2018 Romania, clowns without borders

Uta Strack, Mia Rohrbach, Peter Kisters, Michael Dietrich, Vera Lohmüller (photographer)

Romania . and we are right in the middle

The suitcases are packed, the show is up and your nose is sitting. Yesterday we went to Romania. Our photographer Vera Lohmüller is new to the team.

At our benefit on Wednesday, she was able to take a warm snap and it quickly became clear: Sometimes only the camera mode helps us – to capture our agile, almost athletic movements. : 0)

The weather in Romania welcomes us, it smells of wet road and smoke from the fireplaces. Our path is lined with the lush green of the hills, herds of goats and blooming meadows. In the middle of it all, 4 clowns and a new photographer… Bună ziua România… we are back!

Accompany us on our adventure – far from the expansion routes in Romania. Today we play the first 3 shows. Read on Facebook or on our brand new homepage at:

Romanian team 2018 (02.06.-18.06.2018)
Uta Strack, Vera Lohmüller, Peter Kisters, Michael Dietrich and sincerely your Mia Rohrbach

Away from the city – in the middle of life!

Green meadows, colorful flowers, two horses jump with their foals across the field against the background of the mountains lying in the light fog. This idyll, very close to the popular tourist destination of Sighisoara with the supposed birthplace of Count Dracula, is the first venue for our Romanian tour in 2018. According to our cooperation partner Liviu Tudosi from the organization Perspective Danes, the settlement of Romas was deliberately pushed to the outskirts for whom life in Romania is not made easy. Excluded and discriminated against, they try to stay afloat with jobs, for example on the nearby garbage dump or picking strawberries in Germany. Due to established caste systems within the Romas, the poor often lack the support in their own settlement, so that they officially like to deny their origin.

The children are usually left behind, who have to take care of siblings or grandparents alone – and have no time and motivation to go to school. This is exactly where Livio and his team come in, offer supervised children’s camps and afternoon childcare, bring children and adults together with special events in schools and positively fill the places of education with free meals or donations of clothes and goods. With a lot of patience, some confident developments in the social and educational situation can already be observed.

Thanks to Dane’s perspective, we have landed in three places worthy of support today, full of energy and looking forward to playing for and with the children, young people and adults. Accompanied by our music, the residents followed us to a field, to a stream and to a sheltered spot under trees to take them into a world of magic and lightness for about an hour and to give them memories of a special day. On our side were the rain clouds, who were excited about what was going on underneath, held back all their droplets and cleared the way for some of the sun’s rays to our show. Only when we were at home with Livius’ family and were deliciously traditionally catered for and maintained, did the clouds pour the landscape beneath them.

The show is great fun again. The scenes that have been well recorded since the last trip create a wide range of emotions and the new soap bubble scene creates amazement and movement in the audience – gladly towards the stage, to be the first to come into contact with the glittering creatures that disappear as quickly as possible they showed up. What remains is the sparkle in the eyes of the children, who, as so often, hardly want to let us go, play with us until the very end and still wave for a long time when we leave. Enchant places, make young and old laugh and leave positive energies – that’s why we are here and look forward to the next 16 days in Romania.

Life is a festival – let’s dance

Yes it has to be! Turning twice from the main road, which also leads through the tourist metropolis of Sighisoara, we arrive in Albesti (Weißkirch). We stop in front of the yellow "House of Light" for people with special needs. The name of the first venue – seems to be the program today.

Our three venues – in and around Sighisoara – give us sunny, warm and touching moments with these people today. People who are on the margins of society due to their physical or mental limitations, their parentlessness or their ethnicity. You will find support and recognition in the two curative education homes and in the Veritas Foundation.

The head of the Veritas Foundation tells us that many children with special needs wake up at home. They would not visit any institution or school: the social component, education and support would be neglected.

She is all the more grateful that she can provide afternoon care for Roma children, care for particularly needy adults, care for orphans, a range of services for the elderly and various prevention courses through donations in her house. She notes that changes in social interaction can be recognized in a relatively quick time.

"Spectacular," is the cry of a spectator today who calls out his enthusiasm for the clowns. Indeed, one employee says: "Spectacular how clowns can do with a few words in Romanian to find a way to all these people in such a short time."

Even if they can only watch our show from a care bed in the corridor through a glass pane.

Even if some seem to be stuck in their own thoughts. At some point you can conjure up a smile and find a way to each other.

And what a gift for us to get these children made clown pictures! The borders have disappeared. We shake hands … sometimes very carefully … sometimes determined. Someone turns a resident’s favorite music out loud after the show. Music echoes from old boxes through the all-glass-enclosed dining room … we dance and laugh … safely for an hour.

Human … animal … and the magic of the old country

Today we were in Bunesti. A school in the so-called old country – a part of Transylvania. Many Roma children attend classes here. 100 eager children and 10 (initially skeptical looking) teachers are already waiting for us. The school yard provides the ideal backdrop for our appearance. The curtain fixed between two trees, the red showcase draped, a circle of spray chalk and our stage is ready. The show starts. Everyone is excited. We can still have a look in the classrooms after the show. “How to be a clown” is on the curriculum in every room. The children are full of joy and receive red painted noses for passing the “exam”.
Karin Morth, gave us the contacts today. She welcomes us after the show and accompanies us to the nearby town of Roades. We have known her from last year. Karin – and her husband Michael – are leading the projects of Fundatia Tabaluga, the Romanian branch of the Peter Maffay Foundation in the Transylvanian (former) Saxon village of Radeln in Romania, where Roma live predominantly today. In the former Evangelical rectory, the headquarters of the foundation, we are received like old acquaintances and taken care of with Transylvanian home cooking.
Karin and Michael are Transylvanian Saxons themselves. They grew up in the Hermannstadt district and emigrated to Germany with their families in the 1980s. They returned to Transylvania about 8 years ago and since then have been taking care of the local foundation projects (schooling – after school of the village children, the children’s holiday home for traumatized children, farm, medical center, guest house …). In the wonderfully renovated old rooms of the facility, we enjoy the breaks between our performances during informative discussions. What we immediately noticed in cycling … the new asphalted access road replaces the pothole-strewn way from before, the house water connections of the villagers, new wooden wells – something positive is happening in this village … that is clearly noticeable.
We play the second show for the guest group in the Tabaluga holiday home. A platform has been created here on which traumatized children, adolescents or adults from home and abroad can go on vacation to recover from their everyday life. In a particularly protected setting, we play for the adult group of Fundatia Rafael from Codlea, people with special needs – or should I say, for those with special talents, to laugh really hard?
Show ready: Homemade apple pie, homemade elderberry syrup, coffee: enthusiasm and let’s go!
The last appearance of the day is animal. Again horses are standing on the meadow next to the village square where we hang up our curtain and during the show a cow and a foal look past on the stage. We roam the place with our song and are surrounded by people of all ages. The oldest spectator speaks German, is 84 years old and has countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren. One of them cuddles on Grandma’s lap. Together they follow the show and laugh heartily together. "You woke up the child in me …" we are told afterwards. What joy!
So now we sit, squeezed on the front seat of our bus and write in our "office". Michi sits to my left and drives us 130 kilometers to our next performance site – back to Sibiu. Vera is sitting to my right and is looking for the best pictures from thousands of wonderful moments. That is also part of our trip. Report back. Say what you experience and how it is on site. Today I almost miss the words for what I have experienced and hope – I can give you a little impression.
Cordially Mia

Status games are just great.

Today we were expected in the green church castle Hammersdorf. As in the previous year, the school management had invited many children from the area to our shows. And like last year, we and the children were warmly welcomed … Hospitality is very important here.

Between the church and the school there is a beautiful inner courtyard with large old linden trees that gave us shade and our clowns without borders held banners and the curtain. There we played for the schoolchildren of the German School, the public school in Hammersdorf and children from a children’s home in Sibiu.

Everyone knows status roles from birth … they always work. The parent-child role, the teacher-student relationship, are you the first to go through the door or do you give way? It is best to use these roles, or the high or low status, as a clown.

In the second group in the afternoon, the majority of the group was teenage boys. It was clear to you that suppressing a laugh was not easy to keep cool. They were thrilled when Albastru (blue) commanded his assistant Mov (purple) with his pipe through the area and visibly enjoyed it when Mov gave him an apocalypse. Our viewers immediately take the side of the clown in low status. Not everyone knows – that you sometimes lose out, have a hard time in life or the world around you is unfair? You can identify with us, our concept works!

I find the looks and the astonishment exciting that female clowns – Rosu (red) and Mov – are shown to us when we show ourselves confidently and equally towards our male clowns Albastru and Verde (green).

But that’s the way it is all over the world … what appreciates it teases … with great emotions: as with Rosus and Albastrus love number and Verdes and Movs soothing soap bubble magic. So we get them all: children, teenagers, teachers, educators, older people … just nice ….

Kind regards from Hammersdorf

Day 6: Protocol Clovni – a day on the road.

7:00 The alarm clock rings
7:15 am Check emails if there is anything new from local contacts.
7:20 Get the costumes out of the hotel dryer and hope they still fit
7:30 meeting for breakfast
8:30 In the costume, make-up, hairstyle … hair spray (a lot! It should last for four shows) and off you go.
9:00 am Get on the bus – 12 KM to Cisnadie: Arrive, find a contact person, check out the venue, set up, check photo rights and get information about the target group

10:00 APPEARANCE 1: "Scoala Cisnadie" (kindergarten and primary school) – therefore shorten the show a little because of the attention span of such young viewers – shortcut plan. 75 spectators: moving in – playing – moving out – painting noses – warm encounters – farewell
Dismantling, loading the bus
11:20 Coffee with the director: We learn that many children attend school, their families have little money and therefore they have very little cultural experiences: "It is very special for our children"
12:10 pm drive to Hammersdorf
12:30 Unpack the bus, set it up, get information about the next group of spectators, check photo rights, re-equip the suitcase, make up

13:05 PRESENTATION 2: "Scoala 20" from Sibiu 60 spectators: Moving in – playing – moving out – painting noses – warm encounters – goodbye: joy about the second wonderful performance of the day. Re-equip the case for Show 3
14:00 Lunch from school lunch: There is soup with lots of vegetables and potatoes with chicken and lots of coleslaw: Get information about the kids we are playing for.
14:45 Make-up, dressing, shaking off the midday low

3:00 PM APPEARANCE 3: 50 spectators from the local afterschool projects, a kindergarten and a school class: move in – play – move out – paint your nose – warm encounters – so nice – goodbye: equip your suitcase for Show 4
16:00 Dismantling: A warm farewell to Hammersdorf. Wonderful place – wonderful people – wonderful memories. Thank you!
16:10 Load the bus and off you go – 30 KM – to Orlat to a children’s home. Start blog, start sorting out photos … marvel at the wonderful landscape full of storks! Masses of storks!
16:40 Arrival at the home for abandoned children. We are told that many parents would have emigrated to Germany or other European countries to make money. It makes us think and I think of my strawberry cake from last Sunday – who probably picked the strawberries for it?
Finding contact, making arrangements, building up, putting on make-up: IT’S RAINING: change the plan, we play indoor.

17:30 PRESENTATION 4: 100 home children and their caregivers. The children and teenagers know us from last year and are excited. Full of anticipation! Almost out of control. We succeed in bringing calm and concentration into the hall. Play consciously small and calm. Warm laughter and joy in the room.
18:10 After the end they are in contact with us. We are surrounded by 100 children and 200 children’s hands asking us to touch them. Everyone wants attention. Wants to be close to us We can’t give that much love …
18:30 time for the departure. Farewell: children’s hands through the fence. Hold us tight. Don’t want to let us go …
… A bus with four clowns, a photographer… silence on the way to dinner…. Thoughtfulness … with some there are tears … That is also part of traveling. Sometimes it’s a really thick pack.
6:55 pm Dinner and meeting: We are sitting together. Talk about what happened. That feels good. It’s such a great team to know you. We reflect on the day and plan tomorrow.
21:00 arrival at the hotel. TAKE A SHOWER! Time for the blog. Sort out images. chatter.
11:00 p.m. Bed time. And I send a few more questions into the universe … that arise after such a day. Good night Romania. I’m looking forward to tomorrow!
sincerely
Mia

And the marmot greets you every day

As a photographer in Romania. The task: Documenting a clown show – again and again, for 17 days, two to four shows a day. A very special order.

The audience is already ready. Music sounds and there the four clowns come – very fresh, very sparkling, now. The show is good. Everything included: a little love, poetry, power games between the sexes, la vie en rose, magic, squid, improvisation and a lemon-yellow granny pant.

There are many moments when the clowns come into direct contact with the children. Sometimes it is children from a kindergarten who squeak with pleasure, but also start to cry when the chase gets too fast. Sometimes there are 16-year-old "gangsters" who yawn very long and extensively when they see the clowns. As soon as "Albastru" in the role of a cat cuddles up to her, they are wide awake – all the coolness melts away. And then a Roma girl looks a little shy at her mother with her amber eyes. Can she laugh now when "Rosu" hits the newspaper "Verde" on the ears and in the next moment wiggles his buttocks violently? Yes, she can and she does it particularly loudly!

I especially love the warmth of the clowns with whom they approach the children. Children who come out of poverty. Children who are marginalized, no longer have parents or are limited by their disability.

The clown approaches her openly. There are moments of deep encounter. Looking into each other’s eyes, understanding? Yes, certainly at this moment – without words. As if to say: I see your suffering and I cannot take it from you. But I look at you and let me touch you, I am completely with you. Now for a moment. And already we laugh, we comfort, we applaud, we dance. Because life is unfortunately like that, but it is always full of wonderful surprises.

"It’s magic" would say "Verde" and "Mov" gives him a huge soap bubble that will burst again the next moment. But it goes on – with curiosity, joy and full of hope. The kids love the clowns.

It’s nice for me to see this show again and again with new eyes and to capture some of these magical moments with the camera.

PS: Today we went deep into the photo archive of our trip and found a few delicacies that we definitely want to keep from you &# 128578;

"Really helping is sometimes uncomfortable."

"Really helping is sometimes uncomfortable," said Jenny Rasche of the Kinderhilfe für Siebenbürgen e.V., who organized yesterday’s, today and tomorrow’s performances. In doing so, she took us to places in and around Sibiu that urgently need support and that have made them a matter of the heart. Just like the people in the Roma settlement of Sura Mare, a suburb of Sibiu. We played there both last year and this year.
Today we learned that after ten years of hard work, most of the houses are completed, most of the men go to work and the children go to school. Respect, Jenny and your team, for your commitment!

For some time now, this commitment has also applied to an orphanage for children with disabilities – disabilities that come from a society that these people cannot or do not want to share in their lives. We meet about 30 children and young people in a large building, some of them freshly renovated with a cozy garden, shady trees and colorful play equipment. Very nice – if not a massive shortage of nursing staff would make the trips to the green outside the front door a rarity.
The children are all the more happy when we set up our stage in their garden, come to us and spend a fun, playful and emotional morning with us.
The interest and joy are unmistakable and are brought to us unfiltered. Our instruments are particularly attractive. Hearing them, looking at them closely, feeling them and playing them yourself was a great need for some. So a boy and I play the love song for Verde and Mov with four hands.

Unfortunately, some children were unable to come into the garden due to their limitations and had to stay in their beds. We were allowed to visit a few of them. So after the show, we took a lot of time for very individual performances in their rooms – to enchant the small worlds with music, singing, soap bubbles and loving touches. I will never forget the beaming faces and the hearts pounding with excitement to the sound of the guitar. A special moment for both sides.

In the afternoon the path led us to the next major project by Jenny and her team. A small Roma settlement at a landfill on the outskirts. The first steps have already been taken. After a few "ass kicks" the children go to school. One of the plans is to move the families to a better place to live, away from all the trash.
We have already been announced and the children are waving happily when we come to the settlement. In the middle of it, in front of a self-made wooden fence, we set up our stage. 30 children, 10 adult women, 3 giant pigs and 1 dog quickly found themselves in the audience as the 4 clowns marched across the wide field with music. A thick black rain cloud is positioned behind the audience – to watch, because it stays dry again when we appear.
Despite the poorest conditions and the most difficult living conditions, you can feel – in contrast to this morning – the presence of family, friendships and home. And how important it is to have someone. Even the giant pig loudly joins in with the love dance of Rosu and Albastru.

Both places need help – which sometimes comes in the form of building renovation, land or houses. But what is still missing are more people who are committed, persistent, persistent and, above all, endure resistance in order to improve the life situations of families. "Really helping is uncomfortable," says Jenny. "It’s worth it." I think.
Michi

Find home and give home

Today the tour planning sends us to Altiana. According to Jenny Rasche one of the largest Roma settlements known to her.

Who are the Romas? The travel guide provides information:

"With over a million people, most European Sinti and Roma live in Romania and represent by far the largest minority in the country … Social and economic discrimination still determine their situation …

Since the name "Gypsy" has a negative connotation in German, it was politically correct replaced by Sinti and Roma. However, avoiding the term is not only controversial among the Romanian Roma, who call themselves “Tigani”.

In the word Roma is the word "rom" German human. "

So we go to a human settlement whose home is determined by economic poverty, oppression and exclusion.

As you drive through the town, the bus wheels spin on steep, muddy terrain. Friendly, curious faces stretch out from the board-shackled little mud huts all around. Word of our arrival spreads quickly. A couple of men quickly pull out a bench and a few chairs. The village children take a seat on it. Older teenagers carry their younger siblings (or are they their own children) in their arms. Some women and men watch the show behind us. A father of 6 children plays a motivated part in our performance.

Contrary to the performances in orphanages or homes, the children here do not try to take possession of every flying balloon and do not hang on our musical instruments at the end of the performance. Apparently family life, even under difficult external conditions characterized by poverty, is a cornerstone of social competence. For us and our spectators, the largest soap bubble on the tour enables it because it is not broken.

In the afternoon we play in the children’s aid center in Transylvania. Many foster children live here in the ages of 2 – 15 years. Former street children, children with and without disabilities from orphanages and homes or other children who cannot remain in their family of origin, which Jenny and Philipp Rasche and their team of carers offer here at home. We play our show on the in-house children’s playground. Then we are invited to dinner together. The noise level of 21 children is only slowly subsiding (including Jenny’s and Philipp’s own children). At the beginning and end of the meal together, as well as with the help of the young people in uncovering and clearing away, it becomes apparent that here too rules of living together are acquired.

When the younger children are put to bed by the employed carers, we also leave the children’s home, the home given to these children.

On the way back I have to think of the text by a German songwriter that has been going through my head all day:

"Home is not a place, home is a feeling …"

I believe I can fly.

It is hot, the sun is shining … we are driving out of Sibiu into the surrounding area … accompanied by the beautiful views of the gentle green hills.

Today Elijah, an Austrian organization, designed our program. We were warmly welcomed and looked after everywhere.

When unloading, I notice that I forgot my squeeze at the hotel today. After the first shock, Mia shakes me in the hand and this time I’m at the start with great freedom of movement … grins.

We first come to Nou, where we play in the school playground for 250 children. Giggling, chuckling, shouting, clapping, singing, laughing, quietly smiling, beaming, then amazed again are the wonderful answer to our show! When we sit in the car afterwards … and suddenly sounds on the radio … I believe i can fly … we are all souls and believe it and sing along with our arms spread wide.

We continue to Casolt, a picture-perfect place, the beautifully decorated old colorful courtyards crumble, the passage through town is unpaved, but that is exactly the charm that captivates us here, as in many other places already seen. Here we play in the small village school. When we run out with music, a giant buzzard circles over us.

"I lost my mother" – announces Michi on the way. The dismay lasts only briefly: thank God only on his drum, the good old gaffa tape is now doing its job.

The third appearance took place at Elijah’s headquarters in Hosmann. Here we play in the social center for younger guests. In the back again, like in the second appearance, thunder and lightning. When we drive home the sky is black … the weather god is on our side.

I think … we can all do a lot … sometimes fly

Learn by playing

Let’s go to the 25th gig. Today we are guests in the elementary school in Nocrich. Shortly before the show begins, the social worker from the Elijah Foundation, whose guest we are today, also brings the children and teenagers from the neighboring school to the schoolyard.

When the younger and older students from the neighboring schools meet, a strange, irritable mood spreads. We start our show in front of about 80 children and teenagers.

Contrary to our previous locations, the enthusiasm does not spill over to all viewers. Some find it cooler to turn their backs on our performance and start disturbing our show from a distance. For the enthusiastic – mostly younger spectators – we play our show – but shorten it and bring it to a good end.

Nevertheless, when I continued my journey, the question remained: How do I get such "game troublemakers" under control ?! What opportunities do the teachers and educators on site have to play with these children in accordance with the rules??

The tension in our first workshop of the Romanian trip, which was to take place in the afternoon with employees of the Elijah Foundation, was even greater due to the events in the morning. After all, the topic of “playing games with each other” was also on the agenda.

Would we reach the educators? Can we give them games that they can use? Games with which they can playfully give children and adolescents an impetus for creative cooperation?

What I learned that afternoon?

That you can trust the character of playing together:

  • We laughed a lot with 12 educators, teachers and psychologists and fun
  • Language is sometimes of secondary importance for playing together.
  • Games are ideal for the sometimes humorous conveyance of (game) regulate
  • We had nice and friendly very quickly Contact to the other players

For me it was a very informative, eventful day today!

A journey in a journey… welcome to Hungary

The trip to Szenterzsebet takes two hours. It is early – too early. We sing to keep us awake. When we finally arrive at Reinhard Mey, Roy Black and Peter Alexander – thank God the trip is over.

Upon arrival, the teachers tell us that the children here only speak Hungarian and actually better English than Romanian. Yes, we are still in Romania, but in Szenterzsebet, in the area mostly inhabited by Hungary.

Of course our show also works non-verbally – but the little viewers are happy about every word in their national language. So we had acquired a good vocabulary in the course of 25 shows: In Romanian … well: "How won so melted" – but wouldn’t it be boring then? So nose up and hop – into a funny jumble of words from Romanian, English and Hungarian. Among other things, the trendy wolf at the animal magic number became a stork! Pure confusion – pure fiasco – a lot of fun!

Today we are accompanied and cared for by Nándi and Boróka from Caritas. Three appearances: in a school yard in Szenterzsebet, in a beautiful, unrenovated Art Nouveau hall of the school in Simenfalva and in a Roma settlement near Odorheiu. The contrast couldn’t be stronger.

The last appearance was particularly impressive. Another Roma village. But it is far from any big city – a different feeling: like a kind of freedom, rooted in its traditions and original. In all the difficult circumstances (the children do not go to school, the parents only find work as day laborers, there is no water and no electricity …) the charisma of the people is very impressive for us: strong, cheeky, bright children’s eyes follow our show. What a place – what a people. Wow.

Our companion Nándi and the pastor of the village – who support the Roma village – invite us afterwards to the community. Nándi plays for us on the oldest organ in the area. The cool, old church room full of sound and an organist full of passion: what a treat after the shimmering heat of the day.

Boróka said: "You can see that you love what you do." What can I say: Yes!

Like the figures in a carillon

The bell towers of Oderhellen ring particularly intensively this morning through the small town and beyond. Reach hundreds of children’s ears that are already looking forward to visiting the clowns in their village, in their school, in their facility. Even if many of them may never have seen a clown. Its Time. For us too. Shortly before the 30th show of our trip, the duvet keeps me a little tighter than the days before. But the anticipation of new unknown venues makes me win the fight against the bedding.

Already in costume, we get into the car and follow Nándi, our local Caritas contact, into the unknown. The certainty of being on the right path increases with the distance to the city, to the surrounding villages, to fasten road. It bumps, curves and wobbles for almost an hour. Until we arrive at a small village again.

In the local school, Caritas offers afternoon care for 30 Roma children who are very happy to take advantage of this offer. Many more children would be interested, but the project does not have the financial means to finance more than two social workers. Our show, on the other hand, is an offer for the whole school with over a hundred children. Everyone can watch and participate. Children from the financially weakest families to the teenagers in the audience who wear thick gold wristwatches. Laughter connects – even across financial boundaries.

The composition of the audience in the next small village in the wider area of ​​Oderheju is similar. Already on the way to the village school we encounter impressively beautiful clothes from Romas of all generations.

In this sense, a colorful audience awaits us. The mood in both morning shows is exuberant, loud, a little wild and full of interactions. The children experience us up close. We play, joke, tease each other – always with the point in mind, long before the game becomes confusing and uncomfortable for the clown. Who likes to be pinched in the nose, which understandably shouts "Push me!" That is why, with a large bundle of experience, go early, in the game and with a beaming smile on both sides.

Today’s third show provides a little relaxation, calm and reflection. In a home for young adults with severe intellectual disabilities, we are reducing our show for the 17 viewers in terms of duration, volume and movement intensity. This is also ensured by the new stage situation for us within two small rooms, which are separated by a double door and serve the audience as a “peephole” for the clown game. Like the figures in a glockenspiel, we appear in different constellations with different scenes in the door and with music, soap bubbles and a bit of slapstick we generate interest, laughter and reactions that are not so easy to recognize at first glance.

The fact that we reached and touched the people in the audience is shown much more clearly in the subsequent small interactions when painting the clown nose, handing out postcards, hugging, sniffing and getting to know each other.

The caretakers of the facility have obviously cleared the small rooms with great effort and created a cozy space for special encounters. We owe this to their flexibility and commitment based on an idea by Boróka, Nándi’s colleague, who continues to accompany us today. She had been working in this home for a few months ago and spontaneously initiated the performance yesterday.

It was nice, it was colorful, it was interesting, it was touching and it was worth getting up early again today. And my bed linen is also soothed at the end of the day, because today I’m back for you earlier than the days before.

Greetings to all readers of our blog – nice that you are accompanying us!
Michi

Day 13: workshop…. with the feeling of freedom

Last year we were told that training is expensive for educators and not affordable for many. To be sustainable, we have two workshops in our luggage this year. Today we stopped in Odorhellen (Odorheiu Secuiesc) for 19 employees and volunteers from Caritas – an all-day workshop on games and improvisation.

We shared the group to play games intensively with Mia and Peter and to improvise actively with Michi and me.

What was the goal of the game workshop? Laughter and lightness. To be in motion and encounter with each other. Fun at failure – in games that can also be dared with children, seniors, adolescents, young adults and people with special abilities. Whether with a lot of experience or with little – courage to try new things, to vary and to try things out. Just fun to play with each other.

Our import part was about being in the moment, not thinking, making mistakes, not evaluating and saying yes to the offers of the other players. We experienced a lot of fun, lively trying out and doing, great openness to all our offers and even more laughter with a wide variety of games, exercises, self-designed pictures and small scenic stories.

Our end together with the swing cloth was funny, happy and lively. We said goodbye.
The feedback from the predominantly female participants, whom we would like to share today, was nice:

– I thought I couldn’t improvise. But today I realized that I do that so often in my job.
– It is a feeling of freedom – to make mistakes and to be happy about them.
– I really enjoyed not being rated.

But the compliment was really touching:
"I released my life force today, which was locked up like in a prison."

generational change

We drove a good three hours after the workshops yesterday so we didn’t have to get out so early this morning. In Alba Julia (Weißenburg) we play in the garden of the orphanage of the “Star of Hope” foundation.

On our penultimate show, too, we reap many laughing faces and delight the spirits of those present:

– Mov found a deep ally in a 16 year old teen

– Rosu (who is celebrating her birthday for the umpteenth time today) gets one again today – particularly beautiful Romanian birthday serenity

– When distributing our postcards, Albastru succeeds in attracting the attention of a boy who has only walked from one corner to the other throughout the show

– and instead of the children who usually like to crush the soap bubbles with their fingers, today (Verde) a dog snaps the soap bubbles away before I can catch them with my hat.

Always the same and always new.

It is the third generation of children and adolescents that Ms. Hüttemann-Boca and your mother have brought here through the adversities of the system.

She tells us that everything started in 1989 with the transportation of aid to Romania. After several aid transports and the realization that working on site with the children and adolescents makes more change, the trained special education teacher finally stayed in Romania. At some point, adverse circumstances prevented the work in Bucharest from continuing. So one day she moved to Alba Julia by train with 60 children in her luggage.

During a tour of the house we learn from Ms. Hüttemann-Boca that the self-painted pictures (scenes from the jungle book, Arielle …) were painted by an artist who took part in the move from Bucharest at the time. He is now a well-known artist here in the country.

We meet a young man in painting clothes. This one too grew up in this house. He helps here with the renovation of the rooms. There is also a medical doctor who shows his attachment to the house in which he grew up by visiting almost daily and performing medical examinations free of charge.

I feel like these stories – like many children when Rosu swallows a whole balloon. How the children’s mouth remains open in amazement – I am amazed at so much powerful, sustainable work in the projects.

We say goodbye to a young girl with special congratulations (not for her birthday but for her upcoming high school graduation). She helps with the care of the younger children. She carries a little girl in her arms – next generation.

We then give our last appearance in Stems in a Caritas children’s home. 16 children live here – for whom we are doing our best again. Afterwards each of us stays in the group a little and enjoys – one last time:

To paint a beautiful red nose and red cheeks (mov)

Let yourself be hugged tightly again (Rosu)

To amaze the children with a magic trick (Verde)

To give the children their own little show appearance (Albastru)

Magical greetings – Peter

We get on our socks …

Our trip in numbers:

6135 photos, 4760 clapping hands, 2380 spectators, 1560 km on the bus, 944 postcards, 500 slices of white bread, 255 sweaty show T-shirts, 225 coffee, 212 storks, 204 times blowing audience, 200 balloons, 195 outdated horse-drawn carriages, 175 photo rights declarations, 132 magic tricks, 130 times make-up, 120 drunk soda cans, 111 portions of cabbage, 33 shows, 33 times the weather, 26 birthday serenades, 15 blog entries, 13 game days, 6 liters of bubble liquid, 4 injured clown limbs, 3 workshops, 1.5 cans of hairspray and lucky that Rosu had 1 lemon granny panties on. "A clown needs a different Unterhosn" once said a very clever person.

The images of poverty and loneliness, which show us how important our work here is, cannot be counted. But the commitment of the people, the laughter, the magic of the encounters, the warmth, the joy, the hugs, the hospitality, the helpfulness and the support that we were given is also infinite.

Thanks to EVERYONE who accompanied us (here in Romania and on the screens at home).

And last but not least to the people who supported our trip with their donation. Let’s keep spreading so much laughter around the world!

The time has come – we get on our socks. The laughter still sounds in us …

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