Tuesday 27 July 2010

End to End Tour - Second Otesha Log

It's time for the second journal entry and the Otesha LEJOG (Lands End to John O’Groats) tour is now in full swing. Yesterday we descended on our third school – the Maynard school for girls in Exeter – and we definitely made an impression on the girls there. And this is what this week’s journal entry is going to be about – the children that we have met so far. However, first we would like to send out a massive hug and well wishes to Olivia (a tour member) who took a nasty fall on Tuesday and fractured her collar bone, so has been unable to continue on tour with us. The team is very upset about losing one of our ‘family’, but there are rumours of an ‘Olivia doll’ that can join in on team photos and we are all very much looking forward to seeing her when we can hopefully rendezvous further up the country.

The last journal entry gave an update on our first in-school session and, despite the traumatic experience mentioned above, the second school day (in Coads Green, Cornwall) went remarkably well. The play kept the attention of a class of 4-6 year olds for its entire duration and the popularity of the Tupperware rap (an amazing song in the play) was well and truly established. With the little ones audience participation is the key, but trying to say your lines while 25 children continue to try and suggest sandwich fillings for you is quite a challenge!

Then commenced a lot of slightly disorganised running around games, a grow your own workshop where they planted broad beans and covered themselves in soil and an energy workshop where we were all impressed by their knowledge of what uses energy. As a whole we have been impressed with just how knowledgeable the children are and how quickly and easily they grasp the issues and embrace the actions they can take to help make a positive impact on the world.

Our school yesterday was quite different with much older children 10-13 years old. They had also already broken up for the summer so had come in especially to see us (so pressure to perform well!). Due to their age, it was really difficult to get much reaction from them during the play, but the transformation throughout the day when we had done some workshops with them was incredible. They really started to open up and join in and we had some fantastic conversations with them. It was lovely to see. We had just swapped play roles before the performance so it was fairly improvised at times, but it went down well and we had assurance that no-one noticed the ad-libbing!

The workshops we did with them were about Fair Trade (using bananas as the example – it is after all great fun to pretend to be a banana!) and ethical fashion where we spread the knowledge of how to make wallets out of Tetra-paks! Both of the workshops went brilliantly and it is an amazing feeling when you talk to some of the children afterwards and they tell you all of the things that they are going to change as a result of meeting you. I had one lass telling me that she was going to make sure that her parents only bought Fairtrade bananas. All of these little impacts put together are the Otesha way of changing the world. As we say in the play ‘together we are stronger’.

We have all loved working with the children so far and it really does give you hope for the future that they do all care and want to make a difference. That's it for this week folks, stay tuned for the next entry. (Kerry & the rest of the Land’s End to John O’Groat’s team)

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