out for some street food and watched a wild show which put us all in a fantastic mood. The locals were super friendly and the show was an eclectic mix of dance, aerial, and clowning (in a language we could barely understand?!).
The waves on Sunday morning were humongous and I personally took a massive thrashing whilst trying to have a little surf, to little avail. Omalia, the project organiser in Leon, sent her son Edwin to pick up the team in his pick-up truck and bring us to Leon where we moved into our new home for the next month. The next day we had our first day off and everyone took some free time to explore the city and relax before starting the teaching part of the project.
Until next time,