Saturday, December 15, 2012

After School Program

One of my favourite parts of our Puppets Without Borders project was our wildly popular after-school program, which we ran for 3 days each in the villages of Bakpe and Bamefedo.

Me in a sea of puppet fans
Most days we split the room in two. Susanne and a group of mostly younger kids would draw and colour.

The light in this girl's eyes is the reason we hauled 200 lbs. of art supplies across the globe
Susanne "taking requests" for cutting out shapes
The kids also reveled in playing with pipe cleaners, glue sticks and sparkles, all of which were new to them, and the sparkles often wound up on their beaming faces. 

Meanwhile, I'd be working with mostly older kids, sewing hand puppets. No electricity meant no short-cuts with glue guns; everything needed to be sewn by hand.

I'd collect all the finished puppets at the end of each day, and on our last day in the village we handed them out to the youngest students.

The United Nations of Puppets
This is what happened when the little ones received their puppets:

I loved the after-school program because of its casual, less structured vibe. I was happy to see lots of boys participating in the sewing, and liked the idea of the older children gifting the younger children. Often members of the community stopped in to see what we were doing, and some even stayed to help with the sewing.

Almost all of the hand puppet materials were donated by our friends and neighbours in Prince Edward County, and all of the thread was collected by Picton Fabric World. This allowed us to distribute a number of sewing kits to kids in both communities. We owe our community a huge thanks for their generosity.

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