I haven’t had a chance to talk much about the actual visits to the schools here in Uruguay. I can say that I have yet, crossing my fingers, had a single negative experience. In fact, I’ve had quite the opposite.
I’ve found the students, teachers, and even the administrators to be highly engaging.
Usually when I visit schools in the U.S., the principals and administrators are too busy to sit in on the sessions I have with their students. Here in Uruguay I’ve had headmasters spend the entire time with me during the sessions, listening to the stories, enjoying the music. It has been amazing. I’ve had administrators close down their offices or take their lunch breaks and sit in on my performances.
I’ve found my sessions here in Uruguay to more “collective” experiences than isolated incidents of “enrichment” for the children.
Something I’ve particularly enjoyed is being able to provide nuance and depth through my tales even with the younger children. Typically in the U.S. there is a need to manage the audience much more than I’ve had to here.
I was at a school just yesterday. The headmaster is an 81 year old woman who has been an educator all of her life. She is well known here among her peers. In fact, some of the teachers I’ve worked with at other schools say that she was their teacher when they were children. These are women in the late 40’s and early 50’s. Well… she came and sat through all of my performances, the entire time. After the performances I went to her office to tell her goodbye. When I arrived in her office she hugged me. As we were releasing our embraces, she looked me in my eyes and said, “You are touched by the hand of God.”
She went on to explain what she saw in my performances. She spoke glowingly of the depth of my connection with the children.
By the time I walked away from her I felt uplifted and spiritual affirmed.
I’m sharing these few moments but they represent so many more. For every moment I share, there are probably 10 more similar situations that occur.
I was finishing a performance at another school and a young girl had a folded piece of paper that she kept clutching to her heart. Every time I walked by her, she kept motioning towards me, trying to get my attention. Finally, near the end of the performance I stopped and asked her what it was that she needed. With the most gentle eyes and wide smile she reached up and handed me the folded paper. I opened it and it read, “I Love You Baba.”
I would need volumes to write for you every one of these incidents that has occurred during my time here in Uruguay. I’ve got two schools left. If the recent past is any indicator of the future, then I’m expecting to leave the country a better person than when I arrived.