It has been 4 months almost to the day since the 2012 PWB team met up in Mumbai for the start of this year’s tour. It seems to have flown by and we find ourselves asking each other “Is this really the end?” and saying “I don’t want it to finish now!”. Our tour has taken us from our bootcamp in the sunny south, the state of Karnataka, on through ancient Varanasi and metropolitan Kolkata, to finish in the cool and tranquil mountains of the north, in Darjeeling. And what a journey…36-48 hour train journeys across the plains and jungles of India, the logistics of cramming between 6 and 8 performers and their 3 unicycles and 15 assorted bags into train compartments, much to the amusement of the rest of the carriage. Not to mention getting 7 of us into 1 rickshaw in Kolkata, seeing how many children you can fit onto one bicycle (record stands at 3 children plus Leo as pilot,in Varanasi).
We have performed a total of 22 shows in as many different locations over the last 4 months, and across 3 different states of India. The show has been re-worked twice, with many more last minute adjustments due to sickness! We have worked with 13 different organizations performing shows and leading workshops. This includes our 3 main partner organizations this year – Asha Deep in Varanasi, Future Hope in Kolkata, and Edith Wilkins Street Children Trust (EWSCT) in Darjeeling. We have performed to over 2000 people and around 400 of those have had a chance to try circus and performance skills with us. In our 3 main projects, more than 150 children have learnt new skills and improved on their existing ones, gained confidence and enjoyment from their time with PWB.
Over the last few months, our team has gotten to know each other better and better. Our strengths (Leo and Jess can sleep through pretty much anything) our weaknesses (biscuits), our likes (Tom likes farting loudly, especially in the morning) our dislikes (Gottfried prefers not to be spoken to in the mornings, at least until he’s had coffee). As a team we have battled sickness, haggled with numerous taxi and rickshaw drivers and asked directions countless times (often for the driver, who invariably doesn’t know the way after all). We have celebrated birthdays and un-birthdays, learnt new skills – from cartwheels to chapati making- and shared many meals together – from more-than- you-can- comfortably-eat Thali’s to home-made Falafel.
In short, we have formed our own little family, led by 3 different ‘mums’ on each of the 3 projects (well done to Tom, Darren and Gottfried for taking on this role), and all of us taking the part of excited, playful, mischievous, enthusiastic ,noisy and at times annoying, children. We have laughed, shouted, sung, argued, giggled, unicycled, skipped, and stumbled through the good times and the challenging ones. Now the 2012 project is finished, we go our own separate ways and our little family becomes part of the ever expanding Performers Without Borders family. From us all in the 2012 team, thank you to all those who have supported us, you have helped to make this tour a fantastic success. Thank you to all those who read our blogs, watch our videos and look at our pictures, we hope we have given you a taste of what we’ve been up to the last 4 months. Feel free to share it all with your friends and keep spreading the word! And for now we say a big goodbye and HONK HONK DING-A-LING!!!