So it all boiled down to one day. At Sunday 3:00 pm, the performance was on. Three days of workshops and two days of rehearsals and in between, living with strangers who become friends. No mom or dad to coddle you and attend to your every whim and need. Ants and insects to boot. Unfamiliar food and unfamiliar bed. They all survived. We all survived. But more than survive, we passed and thrived with flying colors thanks to the ensemble, the leadership and the hero’s courage in each and every one of us.
The children were reunited with their moms the night before the performance. We heard the coughs and listened to their stories. It rained on the bonfire but we were happy to just be together. The morning of the performance, the moms prepared Chinese dumplings while the kids rehearsed. The star of the show got sick and had to catch up with rest in bed.
Dumpling-making proved to be a fitting contribution from the Chinese visitors as it brought everyone to the table wanting to try bao jiaozi. The local kids and adults were excited to join but after a while, the Chinese moms had to find a diplomatic way to get them out of the kitchen so that they can wrap the filling more professionally. Did Coke really drink the improvised dipping sauce that Xiao Bai made thinking it was a refreshing beverage?
Xiao Bai had to whip up an approximation of Chinese vinegar because there was none in the supermarket. Xiao Bai also rescued the kids and moms who missed Chinese food so much. She made ge de tang (a Chinese soup) for the kids and fried rice for the moms.
The show was a testimony to the awesome power of an ensemble — bringing together and orchestrating the talents of many so that the total is more than the sum of each part. The music transported us to another world while the shadow play touched our hearts. The kids performed while the moms on the front row were probably flooded with emotion. We started and ended with a celebration for the senses — a worthwhile feast laid out with local and foreign parents and Casa people pitching in.
A portion of the script laid out different definitions of a hero and I’m putting it here since it expresses much of what we feel this Hero’s Journey is all about:
Kid 1: Brave, courageous, noble . . . . those are some of the characteristics that define a hero.
Kid 2: Emperors, warriors, kings and queens, Superman and Wonder Woman. . . they are the usual image of a hero when one is asked.
Kid 3: Truth is, many times, being a hero or showing heroic acts doesn’t mean one has to have superpowers, be put in grave danger and eventually die.
Kid 4: To be a hero, one must be willing to heed the call for adventure and survive obstacles, take risks, make sacrifices, do things that most people refuse to do.
Kid 5: And that journey can be dangerous, lonely and painful.
Kid 6: That’s why heroes also need to have guiding lights. It can be family, friends or a mentor.
Kid 7: Heroes are the ones who maintain peace and happiness of humanity.
Kid 8: Heroes are the ones who care, protect, fight and give.
Kid 9: Heroes are easy to find because they are the ones who are kind, gentle and responsible.
Teacher Ashley: Look at the person beside you . . . . he or she may be a hero. Let us teach our young ones to be heroes. Let us build the world a home, let us teach the world to sing, let us furnish it with love. Because heroes can be found anywhere, everyday. Because any of us can be a hero.
Thanks to Coke Bolipata and his amazing technicolor team at Casa San Miguel!