We've had an interesting first night in Our little enclave of Durban. When we went out to visit the local beach we were greeted with people tooting their horns and shouting at us, saying hello and asking us where we were from. As we passed the supermarket and got further into the town the people disappeared and we got the feeling we're here at just the wrong season. Resembling Brighton in December or Blackpool when the lights are switched off, this beach town which clearly has a thriving Summer life was empty and quiet. It reminded me of being in Tynemouth and the love I have for the beach at its emptiest, but in this unfamiliar place it had a different feel.
We came back to an amazing dinner consisting of South African delicacies such as Chakalanga (spicy tomato soup) and Mealie Pap (cornmeal mash - not to be confused with potato) and enough bbq'd meat to make a vegetarian cry. Caitlin made her way through a mammoth plate and completed victoriously! Everyone enjoyed pork chops as big as their plate and trying all the new things.
Aft dinner Lu, who has been our contact and organiser in South Africa, came to discuss tomorrows workshop wight he students. Suddenly the prospector being here to work seemed very real. Lu spoke with passion about the township we're going to work with, and the township in which she was born.
Lu, along with her colleagues including the principal of the school we're visiting, outlined the main issues of the township - the sense of strong community but lifetime of violence for children, the rise of drugs misuse in the area and teenage pregnancy. Lu was keen to point out that this violence was not just domestic or abusive, but much larger and wider, involving politics and government - these children are having to deal with these situations without ever truly understanding what they are.
As a group I was impressed with how the students immediately started to have ideas about what they could use in the session tomorrow - undaunted they delved into their entire 3 years to find exercises and eerie inches that may be beneficial. Without fuss they decided how to split the 80 strong group amongst them and look at areas to base their exercises around which were;
Communication and having fun
From there the students came together with exercises and strategies.
Tomorrow we rise at 7.30 for breakfast and will be at the workshop for 9. We're going to be open, aware and flexible and really allow them to tell us what they need and want from the session.
Below is notes taken from the exchange between Lu and the group;
Community centre - African township
'People is people, we're trying to create a community here.' - Lu
Conflict resolution - coming together through violence.
'One political party killing another is a lot for a child to take in'. -Lu
Teenagers and possibly young children. 80 people.
'Things that are not supposed to be seen by children'. - Lu
'Understanding the white folk in their own country.' - Lu
'There's always Drama in the streets.' - Lu
'People are forever creating, if not music then Drama.' - Lu
School hall. 9am.
'Drugs and diseases, that's what more of our youth are affected by now.' - Lu
'Kids raising kids' - Lu
'Creating real relationships' - Lu
Image theatre - freeze frames - using music to get into the work if they do already??
'You should see the need. Some people don't know they even need it.' -Lu
Looking at positives - you don't want to teach a child by reminding a child of their life situation.
Possibility to start something and Lu to go back and film the work so we can archive it.
Games - sense of fun.
Hard hitting topics - lighthearted ways. - SI
'They're experts in their own lives.' - Matt
Being aware of the group you're with, not planning too much. - age range. They bring stories. What do they want? Sunday mornings.