Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Change of Plans

Time at the internat seems to be passing all too quickly. Jen, Miri and I had hoped to organize a concert similar to last year's for Monday August 3rd, but because of recent happenings and limited time we have decided to alter these plans. The recent "emergency" has made the Director skeptical of any outisder interaction with our girls. Excursions have been executed completely, the sleepover we had planned for ourselves with the girls has been cancelled, and the idea of inviting the "outside world" to watch the girls perform is not the next card to play.

The "club" room that was to host our concert (complete with a stage and proper seating), is currently unaccessible due to construction, and the stereo system has been taken away. While we were told that it should be accessible by the concert date, we can not rely on this. Practices for our dance routine have been on and off. It is difficult to find, collect, and practice with the same group of girls every day because they all have different duties and are all over the place. When we do practice the girls enjoy it only for a bit, but an abundance of practice also seems to get tiring. All these factors have lead us to reconsider the timing and "officiality" of the concert we hoped to host. Our main intent is for the girls to have fun. Last year it seemed that concert plans got underway early on and were much more spread out, allowing the girls to enjoy their experience at a more leisurely pace. This year it seems that the time constraint puts more pressure on everyone.

We have decided, thus, to have more of a party than a concert. It will still be on the Monday before we leave, we will still get the girls to dress up and perform the dances or sing a song if they like, we will still have Bogdan play his accordian, and will still supply snacks and drinks. The bonus of this is the pressure it alleviates. No longer will we worry about where to host the party, outside should work perfectly. There won't be seats but the girls won't be standing for long and it makes for a perfect dance space. We won't worry about whether the dance routines look perfect, or if the songs are just right...their will be no pressure to achieve will just be loose, fun and on the spot. Also, we will have more time in our final days to focus on a variety of activities while also preparing packages for each of the girls (as per Miri's grant plans).

The biggest lesson to be learnt in all of this is to not feel disappointed with our change of plans. Part of me can't help but feel like without the concert and sleepover and excursions what difference am I making. At the end of the summer, what can I actually say I've DONE? To go ahead with the concert would make it all too much like a chore, like another task to add to my list of ways to "help" the situation. But instead, Pedagogy of the Oppressed reminds me that it is not about "helping" so much as it is about dialogue and truly being with the "other". So with that attitude, I intend to complete my last 8 internat days with as much energy and patience for understanding as I when I entered this experience.

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