We first had two days to do the project with the staff before we did it with the kids.
Day One: 'The path of a day when something really good happened'
(Side note: We were saying 'A very good day', then later after talking with the staff about the project realized a better way to say this for translating into Atesso, their native language, would be 'A day when something really good happened")
Lesson 1: What is a path? And what would it look like if you were to draw it?
As a fun warm-up exercise, we had each person take a walk around the family compound where we were doing the project as Rachael called out instructions to "walk very fast"....."now walk very slow".... "now change directions".... "now skip".... and so on. Then we had them each take a black marker and piece of paper and draw the path they just walked. There was lots of fun and laughter here!
Lesson 2: Visualizing
We had them all close their eyes and begin to think of a day that something really good happened. Then, with their eyes still closed, led them through a visualization of that day, giving them prompts for visualizing how their day began, what was the path of that day, who was around them, what were different sights, smells, tastes, etc, and what different emotions were they feeling throughout that day. We also had them think about if they felt Jesus anywhere on that day, and where was He on that day.
When they opened their eyes, we gave them paper and a black marker. Then closing their eyes again, they drew the path of that day with one continuous line. We had them do this with their eyes closed, so that they could focus on where that day took them and not focus on what their line looked like on the paper.
Lesson 3: Color and Emotion
Next, we talked about color and how color can be linked with emotion. That a color might remind us of something that makes us feel a certain way, and that these may be different for each person. We had them think back on that very good day and what emotions they had felt on that day. Each person made a 'key' of color/emotion associations on a small strip of paper. Then they added these colors along their path they had drawn, coloring in different ways, filling in space, coloring on or around the line. And we prompted to have the size or intensity of the color on the paper match the intensity they may have felt of the emotion.
Lesson 4: Illustration
After they finished adding their colors they could draw illustrations, symbols or words of the events of that day along the path where they happened.
Lesson 5: Sharing their story
Once everyone had finished their artwork, we asked if there were any volunteers to come up front and share their artwork and the story of that day. They all wanted to share. It was so amazing.
It was so fun to see these adults acting like kids as they got to play and explore creativity and art.
Day Two: 'The path of a day when something really bad happened'
The steps of the project were the same as the first day, except focusing on a bad day instead of good.
The tone of the room was very different on this day. No laughing or joking around.
You can see the difference between the good day and bad by the colors and intensity in their projects:
Then, the sharing of the bad day. Again each person volunteered to share their story in front of the group. I could hardly believe the horror of some of their stories. But here's where the heart of what we were doing came in. To come together, listen, and to care for one another more deeply. Tim (New Hope missionary we worked with) asked for a volunteer to walk through a prayer with them about their bad day and the pain that they hold in their hearts. Together they asked Jesus to come in to those dark places, for healing, forgiveness of the ones who caused pain, and to release the pain or anger.
The staff went through this process as a group, so that they might grow together and learn how to care more deeply for one another and then to bring this to caring for the children.
More to come on doing the project with the kids.....