Chiapas, Mexico with Clowns Without Borders.
November 16 - 24
11 shows for over 2,100 people
me and Rudi Galindo, veteran CWB clown.
Rudi has been going to Chiapas with Clowns Without Borders for 7 years. Though the area is no longer in a state of crisis, the relationship between CWB and local organizations is strong. Rudi is a very experienced performer and traveller and I learn tons from playing with him.
Most of our shows are in and around Las Margaritas, a small town where I am the only blond person to be seen. We stay with a Women's and human rights organization that works with indigenous communities in the area and sleep on the floor of their office. The organization is essentially run by a single extended family and the women in the family cook us simple but spicy and delicious traditional food - a big desayuno and a big comida in the afternoon with countless cups of sweet black coffee.
the neighborhood we stay in is called "los pocitos," people jokingly call it "los pobritos" (the little poor people).
We perform community shows, school shows, a show at an elderly center, a show at an alcoholics rehabilitation center (where patients are locked in the center for 6 months), a show at a roadblock, and a stunning final rural show.
The children we perform for (the adults too) have never seen a live clown show, but they certainly know a clown when they see one.
Rudi and I are instantly famous. When we walk through town the kids yell out "payasito!" "payasa!" ("little clown!", "lady clown!")
After our show at the elderly center, one of the women gives me an orange from her handbag. After a different show, a girl from the neighborhood buys me a spicy lollipop. These gifts are symbolic of the generosity we encountered over the course of this trip. While freely sharing of ourselves through our playfulness, both in and out of shows, we only received colorful appreciation and generosity in return.