Serendipity. A teacher from the Manila Waldorf School was trawling around the internet to find things to do with a group of her Creative Writing students which she was bringing to Siem Reap. She found out about me and Writing Through and got in touch. This was about two weeks ago. She asked if there was a way for her students to meet some of my writing students. The timing was perfect, and this morning they came to Anjali House.
The Philippino teens and the Khmer teens were about the same age. They read their poems to each other in English, some which they had written in class, some which they had written on their own. It was amazing to see how they all connected. Despite their different life experiences, challenges and gifts, they were all the same at their hearts. The poems were all about love, changing with time, fears about the future. And, of course, there were songs, a little dancing and a lot of giggles.
The time spent answering each others’ questions was fascinating. Whereas the kids from Manila were very poised and polished when reading their work, they were just as shy about asking and answering questions as the Khmer kids — even a bit more. The first question that the Anjali House kids asked was, ‘how old are you?’ As each of the visitors answered, the Khmer kids laughed and screamed louder and louder. When I asked them why they said, ‘We thought they were much older.’ ‘And why is that?’ ‘They’re so tall!’ Hysterical. The next question which came from the Anjali kids was ‘Why do you like to write?’ The answers to that were much more difficult to get. Everyone was shy. But I’m rather proud to say that it was one of my students who answered first saying that when she writes poetry, it helps her know what she is thinking and helps her feel better. How great is that?
By the time the presentation was over, there were hugs and exchanges of gifts. The boys stayed to play a bit of basketball. The girls exchanged Facebook addresses. It was as perfect an exchange as one could ever ask for. I’m so glad I was able to facilitate it. And thank goodness for serendipity and their teacher for seeking us out (No, I will not start singing the It’s A Small World After All song. I won’t! Here are some photos instead. PS Note the new theatre provided by one of our recent volunteers!).S1070056 S1070070 DSC01096 DSC01101