Mon, Sep 9, 2013
Back in January I was contacted by a group named Clog America. They had been invited to Jacmel to participate in our first annual international dance festival and wanted to find a group like Kay Angel to help out while on their visit. Immediately we started bonding. I sent them many pictures of the kids and in March I received an email asking what we needed for the kids because they were coming with gifts. As an added bonus they offered to do a private performance for the kids. As I started to think about it more and more I thought that it would be nice to share their style of dance with more than just our kids. I asked our new clogging friends if they would be open to dancing for us at our long time friend Sue’s organization Jakmel Ekspresyon. It was a go! We were going to dance in the street and share their musical/dance gift with all the local kids.
Over the next few months we would write back and forth planning out what they would bring for us. Their whole community got right to work and gathered school supplies, personalized backpacks, vitamins, shampoo, toys, art supplies and much more. Little did I know at the time but these guys had drummed up an arm of volunteers who filled 6 suitcases of goodies for our kids.
When they arrived I was greeted with the warmest welcome from their whole group. I walked with some of the lovely ladies who helped coordinate all the donations and we spoke of Kay Angel, its history, and where we were heading. I spoke of Lia, the kids and our dream of living on our land. Once we were done figuring out where they were staying during the festival and coordinating transportation the group of 30 squished into 2 small vans in the hot sticky heat of the afternoon and we headed for K.A. We scooped up the kids and continued on to our street party at Jakmel Ekspresyon. !/2 of the road had been blocked off just for us. We pulled some theater stage pieces and after the C.A. gang finished changing in to their costumes the dancing started.
Wam!!! No one knew what hit the block. There were fiddlers, singers hollering , dancers with loud shoes, and pretty girls in puffy dresses. No one had ever seen this kind of thing before. By the end of the first song and dance the neighborhood was huddled around our group. Cars and Taxi’s had stopped to watch this colorful sight. Every person in the crowd was smiling.
Once the dancers were done with their performance they called up all the kids and lined them up. It was so beautiful to watch as these strangers gathered our kids and gave them dance lessons in the middle of the street. Woodley was stuck in the arms of a pretty dancer and the nannies and I giggled as we watch the kids intensely study the new dance moves.
The rest of the week with our new-found friends was equally as beautiful. They made time for kids and continued to dance with the older girls. One morning they came and surprised us with all the amazing gifts that they had gathered for the kids. They presented every child with a personalized back pack filled with school stuff and goodies that appealed to each one of our kids likes. Yakime got a huge kite since he is our kite maker, Estania got a hand-made apron for cooking, and Melinda got BOB MARLEY!!!!! Even martin got some cool things which included hand-made bean bags so that he can toss them at us.
On the evening of their last performance I took the older girls to see them Dance on a big huge stage. As the dancers filled on to the stage they waved to the crowd. The girls all started shouting “LOOOK!!! THEY ARE WAVING AT US< THEY”RE WAVING AT US!!!!” they were convinced that all waves to the crowd were intended from them alone because the dancers were our new friends.
So much time, care and love was put in to their short week stay with us but in that short time they touched our hearts. The girls still practice their new dance moves and locked away the pictures of the families that helped us out in their treasure boxes.