Just Can’t Stop Smiling by Leo Monkey

April 30, 2012

They say time flies when you’re having fun, and being here is certainly no exception to that rule. Each day, as we walk (or unicycle) down to EWSCF, past the many market stalls, the main square, the chapel wallahs, chickens, tourists and temples, we find ourselves exclaiming about the date; surely we haven’t missed a day again!

The children, however, are proof that we have indeed been here for two weeks. The skills are being picked up incredibly quickly, accompanied by wide grins of pride and satisfaction, from both pupils and teacher. From the dedicated unicyclists to the high skilled jugglers to the acrobats back-flipping off furniture, the enthusiasm to ‘play circus’ is undeniable. Even the three year olds, between spinning plates and attempting diabolo, will give handstands and cartwheels a valiant effort.

But it’s not just the smiles of the Edith Wilkins children that we’ve had the honour of sharing this week. We’ve also done two outreach shows. The first one, at the Salvation Army’s school for the deaf, was received with much laughter and a flurry of expressive dancing hands, despite missing out on the music. The second, at Holy Angel’s school, was enjoyed so much, that at one point Charlotte was bombarded with half the audience determined to help the ‘sweet scatty lady’ pick up her 15 juggling clubs.

Not only were the kids in uncontrollable hysterical laughter, but the nuns and teachers were joining in call and response in full force – so much so that after the usual invitation of tea and biscuits, they said goodbye with a loud enthusiastic ‘Honk honk, ding-a-ling’ and a command that PWB MUST come back next year!

And so, another week is complete. New skills learnt, more children inspired, and the team, tired, but content and smiling!


Imly’s First Impressions of Darjeeling

April 23, 2012

So, PWB 2012 has “Honk Honk Ding-a-Ling” ‘d it all the way to the mountains of Darjeeling.  The first thing that struck us all was the welcome change in temperature, fresh breezes brushing our faces as we wound our way through the tea farms up the hills to Darjeeling.  The second, as we arrived at the apartment that is our home for the next month,  was the calm that pervades over the upper part of the town.  Due to the narrow and poorly maintained roads (the monsoon season is long up here and washes away roads at quite a rate apparently), there is very little traffic compared with noisy, jam-ridden Kolkata.  People walk places mostly, often carrying the hugest loads that are just supported by a strap around the forehead and whatever it is they are carrying. I think the winner so far is a full sized wardrobe carried in this manner!

After a short break for the team, which saw us all off on different adventures (ask individuals for more details!), we gathered ourselves together for our third and final project, which kicked off in traditional PWB style with a show at our chosen charity for the whole of this month, Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation (EWSCF).  We loaded ourselves up with hoops, unicycles, and large bags of kit for the show, and as we trekked down the hill and through town, we were followed by a quiet babble of voices, occasionally picking out words such as “circus’ and “cycle”…Yes, PWB were back again, and the locals knew it!

PWB did their first project at EWSCF last year, having only performed there the year before – and our show was very well received by the extended EWSCF family who even sat through the fog and drizzle to see the end of our show.  Some of the adults even wondered if we had added to their ongoing building works by digging a tunnel for our “twins” to run through (we hadn’t if you don’t know the show).  Our first week of teaching over, we have now met over 90 children whom either live at or visit the drop-in centre at EWSCF.  All are eager to learn, pushing the team to find ways to teach and entertain 90 children in the same space at the same time.  In just a week they have begun to show off their new skills. Overcoming their initial shyness they are learning new tricks at an astounding rate.  Favourite props have begun to emerge – Diabolo and Hoop as always, are the main contenders.  Unicyclists wobble up, down and through the yard with various rates of success. A yard which is full to brimming with hula-hooping, juggling, plate spinning, diabolo-ing children and young people aged between 3 and 18.  Some new arrivals at EWSCF this week were greeted with this sight, a mixture of surprise, confusion and intrigue on their faces, which soon turned into excitement as they got involved with the circus classes that day.

We had time in our first fews days here to perform for another local and well established charity Hayden Hall. They run various projects supporting old people, women and children that live below the poverty line in the Darjeeling area.  Faces kept appearing round the door as we prepared for our show, intrigued by the various props and warming-up that was going on.  Then our audience flooded in, led by members of the Burns Club (men and women aged 65+).  The hall quickly filled with a 400 strong audience aged 3-86, and a fantastic audience they were too!  From the earnest clapping and wow-ing of some of the youngest in the audience to the heartfelt gratitude and amazement that Kaluman Thami (aged 70) had a volunteer translate to us (he hadn’t seen things like we did in our show even on the TV and he didn’t even know some of these things  we did were possible!) another PWB show was truly well enjoyed by both team and audience. All in all, a fantastic first week’s work, I reckon!Image


April 20, 2012

Woo woo woo ppbblllllrrrrr‘ is the sound of all emotions, situations, excitements or disappointments, and with the sound comes the motion waving one hand in a big circle with your index finger pointing out in the air.

Woo woo woo’ is often seen as the sound for excitement as it is easy to pronounce and project and comes quite naturally when being…excited!

‘Ppbblllllrrrr’ on the other hand can be interpreted as the negative, sad, ill or sullen type of sound. It is a sound you make by sticking your tongue out at the same time as you take a big breath and exhale, often with a great amount of saliva splashing on everyone in your surroundings (also known as blowing raspberries).

These sounds and these movements allows and enables you to P-W-Be whatever you want and to P-W-Be whatever you can. It does not matter to the team, they will join in if you are happy, sad, sullen or ill – after a few rounds of ‘woo woo woo ppbblllllrrr woo woo woo ppbbllllllrrr’ you will feel refreshed and you will feel cared about, you will feel  part of a team, as part of a family.

Woo woo woo ppbblllllrrrrr’ never fails, no matter what subject, intentions or feelings – it will make you smile.

PWB Rap by Tom Barker

April 12, 2012

In between the busy schedule of teaching, performing and practising, we like to have a bit of additional fun. A few weeks ago we set each other challenges, Tom’s being to write and film a rap about PWB. It didn’t get into the video, so here are the lyrics, we’ll let your imagination do the rest: Enjoy! 


We came to India to teach the kids,

flew on a plane, that’s what we dids!

We bought loads of props!

Those things you drops!

Hula hoops, diabolos don’t phase the Cops!


PWB is a charity

founders Matt Morris and Jonny Baby.

Now there’s Mystic D,

Jess and Char-lot-Te,

Tom, Gottfried, Leo and Emily.


We made a show,

ya know how it goes

Mystic D freezes and goes slow mo!


S-L-O-W   M-O-W!


Stop! Banana time!


So many kids here

that need our help.

Got no fancy clothes,

aint got no wealth.

Now I articulate 

that what you donate

goes to help the kids.

That’s really great!


P.W.Be whatever you want!

P.W.Be the best that you can be!

P.W.Be an inspiration to the kids!

P.W.Be the change you want to see!