Candahog, Philippines - Day 7

Today we return to Candahog for a second day of playing with this wonderful group of kids. When we arrived, we were almost immediately surrounded and the group’s size had nearly doubled. Apparently, news travels fast, even about the games we played.

We found our way to the basketball court next to the stage area and sat on the steps as kids pushed their way to the front of the group for high fives. Then they started to shout “1, 2, 3, 4! Booo, aaah! Iiiiiiin... Ouuuuuut...” And they celebrated each other as they performed the corresponding movements.

We didn’t know what would happen if we showed up again to do another PLAYshop with the same kids. What we learned was that they basically would run it themselves. We said, “You want to do the clapping and the counting?” They said, “YEAH!!!!” So we said, “Go ahead! Let’s do it together!” Michelle and I had to do very little to cue the next exercises.

They held hands and the circle expanded and contracted for a long time. Then it moved into rhythm and they got so enthusiastic about counting and clapping that the boys moved to the stage while the girls became their audience - they were rockstars with screaming fans, led by Michelle. I was lucky enough to slip out of the group and catch some video:

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Then, of course, in an ongoing effort to promote equality, we made sure to switch; and the girls had an ecstatic time shouting and stomping while the boys danced and chanted back, pumping their fists in the air:

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The boys and girls often separated themselves, forming one half and the other of the circle in games and often forming their own circles. While not my own preference, it is not inappropriate or unusual, especially for this age group to gravitate towards their own gender; so, Michelle took the girls group and I took the boys group and we did some more exercises in parallel.

The “Yes/No” exercise was especially effective in this format as people were paired with partners of more appropriate levels of developmental and intensity. The hardest part of that game was getting them in a line, facing each other. Usually when we say get in a line, they fight to be in the front, directly in front of the facilitator. It took some finesse to get them facing each other, even though they’d done it before, but when we were set up and in the exercise, we made extra effort between turns to bring their attention back to their bodies, to their breathing. We watched as they regained control of their energy, of their anger, and we joined them in playful shouting as the energy expanded and contracted. Their energy was palpable; and the empowered joy they had, on the other side of their anger, inspiring.

Airplane game because of the marker shortage - great improv by Leslie. And amazing airplanes. More free play and chillin’ out with young people. After more play we went to Kusog’s office and met with their amazing team before ending the day’s activities.