When we plan activities in Haiti – people are typically late. If you want to have a VBS at 3pm – you need to tell everyone it’s 2pm. The only problem is – there are always some children who will indeed come on time. So what do you do when you have 30-60 minutes to kill? Well – we play games…. AND…. we line dance!
Since we started killing time with dancing… more and more children started to come earlier. They loved learning something new.
Typically Malaya & Mikela are the ones teaching. They began to think – – how cool it would be to create a community dance group? One that could perform at conferences, revivals, festivals, and other community functions!?!
So in March – we put fliers all over town inviting children 10+ to compete in a Dancing Contest. Emma Fowler is a dancer who has performed around the world. (Well at least 3 countries anyways!). She’s been coined as the World Champion Choreographer.
She interned with us two summers ago and she’s coming back again this summer. She came for a visit with her family in March. The timing was perfect! We seized this opportunity to host our dance competition and we had Emma choreograph the routine.
The children practiced for a few hours – and on March 23rd – we held the official competition. There were roughly 150 participants….which we narrowed down to 45.
Then those 45 children registered – were assigned a number – and performed in groups of 3.
This competition was two-fold…. the top 3 dancers were awarded prizes…
The top 12 dancers were chosen to be apart of the very elite dance group called
PRACTICE AND AUDITIONS!
EXAMPLE OF AUDITIONS:
The children were divided into groups of 3. Each group performed twice. The first time they got to watch Emma or Malaya while we judged – – – the 2nd time they were all on their own.
FRIDAY NIGHT FUN:
The kids have been practicing every Saturday from 1-3pm. As we try to promote group unity – we also have fun activities planned twice a month.
Tonight the kids came over for spaghetti & hotdogs. We also played a card game & bingo – they won candy for prizes! I love the diversity of this group. We have one staff kid, two of the pastor’s kids, and the rest are scattered from around town.
Many of these children are from the poorest areas of our village. They rarely participate in the activities that teams provide because they don’t have nice clothes… and they get teased. One little girl ate 3 plates of spaghetti. She told me she had not eaten in two days.
We’ve given this little girl – and many others around the table – a new identity. Tonight she was not ashamed of where she came from…. or afraid to show that she was so hungry. Tonight she laughed & engaged with those around her.
It’s our hope that through this Dance Group….
-we will build up their confidence with a new skill
-we will create a new network of friends – where everyone is accepted.
-we will remind them that they are the sons & daughters of the King.
-we will show them what it means to be a follower of Christ
-we will pour out our love on them & show them they are worthy
-we will create a space where a few hours a week – they can just be regular kids
I’m constantly reminded of how the little things here….quickly become the big things.