It´s quiet here right now and most of the computers are free. After a long day of clowning and classes, I should go shower and get to bed, but I feel the need to share a couple of stories, and I´ll try to do so quickly.
After three days of clowning in places most people will never get to see, I have come to really realize the importance of love, laughter and compassion, and the healing power these qualities possess. Once you see this as I have, you realize how lacking these qualities really are in our society. This week, I´ve seen smiles appear on faces once blanketed in sadness, sickness and despair like a bright sun rising after years of darkness. It´s amazing and magical.
Unfortuntely I don´t have time for details now, but I want to share two wonderful moments that have happened so far this week.
The first was in La Carpio Barrio, the poorest section in Costa Rica. As I mentioned in my previous blog, the Barrio houses 35, 000 people and the residents are considered outcasts. The place is a place no human being should ever have to live in, yet they do….2 generations since the Barrio was developed.
In this Barrio, my first day clowning here, I saw many things that just broke my heart and hurt my soul in knowing that we as a human race let such places exist, but it was also here that I was blessed by the generous act of small child. Maria Carmen, maybe 7 years old at most, living in poverty. After she and her siblings were loved by the craziness of clowns, she went into her “home” and returned with 4 pieces of cardboard. On each cardboard piece there was a drawing. We were told that Maria aspired to be an artist and these were some of her paintings. Maria wanted to give her paintings to the clowns for coming out to see her and her family. Here was this little girl with nothing in her life to show as her own but these cardboard paintings, and she wanted us to have them. I was one of those clowns. I can´t explain the emotion I felt at such a selfless, generous act, but I know I was touched by an angel. Maria´s painting is now one of my cherished possessions.
My second wonderful moment, out of many of course, was today at the mental hospital. I was in the women´s ward and we had all been having a great time, dancing, laughing, singing and just being crazy, no pun intended. There was one particular woman that was just having a blast with us! She was carrying a journal with her and she showed me a couple of poems she had written. They were poems of strength, of hope, and courage to persevere. I was amazed. She then showed me that she had started writing her life story and she hoped that I could read it. Of course, I was unable to at that time, but I told her that she was a wonderful poet and that her poems belonged in a book for everyone to read. I totally meant every word as I was touched by the words of this woman living in a mental hospital. She said she would like that, and I told her that I believed that if she really wanted it, it could happen. Well, the clowning continued and a while later she comes up to me and puts a bookmark in my hand. She tells me it´s a gift. She said that every time I use the bookmark, it would remind me of her, and that someday I can use it when I read her book.
She might never write a book. For all I know, she may never leave that hospital, but for a moment, those few moments together, she became a writer, a poet not a mental patient. And I was blessed to be able to help make that happen with a hug and a smile and a few words of encouragement.