Yes exactly… where on earth is that?
I am just near the border of Russia and Georgia. In a place where the first language is Ossetian, second Russian.
It is a strange place… I have nothing in my mind I can compare it to.
I am in a state of culture shock and general shock.
I spent three days traveling- England to France, France to Moscow and Moscow to here. And today launched into the Beslan project.
I think I have to start with today, with what I just saw.. and wind backwards.
I have a strange sense of tension in my body. And weird thoughts spiraling in my mind. Wondering how to take in what I am hearing. Wondering if it’s going in. Wondering if I am shutting down or simply don’t have the capacity to fully empathise with these people. How do you fully empathise ? I don’t suppose you can fully when it is not an experience you have been through.
We just spent 4pm -7pm listening to a FULL and detailed description of the history of a school, it’s founding in 1879, who built it, why, how. who were the teachers, the stories of the individuals. What they taught, the values of their time. etc etc
That was one whole room full of photos and objects.
Then it was the ‘memorial hall’ Full of pictures of all the dead, objects and clothes of theirs and then all of the love and books and cards that had been sent by the International Community- of condolences.
And then we were taken to the school where the terrorist attack had been executed. Huge school and we took a tour with 4 students who were around 9yrs old and had been there as hostages.
50 Cheychnian terrorists descended on this school and held 1,200 hostages for 3 days. saying ‘no one will get out alive until Russia troupes are removed from Chechnya’
Nearly 400 didn’t get out alive and 200 of them being very young children.
The school was derelict and half bombed and covered in bullet holes. Pictures, roses and bottles of water – as a symbol of giving them what they needed – they went very thirsty.
So, it was loaded in every way imaginable. What I found most interesting was the detail in which these stories were shared with us. They really need to relive it. Three days was a long time but I suppose so short for a life time of living through it. The kids, now 20yrs or so, were all trying to describe it differently, all having their own versions of what happened.
So that’s the tough bit. I suppose now I have to share with you to lighten the load and that’s how it works. It’s just how you transform that energy that makes it a healing process.
So Maria. Maria Maria, the lovely lady who is Maria’s children, has been coming here for many many years. The International Community poured love and energy here for a few years – built a new school etc (where we are working) but then the energy died and they were forgotten. 12 years is not a long time. The resonance is still very strong.
The new school has now got paint all over the walls. The clowns are known by name- they all greet us like we are family.
And this is family business. Maria has five lovely daughters, three of whom are here. And we are a team of 25 ish. 4 international clowns, Maria and her daughters, artists from Moscow and older orphans that Maria has supported over the years. Maria’s children is 23years old.
Maria is a lovely hippy lady who became mega rich via her late husband who invented the Russiain google. She was already involved in bringing arts to orphans in Moscow (there are 1 million !!!) and now she is mega rich she has much more scope! THANK YOU UNIVERSE for that one. She runs projects mostly in Russia but also all over the world bringing clowns and art to children who need it. She has changed many lives and is a support for many many children and young adults.
My flight to here, hotel and food is all covered. We all gather in her very large room on the top floor of the hotel to eat – 25 of us plus all the teachers of the school. Massive table every night. The same happened when I arrived to her big house on the outskirts of Moscow. I arrived at half ten – welcome- the kitchen full of young women cooking – all orphans smiling and chatting and cooking. dinner will be in 40 minutes. 12 o’clock midnight we are eating chicken and cheese and drinking wine till 2am, apparently eating that time is normal. I was tired. But greeted with such love I just relaxed in my chair and smiled and listened.
There’s a incredible feeling about her- like she is this calm eye in the center of a storm of people. Everyone so used to having new people around they hardly bat an eye lid at a newcomer.
I enjoyed so much meeting everyone at the airport in Moscow. Everyone was in full clowns dress and we took the airport by storm. Again, Maria.. as calm as can be leading 25 crazy clowns through security and on to the plane.
And wow, haven’t even talked about the work yet. I was thrown into a gymnasium with a bunch of hula hoops and at first I have about 10 beautiful, obedient, sweet, 12 year old girls. We hooped and shared and had a sweet time. Next I had 18 11year old boys and wow! SOMEHOW maintained a small amount of order. Perhaps on the outside looking in you would disagree. An hour is a long time trying to keep 20 Russian 11 year old boys entertained with hula hoops when u can’t speak their language.
There is a bizarre women/ man relationship that I am not yet understanding. They had pictures of their ‘most outstanding academic students’ they were all girls. The boys, apparently, were more into sport. They are very proud of their awards in wrestling.
So I am a little exhausted. And wondering what on earth to do with these boys tomorrow. I am going to try juggling. I tried football with a hula hoop but it didn’t quite work out for me. haha
We got to also play with little ones.. 3-4yrs. I love that age.. I face painted alongside a painter and tried to pick up some technique (poor kids who got lumped with me) … and led some brilliantly silly games with them and the clowns. :o)
I feel like this is rushed and missing a lot of detail but unless I actually write as I go I have no idea how to capture it all.
Really NEEDED to write so ran off from dinner early.
So … day one. haha. Of a thousand hours.
We will do two more days with these children and then go and visit a orphanage in the mountains.
THE MOUNTAINS!!!! are SO EPIC!!! I woke this morning to them, having no idea they were there last night. So tall and steep and sharp and snowy.
OK, so i suppose goodnight. So much love.. better shake this day off with some sleep and then more silliness.