Sunday, August 3, 2008

Ethiopia 8/3/08


I arrived in Addis Ababa at 4am on August 1st. Its winter here and the elevation of Addis Ababa is over 8,000 feet; higher then Denver's elevation. Everyone at the airport was bundled up in her or his jackets, blankets, and wearing hats with flaps that cover their ears. A quick aside but the good thing about the high elevation is that Mosquitoes that carry malaria can't survive; I won't need mosquito nets for a couple of days! The capitol city, Addis Ababa, is pulsing with music and has wonderful flavor. Every little store has a boom box playing Teddy Afro tunes. Teddy Afro is the Bob Dylan of Ethiopia. A couple of months ago he got thrown in Jail. Many people think that the repressive government charged him with false allegations... His court date keeps getting postponed and it currently is causing quite a bit of talk in the country.

Journal Entry for 8/3/08

Today is my first day teaching the kids in Awassa E
thiopia. I use the term kids loosely; the circus artists are from seven to twenty five years old. Many of them have been training for the last ten years and they diffidently are very accomplished circus artists. I have been asked to write and direct a show that we will tour throughout southern Ethiopia. The best part of the project is that I also get to perform in the show along side the Ethiopian circus artists! The Awassa Youth Campus, our training facility, has a feeling of the lost boys hangout from Neverland. Kids are doing back flips, riding unicycles, and writing some pretty good music in a small sound studio. Last night I walked out of an Ethiopian Restaurant and a street kid with one eye asked me for money. Today, I spent a good bit of today teaching him circus skills. My artist residency is with Awassa's One Love Theater and Addis Ababa's Faucalt Circus. I have one week to write and direct an original show using the talents of the two separate circuses... I'm nervous but also really excited about the opportunity. -- Ben

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