Lima hospital escort was not only a photographer….but, coincidentally, a clown himself
When the four Caring Clowns International clowns arrived at the Instituto de Salud del Niño San Borja (Children’s Hospital) in Lima, Peru on the first day of their 10 day medical mission they were introduced to David Mata. David is the hospital’s photographer and video editor, part of the hospital’s communications office. He was a tremendous asset, helping CoCo, Flora, Duffy and Rose more easily find their way around the hospital and gaining access into each department. And, it helped that he spoke wonderful English, another “gift” for the four non-Spanish speaking clowns who would have struggled on their own in the large 700-bed hospital.
Very quickly, the four clowns learned that their escort was more than an expert guide. He was a very talented and gifted photographer….and a clown himself!!
David’s “career” as a clown began in 2010, when as a volunteer he was visiting the hospital and saw hospital clowns. “From that moment,” he said, “I wanted to be a hospital clown” and “Poyoyo” (or Dr. Poyoyo when in smock) was born.
Poyoyo founded 3.16 Payasos de hospital (loosely translated as 3.16 Hospital Clowns) which is run through his church, Biblical Church Emmanuel. In addition to the Children’s Hospital, the group regularly visits hostels, nursing homes and another hospital in Lima.
Poyoyo also teaches a clown workshop, the most recent one scheduled for next month where they are hoping to add to their 15-member organization. Aspiring clowns must complete a 10 class workshop, held every Saturday over 2 ½ months.
CoCo, Flora, Duffy and Rose immediately established a bond with the young and talented Poyoyo. “His photos were exceptional and really captured our connection with the children at the hospital,” said Caring Clowns International Jed “Duffy” Selter, President of the organization. “While everyone else was taking very staged and posed photos with their cell phones, David found interesting angles and moments with that Nikon of his.”
The four clowns’ only disappointment was that they were unable to participate in David’s surprise engagement event being held the day after they were flying back to the States. David arranged a surprise proposal to his girlfriend Jenna “Pepa”. The proposal was held on the steps of the Children’s Hospital immediately following the group’s visit there on January 22.
The rest of the 3.16 Hospital Clowns were “in” on the surprise as David flipped through a series of hand-written and romantic hand-drawn flip cards conveying his love for his future bride to be.
“We are very indebted to David for not only helping guide us to the various departments within the hospital but for his sense of humor, and his unique gift of capturing amazing photos of us with the children and their families,” said Duffy. Caring Clowns International gave Poyoyo balloons, pumps, red noses and other supplies to help in next month’s workshop and made him an honorary member of Caring Clowns International.
“We sincerely hope that he’s with the hospital again next year when we return,” said Duffy. “He’ll be a friend for life and we wish him and Jenna (Poyoyo’s fiancee) ) a lifetime of happiness and happy clowning. We welcome them both as members of our Caring Clowns International family.”