Today I went with a small team of Sparkles to Star Flower, a day centre for children with special needs. All of these are kids of migrant workers – that is, Burmese and Karen people who are unable to work in Burma and must move to Thailand in order to support themselves and their families.
Having never worked with children with disabilities before, I didn’t know what to expect. But wow, what a day! The twelve children who were there were incredibly receptive, open and so excited to see us. Some children had obvious physical palsy, one little boy was blind, another had Downs syndrome…but honestly, they played and laughed and danced (break danced!) with as much energy and enthusiam as any kids I’ve seen.
One little boy, about 3 years old, would not stop hugging me, tugging on my skirt to pick him up, kissing me on the cheek and generally wanting to be with me at all times. Looking into his shining eyes and feeling his joy and excitement just completely overwhelmed me with a feeling of pure love.
In the last few weeks we have brought so much joy to thousands of children with our magical circus shows, our workshops, the toys we leave and the beautiful fire shows we put on. But often it is those small moments of connection – a hug, a blowing of bubbles, the tying on of a friendship bracelet or the blowing of a kiss – that gives these children the feeling of being unique, special and valued.
We have just one week of Spark Circus left, and it’s a hectic one. We’re going to a Karen village this weekend, which is actually in Burma, and from the sounds of things, it is extremely poor and very very basic. It’s a place where Karen and Burmese people have settled out of necessity, after being driven out of own villages elsewhere by the military junta. They can’t even return home when the military moves on, as the junta leaves land mines behind. It’s horrific and so commonplace – the most prevalent injuries seen in the nearby Mae Tao clinic is amputations of legs and arms due to land mines.
After doing a show for the village and the school there, we will head off to Nu Po refugee camp to do a show for the thousands in the camp. It will be another amazing, fun and heart wrenching experience, and I’m so so grateful I have the opportunity to be here sharing our skills, love and joy with the people.
If you have donated to Spark Circus, I thank you so much, your support is so appreciated. And if you would like to donate, please go to www.livelovehoop.com/spark and use the paypal link. We need funds to help us pay for blankets that we will donate to the village and camp after we leave.
Love love love to you all,