As many of you have probably seen in pictures and video, this week for Art Therapy we blew up balloons and had the kids identify one or several things they are scared of to draw on the balloon. I love the extent to which they get immersed in their drawings. There are some really incredible artists!
We explained to the kids that this would be an exercise to help them understand we have some control over what we fear. Then they got to run around and stomp on the balloon, destroying their fear. They loved this. We loved it. We went over 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of instruction” and prayed together asking God to give us peace and comfort when we are confronted with things that scare us.
If any of you are wondering what the kids drew, I’ll indulge you. There were pictures of snakes, elephants, lions, dogs, ghosts, witch doctors, soldiers, guns, fighting, and even a few cars. Oh, and I can’t forget that there was one Godzilla.
It was a great week and things definitely went more smoothly than last week, but I thought I would share a few things I’ve learned as an Art Therapy intern.
Things get lost in translation: At one of the schools we are provided with a translator and at the other we’re totally on our own. Last week at the school with a translator the boys and girls were in separate groups, but both were given the instruction to create a timeline of important events in their life. The boys did this. But for whatever reason all the girls drew pictures of churches and/or their mothers. We have no idea what happened. At the school without a translator we did our best to slowly and simply explain that they were to draw their fears or things they were scared of on balloons. A few minutes into the activity we noticed they were drawing things like chickens, flowers, food, etc. I managed try and redirect them by acting out/using the example of a snake and then I think they understood but…
Don’t use examples: Then there were snakes on every balloon. Not that snakes aren’t scary, or common here, but it doesn’t give us much to work with when it comes to sharing time.
Get used to being a spectacle: I don’t know what I was expecting. A classroom? An office space? A cleared spot of land? Well, we take to art therapy sessions in a grass field or spare hut/gazebo thing where LITERALLY hundreds of children who were not selected to be a part of the art therapy group (Oh how I wish we had the manpower and supplies to work with all the students, but there are 800 of them) crowd around and watch. It’s only a little bit distracting…
Don’t ask for privacy: We told our translator to kindly ask the onlookers to leave so the kids could have some privacy during the session. The translator said something in Luo to the masses and then we observed some older kids out of nowhere pick up sticks and begin whipping people with it as everyone ran away. Oops. Didn’t mean to inflict violence on anyone (not that anyone appeared hurt)! But I didn’t see anyone draw a person with a stick on their balloon, so it must be a cultural thing.
I would write about what Clayton is doing, but he would do a much better job of explaining it, so once he’s recovered from his sinus cold (not fun or expected, but he’ll take it over malaria) I’ll bug him to write a blog.
We LOVE our team, continue to believe in the incredible vision and work of Child Voice, and are committed to finding more ways to serve the community here and immerse ourselves in the culture during the day. We love and miss Gateway, all our friends, family, and co-workers back home! We’re thinking and praying for you.