This week I (and the rest of Act Global) have been fortunate to be able to help our Estonian volunteer, Liis, with preparing and running her Photo Exhibition Project. Liis decided to title the exhibition, “One World, Different Lives,” as the focus of the exhibition was showcasing the lives of several children from around the world through photography.
Liis collected over three hundred photos that kids from twelve different countries all took on their own. Between all of the Act Global volunteers, and under the leadership of Liis, we all split up the work for preparation to ensure that we had a studio to rent, a poster for publication, transportation to bring local kids to the gallery, food for the kids, and prizes for the raffle. The preparation was busy and a bit stressful, but it was all entirely worth it for the total outcome. The exhibition was designed to also incorporate performances from different groups of kids that we worked with. One of the performances I got to put together and lead with Rocio was a Hip-Hop and theater fusion performance by a group of kids from the YAPPA male orphanage. Rocio and I wrote a short script that involved two teams that get in a small skirmish, decide to settle things with a dance battle, and then ultimately come to the conclusion that fighting is not worth it, and they put their differences aside so they can all play together. I was amazed to see how much the boys latched onto learning the basics of break dancing. They were so excited that they wanted to do things fast right away, so I had to work to make sure they learned moves slowly and correctly first. I also had a unique opportunity to teach them about the importance of respect and positivity. As they were first learning their moves and starting to practicing the ‘battle’ that happened during the play, they tried harder to dis the dancers from the other team rather than supporting their own (it even got to the point of insults). I know they were simply trying to act tough, but I took the moment to group them together to make it clear that respect others and supporting your own will go a lot farther than dissing others and ignoring your own. All in all, after hearing about how shy these boys had been before, I was glad to see them able to perform in front of an entire audience doing something they genuinely enjoyed. I think they were able to take something to heart from the experience.
As a whole, the photo exhibition was such a success. After all of the kids were transported back to their homes, the adults and volunteers stayed behind to enjoy the vibes and play some music. It was the perfect way to close off an event that took tedious and stressful planning. Everybody, and especially Liis, had put in a lot of work. The only problem we experienced was the power outage we had to endure for the entire night starting at about 10 pm.