My first clowning adventure.
by: Jeffery “Lion” Forbes
Those 11 days changed my life like very few moments ever had. I had been corresponding with Patch Adams since before the movie came out, yet had never met him face to face. When we finally met it was like we had known each other for more than a century.
At first, since by no means was I a professional clown, I had a bit of performance anxiety. I was worried I didnt speak the language and I was a bit frightened I’d be the only “clown virgin” there. It didn’t take long for me to realize my fears where for not. This crew of new and old clowns, ages 9 to 81, from every continent on the planet but Antarctica, had joined together like a giant hug. The 20 of us bonded within hours and I have made life long friends with many of them. We still check in with each other and make old jokes. We were always in clown garb and we all supported each other, from wearing each others costumes to holding one another after a particularly tough visit had broken our hearts. (Let me explain that a bit)
As a clown, you develop a certain fearlessness. You turn off your reactions in order to truly be present in the moment. You enter a room with a child possibly losing a fight with cancer, yet something inside you won’t let you show the sadness you may feel. That child needs something else from you. A moment of playfulness, a smile and a laugh, a few minutes of distraction from the situation, to feel like a kid. When you clown you care with all of your heart, and maybe that caring is the true essence of humanitarian clowning. You become friends. As you walk away the emotions hit you, your legs shake and your balance waivers and that is when another clown grabs you and holds you. With open hearts, the clowns care for each other as well and together you heal parts of yourselves that you didn’t know needed healing. It changes you, not just there in the moment, but forever.
Morocco is a beautiful country and the people were very loving and kind. I learned things I would have never learned. I healed a part of my life that I had been taught not to trust. We spent 8 to 11 hours a day clowning for children. We traveled together feeling safe with the bus trips and food all pre-planned for us. One night, 20 of us even went out dancing in our clown costumes. What a scene!
On the last days locals would come up to us and say thank you!
We know you can’t stay, but please come back.
Well, we are going back!
Gesundheit is going back to the kingdom of Morroco!
Still a few spaces left.
As for my clowning adventures since Africa, I’ve just returned from the Clown Town Healing Fest in Phoenix, AR and I’m planning on returning to the Amazon jungle in Peru for the Festival de Belen this summer. I may just be an ok clown but this heart is huge and as the song goes, “when the children raise up a giant shield of laughter its like your fending off death.”
Hope to see you all there!
La la la lion!
La la la loves you!
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