It is over, the clowning gear is home, and the clowns of are scattered to the winds. “Pelukyta” was off to Miami on his way home, “Sox” was going to another city in Peru to teach English for a month. “Alfredo”, “Duffy” and “Banjo” are home safe in Washington state. But of course the trip is part of the adventure. Just a few highlights!
As we landed in Atlanta the stewardess came on the PA (interrupting my movie) to inform us we would be landing soon and we had to put our tray tables up and to place our seats in the most uncomfortable positions. Some things do translate correctly 🙂
In Atlanta we passed through two checkpoints and were welcomed home by our friends at Immigrations. As we waited for our bags to recheck them onto our last leg to Seattle we had a small incident; as an agriculture dog walked through our bags Banjo asked the armed agent “Could I pet your dog?”. He admits it was his clown that said it because his “normal” brain knew it was wrong as soon as he said it. They let him travel on with the admonishment that Duffy had to keep a closer eye on Banjo.
We arrived in Seattle and were warmly welcomed home by our families, but not so much by the weather. It was snowing and 37 degrees.
SO the trip is over, the good we can do there is not over. This trip was not paid for with the funds you have/will donate. We were 100% supported (flight, hotel and food) by Komedyplast.
We can continue to do good things for the people/organizations we worked with through your donations. The amount of good our dollar does is amplified by the low cost in this country coupled with we have talked to the people who are getting the money; and they are good people doing good things! So I ask if you have not already done it, go to our website and give what you can, it will do good.
Thank you for reading and thank you for all you do to support the work of Caring Clowns International.
Our last day in Peru was a long one; we began with a 6AM (EST) wake up, packed out our rooms, got in clown drove 2 hours through the traffic to a shanty town up high above Lima. We arrived at the top of this shanty area and piled out into a school that was no larger than most American bedrooms. The kids were great we clowned made balloons and generally had fun. It seemed even more special because we knew it was our last clown gig in Peru this trip.
When it was over we all stood in the courtyard and smiled at each other because we knew we had done some good in this country, no matter how small.
We drove (yes 2 hours) back to our hotel showered, declowned and finished packing. Then off to Pizza Hut for a last meal.
Yesterday we were treated to a special place to clown at Cruz Blanca which is a camp for girls aged 4-14 to get away from their homes in the shanty towns on the surrounding hills for two weeks. It is a piece of very nice property, the church bought and donated to a local order of brothers, who built out the facility with donations. These girls have very little in the world, and this place is a couple of weeks away from their lives of living in a shanty. For this wonderful little time it cost $100 dollars per girl. All given by donations. I’ll get back to that…
Interestingly enough the older (16-18 year old) girls working there as volunteers most came from those shanty towns and stayed here as kids and are now giving back for a few weeks each summer.
The girls all wanted hugs from the Payaso’s. We clowned made balloon animals, then went and played with the girls at their tables as they ate lunch and said their prayers.
So back to the little girls, for $100 American dollars a little girl gets to play on the beach, sleep in a clean bed, eat great food and be a kid. If you would like to do something nice go to our website and donate a two week stay for a girl. For every 100 dollars donated CCI will send a girl too. It is not much, but then they don’t have much.
Don’t feel pressured, it is something that touched me and as those of you who know me….
So lets send some girls to camp!
So I realize that most of you reading this know some of the clowns from Seattle, but one you don’t know our international clown, “Sox”.
Known to his mother as Andy Bownds, he is a 22 year old clown from England. Sox found clowning in of all places, an institution of higher learning (go figure). He went to Winchester University and graduated with a degree in Performing Arts and Drama. While there one of his professors gave a presentation on clowning as an art form and Andy said he knew he had found his place. He actually did his final project and dissertation on the art of hospital clowning; that is dedication!
Andy is a fine craftsman at clowning, he is very expressive and he is not afraid to take a fall for a laugh (unlike us old clowns who break more easily) he does magic, juggles very well, but most importantly he CONNECTS with the kids instantly.
Andy has shown his heart on this mission; our leader Jed “Duffy” Selter has been quietly talking with Sox about starting a Caring Clowns International chapter in England. Sox has agreed, not only will it give our mission wider exposure it will also give us other opportunities to help kids around the world.
We look forward to great things from our first international chapter, so if you know Sox, please join me in giving him a fine clown hand(thats the big white one)
So we came back to the hotel and asked the front desk to order a Grande Pizza for us; she did and came to tell us Pizza Hut would be here in 30 minutes, we thanked her and started planning the afternoon gig. Right on time the Papa Johns medium pizza showed up…what. Oh well at least it wasn’t a chicken(clown joke).
We piled into two cabs that Armonizar sent for us. We arrived and walked in to a beautifully decorated area, balloons and crepe paper everywhere. We quickly set up the stage and performed for about 30 minutes (you should know by now, magic, juggling and play) capped by Banjo and Duffy chasing each other around with buckets of “water” and threw it into the audience with fish tied to lines instead of water.
We then made balloons and posed with all of the kids.
So who is this Armonizar?
They are a wonderful organization that we have raised money for in the past to help them take care of uninsured kids. Through our wonderful donors we have helped them replace one dental station and refurbish another.
You see we don’t just make balloon animals(although we are very good at that) we also raise funds to support several organizations. This is one… It was a truly touching day. Both visits today the kids need so much and we can only give a little. But the money we raise helps these kids quality of life so much.
See some of the organizations we support through donations here
This morning we went to clown at Aniquem
This was in a house on a side street, they have a complete rehabilitation center set up. They work with little kids who have been burned. They do all types of therapy from psychological, water therapy, physical therapy other things to help the children recover from their ordeal.
They have their own sewing machines that they use to make the supportive material that is used to support the skin as it heals. A very interesting thing is they make face masks for the children if they have been burned in their face, it helps to hold the scar tissue down as the grafts take hold.
We clowned in the courtyard, made balloons and just clowned. Really we do the same things everywhere we go. That is why they call us clowns 🙂
So as I mentioned earlier we spent some time shopping for clown shoes today. We had one of our doctors(doctor John) who desperately “needed” clown shoes to raise his skills in the operating room.
So we clowns who are all about supporting our Docs pitched in and got him some real cute clown shoes. We presented them to him at the pool tonight and he was so excited he wore them to dinner.
He was a great lead at dinner, doing some wonderful card tricks, although we could not really follow what he was trying to do, we clapped very loud.
He will always be a clown in our eyes, and a surgeon too.
Tomorrow he will be a surgeon, but not today; today he is a clown.
We have two clown gigs tomorrow, the first is a burn unit for children. More about that later.
Tonight it is time to sleep
Well after an hour of putting our lives on the line in Lima traffic, we arrived at the Santa Maria orphanage in the outskirts of Lima. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t Boys Town with Mickey Rooney. We arrived at the gate and were let in(finally) and parked. The boys were everywhere and they were glad to see us, the clowns of CCI had been here before.
The children were elated to watch the show we put on; lots of magic, clowning and smiles. Everything went well until we handed out the balloon swords; then sword fights ensued and there were many balloon injuries.
It was fun for us and for them.
These kids have nothing and this was probably a treat for them.
We don’t have a gig until 3PM,so this morning we got in a taxi (how many clowns can you fit in a taxi) and went clown shoe shopping in old Lima.
It was quite an experience, we walked through shopping areas winding in and out to look at clown and party stuff. It was two or three aisles of this stuff. We finally entered the place we were looking for through a little door(really) and the five of us spent a couple fo hours trying on lots of different types and colors of clown shoes. We all got a pair we liked, they cost about 40 bucks American.
Oh yea the title; the stop lights here are only a suggestion…
Really not like one car running a light, our driver blew through several lights at speed because there wasn’t anyone in them.:)
Off to the Orphanage.
So first off, do not eat the chicken salad sandwiches at the corner store in Lima. Through bad translation skills Duffy and I ended up with chicken salad sandwiches. The end of the story
is not so good, we both came down with a mild case(depends on who you ask) of “revenge”. The docs took care of us and we are both feeling better today and able to clown.
After we got dressed this morning Banjo and I decided to walk to Starbucks at 630 on a Monday morning.(in full clown) we got there and walked in but they were not open until 7AM .Really? How can they run a country when SB isn’t open till 7 🙂
Our day at the hospital was wonderful,we clowned on the wards, with the kids, we had hundreds of little pony and Mr.Potato head dolls to give away. Then we spent 2 hours clowning in this large open courtyard at the hospital, we juggled, clowned, Banjo did magic, and we made a lot (no really we made a lot of them) of balloon dogs and flowers as fast as we could.
Non of us(except Pelikyto) is fluent in Spanish, but we got the message through. that we were there t ohelp and make people smile, and i think we did.
We not only clowned with the kids but also in the offices, I personally walked in to the Director General of teh hopsitla an clowned wit h his assistants amnd him, it is amazing what you can get a way with in clown.
Our day ended around 3, and we trudged (in a vehicle) back to the hotel and showers ad n some snackies by the pool.
Well the first day is complete.
We spent about 5 1/2 hours clowning with children at the hospital. We were in a medium size auditorium type room, and we clowned inside and outside the hospital compound while families waited to see the medical teams.
Pelukyta set up a stage and ran a full on show, we each were featured in a part. He is good!
We spent a lot of time clowning outdoors, balloon making, juggling and teaching children that pigs are really chickens.
An awesome day, great things happening here and more to come.
We are so lucky to be included in the magic that will happen this week.
A good day! clowns from Seattle, Virginia and London getting to know each other. Lunch at Pizza Hut, and dinner at the hotel.
Alfredo & Banjo spent an hour practicing juggling in the courtyard of the hotel, entertaining the guest and themselves.
Good night sleep
Tomorrow is the day that families from around Peru bring their children that are candidates for evaluation. Our surgeons who are from Philidephia and New York would love to help all, but can only do so many surgeries during their time here.
We will clown for the family’s while they wait.
Long day, but this is why we came.
As we wing our way from snowy Seattle to our first stop in Atlanta, the stewardess are pushing the carts of drinks up and down the aisle with balloon flower arrangements in the ice buckets and balloon corsages on their wrists. We made balloon animals and corsages for the kids on the plane then walked up and down the row and delivering them to the delight of their parents.
The second flight from Atlanta to Lima was much larger, it is amazing how many people they can put on a plane and glide through the night. As we crossed over the country of Panama I looked down and was amazed how quickly we crossed the width of the whole country, it was not very large but bright. It made me think we often get stuck in our routine, I often go weeks without leaving West Seattle except for work. I think of all the places I have visited and haven’t;I need to get out more often.
So now for the serious stuff. The medical professionals we are accompanying to Peru make up Komedyplast; a group of medical professionals who are making a difference!
In their own words.”By combining medical services provided by volunteer physicians and nurses with a volunteer entertainment team, the primary mission of Komedyplast is to make a lasting difference in the lives of children throughout the world, while also bringing laughter and hope to the children and their families.”
While we clowns of Caring Clowns International may bring laughter and smiles, we are but spectators to the miracles these Professionals will bring. So much of what we do is fun, it is important to remember we are supporting serious life changing business.
Had our board meeting last night, among other things we nailed down last minute things for the trip. Duffy gave me three LARGE bags of 3000 balloons(not blown up), 1000 noses and a bunch toys from a toy manufacturer for the kids.
Hope you’ll read daily about what we are doing in Lima