November 12, 2007

In the morning scrub everything clean
turn it out
beat it down
Our cricket pitch –
dustbath with holes –
where the dogs sleep.  We sweep.
Every tumbling leaf is vanished

Holyday is no holiday
PWB play circus.
PWB play face painting.
PWB play pleasecanyoudoashowforthevisitors
PWB play it well.
PWB beam our sweaty faces around
and drink fresh juice
PWB finish.
Deepwali Puja begins…

The festival of lights
Brights on every window ledge
balcony edge
buried in the sand
sneaky in the trees all around.

The festival of sugar
Sweetness & light
Syrupy smiles
Sticky hands are never satisfied
-still grab for more than they should.
As if it is expected?

Dance for your dinner
We firedance off into the night.


Invisible city

November 2, 2007

A low distant clatter, Mr JCB
Yanking open the earth’s dusty eyes
Small voices nearby
Names yelled out in chorus
Prodding.  Sleep.  Away
Running water
Eyuw eyuw eyuw
The early morning peacock yell
My splintered dreams know it well
From my balcony bed
Mosquito net (invisible tent)

You should see us all in our invisible city
Tentish devices
Comfort contraptions
Our see-through community, temporary housing project

Pack it away for the new day

After the sun…

The invisable tents come to play
A herd of different sizes all
Sharing the same night sky
A low red moonface
And the honking goose in the tree


A day at Karm Marg

November 1, 2007

I wake to the sounds of birds and children going about their morning chores, diggers yawning into motion on the dusty farmland around.  Morning yoga on the balcony in the hazy air breaths fresh life into my limbs.  We take tea and breakfast (beaten rice with turmeric and onion) and digest the newspaper.

The children have a school holiday and so a cricket match takes shape – 10 overs each of lost balls, over-ruled decisions and playground tactics.  Warming up in the shape I spy bright parakeets flapping above me – stay focussed.  We develop ideas for a skipping workshop and explore tumbling and juggling through the rope.

We rest listening to the guitar class that is in full swing under a tree.  Emily, Jonny and I pass clubs for a while and draw a small crowd: the lads who work the screenprints and the women from the village who come to use the sewing machines also seem to have the day off.  A few of the older boys join in and an impromptu club swinging session ensues.  I am continually inspired by the rate at which these children learn; Vikranta, Vinod and Rajesh pick up wrist wraps in seconds.

We eat a lunch of rice and dahl on the grass and discuss how we can best approach todays workshops – emphasize inclusion and involvement.  We consider how to use our resources and designate roles for all the team to support the workshop leaders.

We begin with a group warm up and game to stretch our bodies and minds.  The kids are full of passion and energy, and have extraordinary characters.  Todays scheduled workshops are contact juggling, hula hoop and diabolo.  The contrast in atmosphere from one group to another is huge; from the calm circle palming and rolling balls; to the whipping of diabolos and Steve’s teaching style and the hip shaking hula.

After workshops free time commences, a whirl of juggling balls, skipping ropes and excited children.  Time for tea and biscuit, and a team debriefing of how each workshop went.  An evening meal of chapatis and vegetables is filling and satisfying.  Back in the team room a video and power-cut are the staple before bed.  Hot masala tea and biscuit lull me gently to sleep under the stars, ready for another day.