OLD BLOG: Welcome to Harare, by Lisa

From November 18, 2007

Current mood:  artistic
Category: Travel and Places

OLD BLOG: Welcome to Harare ,by Lisa
(our welcome to the country and preparing for our first workshop)

Hey everyone -

Hope all of you are good! Just a quick update from Harare, Zimbabwe. It’s been a crazy ride! After 16 hours on flights, separated by 12 hours in London, we finally arrived in Zimbabwe. Surprisingly, we had no trouble getting through customs, but were rather treated with extra respect and quickly courted through to the arrivals hall where we were met by Sindah, our host from the Brethren in Christ Church (BICC) – the overseer of all BICC churches in Harare. Sindah carried a huge sign with “JESSE” written on it.

He took us to his flat where his wife had made a delicious african meal 101 (americanized, but still with the traditional “sadza” which is the staple here – a thick porridge made from corn meal). Sindah lives in a small 2 bedroom flat with his wife and their two daughters. The living room was crammed with huge couches, a tv, and a large dining table in one corner – everything too big for the space. Because of the limited space, we’re not staying with him, but with families in the suburbs who have also been very welcoming.

I don’t have time to write about all of my impressions so far right now, but they have been overwhelming and I am filling pages after pages in my journal. The people here are so friendly!

Tonight we have our first workshop – about 50 people have shown interest, but according to Zimbabwean customs that could mean that anywhere between 5 and 100 people show up! REgardless, it will be very interesting and we’ve worked out a program that will hopefully make them excited about theater and playwriting.

Ok.. no more time, but tomorrow we leave Harare for more adventures in the country side – I’m sure we’ll see an entirely different zimbabwe there!

lots of love,
:) Lisa

Dramatic Adventures in Zim Part 2: The Harare singers.

From November 15, 2007

Current mood:  nostalgic
Category: Travel and Places

Dramatic Adventures that can’t be ignored: Each individual workshop, every one was different. DAT invites all the Zimbabwe team members to add on there own experience of each workshop.

Team Member Mary

When we first got to Zimbabwe, we didn’t know what to expect at all! Likewise, when we started to put together the material for our first workshop in Harare… what would that night turn out to be? We had no idea. Jesse, the only man, was being called our leader, while Kathleen, our LEADER when it came to the artistic side of things, was not getting any more acknowledgment from our hosts than just another lady visitor; we didn’t know where to start.

We worked on different game plans, separating the group of ?50? (who knew how many there would be) by age, gender, height; we came up with game after game, in fact, some games, that stuck with us for the rest of the trip, were made up from 3 or 4 other games we’ve encountered over all our combined years of theatre experience. We wanted to be prepared for anything, even Lulu, the 5-year-old daughter of one of our hosts, helped with a version of “the sound and movement game”, in which person A makes a movement with a sound and person B repeats that movement and sound then comes up with new ones to pass to person C and so on.

So, we were as ready as we could be, except, maybe we were a little colder in the church than we would have liked. We were late, but so was everyone else, so it worked out perfectly. We started meeting people as they arrived and it turned into a great group of about 25 people ranging in age from 7 to late 40′s. We separated in to groups, I (Mary) took the younger people (ages 7-19) and I’m not sure how the other two groups were separated, but there were 3 groups in the end.

My group went into another room and we all started chatting… well, I started chatting and they would respond with one or two words for the most part. We played some games; I practically had to drag people out of their seats. I could hear hearty laughter coming from the other groups, I kept thinking, ‘what am I doing wrong?’ I kept telling myself that it was just the age. Teenagers in America would have been even worse, at least these kids are listening to me. So, we forged on… one by one, game by game, they started to loosen up; some much more than others.

Eventually I ran out of games. I went to check and see where everyone else was and I realized I needed to come up with more things to do. I gave the group a choice, another game of mine, or something of theirs. One girl suggested that the group sing songs. Sounded good to me… till they wanted me to go first.

Now, I’m not a bad singer, in fact, I can carry a tune no problem, so I thought, ok, I’ll sing and just get it over with… I sang Amazing Grace. Then these kids started singing…

They were some of the best singers I have ever heard in my life! I mean, one right after another, better, better, better! Oh, it just took my breath away! (I was really glad I had gone first so I didn’t have to follow them!)

When we got back into the large group, everyone was loose and comfortable so we played another group game, which went 10 times better the second time around, and we sang a group song.

Still, months later, I have tears in my eyes thinking about this. It was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever witnessed. It was like God or Spirit or whatever higher being you believe in, was right in that room listening to our lifted voices.

We’ve all said, one of the most amazing things in Zimbabwe that we witnessed is the amount of hope and love that flows through these people through such a difficult time. When they are together like this, voices lifted to the heavens, you can feel the power of their prayer in the room.

The lesson I learned from this first workshop, when saying goodbye to my group who felt so close to me and were so loving, was that I needed to just be myself with these people from the other side of the world and if I would- if I opened my heart to them, they would not only open up to me, they would also leave a mark on my heart that I would be proud to carry with my for the rest of my days!

A’s in Zim Part 1: Wild Lions in Hwange

From September 27, 2007

Current mood:  nostalgic
Category: Travel and Places

Dramatic Adventures in Zimbabwe Part 1: Wild Lions in Hwange

In order to read this story you need to see the whole picture. In Zimbabwe, the driver sits on the right side of the car. Also, Oscar was driving, Mary was in the front seat, and the back seat from Left to right was Jesse, Kathleen, Lisa.

as witnessed by Mary:

Well, we were off to a nice start on our second day of “Vacation” and our first day at Hwange National Park. We were totally excited to get into the park and see all the wild animals. We woke up at 5:30 am so we could go into the park at 6… that was our first mis-adventure, the park didn’t open until 6:30. So we waited there, by the gate, walking around to see the animals who were walking by to get their first morning drink from the local watering hole. We saw Zebra, Giraffe, Impala, and wild dogs all from afar as they walked in the field on the other side of the gate.

FINALLY, it was time to go in! As Oscar drove into the park we started to see more and more animals up close. Giraffe are beautiful, and, contrary to what I originally thought, Zebra’s have no trouble blending their black and white stipes into the African terrain. We were stopped by an Ostrach in the road and later by a herd of Cape Buffalo. At the first watering hole we stopped at we saw hippos who were either mating or doing a choreographed dance; my three partners in crime (although, I’m not a criminal, so maybe I shouldn’t be included in this) decided to walk past the “do not cross” sign, right past the huge piles of Elephant dung that were as tall as their knees and right up to the water where the hippos were enjoying their morning swim. I almost had a heart attach before they were safely back in the car!

After play time with the hippos(at about 8:20), we skirted around a little more, following signs to the Shumba (Lion) Picnic where Oscar thought there would be a nice veiw… we didn’t get very far before Oscar stopped the car. He reversed about 15 feet and turned off the engine and, like was so common for Oscar, sat back in his chair with folded arms and turned to me and smiled…

“There’s a Lion” he said.

“What, where, how did you see it?” we were more than excited!

Off in the distance on the right of the car we all spotted the so called “Lion”. It looked like a stump! After sitting there for a minute, straining to get the best view from our seats Oscar said he would move the car so we could get a better look…

NOTHING… the car wouldn’t start!

So here we are, the car won’t start, so we’re stuck 20 feet away from a stump… which might be a Lion.

About 20 minutes pass, the Lion/stump hasn’t moved one muscle. (If you’ll recall, Jesse was on the left side of the car, opposite the Lion.) Jesse decides to open the door, thinking the noise would get the Lion, if it was a Lion, to run off. He opens his door and a water bottle falls out; he quickly picks it up and slams the door… no movement from the Lion/stump.

Another few minutes pass, Oscar has figured out the problem with the vehicle, but there is no way to get out and fix it with a Lion standing right there… Jesse again opens the door and steps onto the ledge of the truck. He looks hard at the Lion/stump (I was looking behind him to see if there was anything coming from that direction) after a few seconds, he stepped down to tell us that he was sure it was only a stump; as he was stepping down, he slipped a little causing a new type of noise.

All doubt about the Lion/stump was removed as the Lion jumped up and charged with a roar at poor Jesse! He scrambled back into the car and the Lion stood there all 8 feet of him, about 10 feet away, watching us.


The Lion stood there, intimidating us for a few minutes before he started walking away slowly. After about 45 minutes, he was far enough away for Oscar to attempt what Jesse did, this time on the SAME SIDE OF THE CAR as the Lion.

Before this trip I wasn’t aware that Lions, both male and female, travel in pairs; luckily, Oscar was aware of this. He cautiously got out of the truck and looked around for the second Lion. This guy wasn’t hard to spot. He jumped out and roared at Oscar, who scrambled back into the truck. The second Lion was a bit smaller and darker than the first, so he hid out of sight of the four passengers after he charged, but, luckily, Oscar could still see him.

Around 10:30 (we’d been in this spot for about 2 hours), the second Lion was far enough away for Oscar to get out and fix the starter connection. The three girls were all watching out in different directions while Jesse stood outside with a coat… we’d heard a story of a women who protected herself from an attack by a bear when she threw a coat over its eyes…

Sigh… we made it out of there alive! Oscar told the guard at the gate of our exciting encounter then we all went to take a nap. Later that evening, we went out again to see the animals taking their last sips at the watering hole. At the gate on the way in, the evening guard started to tell Oscar a story about a group of people who escaped from Lions that very morning… turns out, the morning guard had told the afternoon guard and they were both telling visitors to the park our story all day!

Just another Dramatic Adventure with DAT :)

On a side note:

We also had the great privilege to see a rare female Lion on her way back from hunting. She was crossing the street and we had to stop in the road to wait for her to cross. At about 6 feet long, she was the most beautiful animal I have ever seen! I wish we had gotten a photo, it just happened so fast.

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more Dramatic Adventure’s from Zimbabwe to be posted here at www.myspace.com/dramaticadventure.

Mary K