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Thread: Crackin on in Freetown
Date Posted: 2004-01-20 06:59:48
Well Im still here which almost classifies as a miracle, after a homesick filled Christmas period Ive finally settled into some real work. And while it is extremely slow and frustrating I actually feel like were starting to get somewhere.
The past month and a half there has been planning and then re-planning and then restrategizing. Till weve finally come up with a plan that looks like its going to work. Im running theatre based workshops in a whole stack of local schools, which is proving really interesting. The kids in Sierra Leone have a very different view of the world given the history that they have managed to live through and this comes through in the stories they are starting to tell. Ive got another 5 weeks to work with these schools so Im hoping within that time we will be able to cook up some interesting performances.
Another interesting shift in the program is that we have been approached by the Special Court (which is the Sierra Leone War Crimes Tribunal) to undertake workshops with young people to development awareness of what special court is and also to facilitate a creative expression of their response to it. The work we create with the kids will be presented at the launch of the court in March. And I was really impressed when I realized that Geoffrey Robertson was the presiding Judge of the Appeals court!
So for the next few weeks Im dashing all over Freetown hanging out with lots of kids which is doing wonders for my fan base kids from every second house are calling my name and waving as I walk down the street.
The staff have also asked me to do a whole stack of skills development stuff with them, so weve been working through a bit of project planning and budgeting skills for an HIV/AIDS awareness program. Again its been really interesting to start discussing issues like HIV/AIDS with these guys. Peacelinks have been running sensitization programs for a few years now but just in talking with the staff I realized how little they actually knew about the disease and how many misconceptions they hold. I dont profess to be any kind of expert on HIV/AIDS or on anything much for that matter but here knowing a little bit is a lot more than knowing next to nothing, so I keep having to assume the role of teacher, explaining details about HIV and STDs.
So thats kinda where its at at the moment. If you want more goss or to check out some of the photos Im also keeping a travelog at www.travelpod.com. Just look in the Whos Traveling list on the right hand scroll bar and look for Geppa66. Let me know if you want to know more about whats going on out here. Cheers Gemma
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Out There and Everywhere Young and Emerging Artists Initiative re our young leaders in residencies overseas in 2003.