When I was online looking up contact numbers for the prison, I came across an article about it that said one of the worst problems in this particular prison were the amount of rats that came in from a near by trash dump. I didn’t think much of it and was just looking for phone numbers so we could receive authorization to get in. However, as we were coming in and out of the prison, guess what we saw lots of? Very big rats. As if prison is not horrible enough, I can’t imagine being trapped in a cell and have rats coming all around.
In each section of the prison they had a theater room where we performed. The stages were small and we had to tighten up our routines, but the whole experience was amazing. We came back on two days and did four performance so that we could reach each section.
I do a magic routine where I use a “seed” (just imaginary by pinching my fingers) to make flowers grow out of nothing. My brother wears a cool mask (like a mimes mask but not creepy) and has a bag of “seeds”. He goes in and out of the audience letting them take a seed and put it into my empty bag that I then pull a flower out of. We went throughout the seats and up and down on stage, it was so cool to see their amazement and wonder. Sometimes it can seem so hard to change things and to get from where we are to where we want to be. Faith is the seed that brings something, out of nothing and causes new life to grow from emptiness. One seed of hope, can change a life.
At the end when we are packing up and saying goodbye, many of the men are in tears and just so very grateful. The director came up to us at the end and told us he just could not believe his eyes. He said we had just performed for one of the worst groups of prisoners and he was amazed we were able to completely captivate their attention. In his 20 years of working here, he had never seen this happen. He said that we created a “climate” in which they were able to let down their guard, be like children and listen to what we were saying. A “climate” is an interesting word to use, but is very accurate. By using things like humor, magic and dance, we allow them to enjoy themselves and let their guard down and then with that open door, we put one seed inside…maybe two.