I am in love with the circus. I love my performance family. I love the shows we do and I especially love the kids we entertain. I love playing with fire. I love packing every day so full of action and emotion that 24 hours seems like a week.

Our mission is to bring play and laughter to refugee kids. So far we have visited 10 schools, orphanages and clinics and seen over 1000 children with our day show and circus workshops and our night time fire and LED shows. The kids are so energising to be with – like children everywhere, their circumstances do not dictate their happiness. It seems to make no difference that some of these kids have no parents, a past life as prostitutes or slave labor, or were rescued from the streets. They find something in our circus that makes them happy. For some of the little girls, it is all about holding a female performer’s hand after the show. The older boys hang back and look aloof, but I see them admiring the gentlemen in our troupe who rock it with tech flow skills.

Some kids come talk to us in English of varying abilities and those conversations are incredible. One afternoon I had a conversation about my ukulele with a boy who dreamed of learning to play guitar. Some only need a smile or a wave to break into giggles. At some schools, they chase our truck as we drive away, smiling and laughing as they run. It really takes very little to connect with and love these kids.

The Sparkles I play with are one of the most incredible groups of people I have ever met. The circus family experience is like theatre family, only 24×7. Everyone brings an unexpected skill to the table, as well as our performance and teaching ability. We have a shaman, several massage therapists, yogis, and a wide range of other divination and healing arts being practiced. There is a group of hot sauce makers who experiment in the kitchen. I bring the practical ability of hairdressing. We trade and share what we have. Everyone embraces (these are some awesome huggers), and frequently says “I love you” with true feeling of agape.

But we are far from perfect. We are judgmental sometimes, and have waves of being cranky, exhausted, sick, and snarky. There is gossip and backtalking. We disagree about things to the point of drama. But in general we forgive easily and get along in order to reach our goal of bringing smiles to kids. Because the circus isn’t about us as individuals, or even as a team. It is about creating a playful, joyful highlight in the lives of children who don’t have many material blessings.

Sparkles, I love you. Circus, you are you changing my life.

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