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19 January

Page history last edited by PBworks 17 years, 9 months ago

Thursday 19 January

You think you've got problems?


Despite Martha, Trent and Lelio's jet-lag, everyone is at breakfast at 7.30 and we are ready and "raring to go" when Mr. Wee arrives with the songtheuw at 8.30.


So where are we going?




Mr WeeAs far as we knew, and we thought we knew (!), we were heading 20-30 minutes North this morning to Baan Ban Sak School (620 students) to run workshop for 60, and then a show for half the students in the morning, and then exactly the same thing again for different children in the afternoon - but Mr. Wee says, "NO!". Apparently Somchai has telephoned Mr. Wee and told him that, instead, we are to go to Tung Mak Pau School (spelling undoubtedly wrong!) instead, which is 30-40 minutes South of where we are staying.


We ring Somchai and check that this is right - he says "Yes!", and infuriates poor Haggis by saying, "But I told you this, Mr. Haggis", which he certainly didn't!! Oh well - we have become fairly flexible during this Tour, so we load up the songthuew and head south to Tung Mak Pau School.


Not wanted, thanks


(This is all slightly embarrassing, because after the TV footage, a very nice man who is very high up in the Education Department, had rung me, after hearing that we had problems because we had no translator, and especially said that there would be someone with really good English, waiting to greet us at Baan Ban Sak School, to look after us and make the whole day easier - our phone can't get a signal on the journey, so I can't even ring Baan Ban Sak to say "Sorry" - but then a lovely lady called Jen rings from there - unfortunately we can't hear a word she is saying, due to the traffic noise in the songtheuw, as we chunder on our way to the next school - so we say that we will get Somchai to ring her later.)


We arrive at Tung Mak Pau School at about 9.30, and Haggis and I go to find out who we should talk to, and where we should set up the workshops and shows. It appears that they are in the middle of a 2-week "Sports Programme", with other schools visiting them each day, and that they DON'T want us and our shows and workshops there! "How about if we drop the workshops, and just do one show for all the students?", we suggest - but no, it seems impossible.


Not his fault




Ban Yai SchoolWe ring Somchai again, who sounds really miserable and embarrassed and angry (not with us, but with the school!) Apparently he spoke to the school last week and again last night and all was cool - Thai people very rarely show anger, so I am sure that, although many of the previous "no show" days have almost certainly been his fault, this one is not - I think he has had misinformation from this school - so, despite huge frustration from all of us, I am not angry with him, as I really don't think this muck-up was his fault.


We tell Somchai we will ring Grass Roots and see if we can get something set up for the afternoon at least, with a Burmese school hopefully, and Somchai says he will try to arrange an alternative venue as well - and we agree to ring each other the moment either of us have any success - the last thing we want now is to be suddenly double-booked!


Somchai rings back very soon, just before I was getting through to Grass Roots, saying that we should now head to Ban Yai School - which we were meant to be working at tomorrow! Okey-dokey!


So we drive a further 20-30 minutes South then East, and arrive at Ban Yai School - as we drive into the school, all 118 students are sitting in chairs, arranged as an audience, waiting for a show! It's going to take us a while to set up the show - we hope they will be patient with us!


The language gap




Team performing at Ban Yai SchoolThis is a Junior School, and the children range from about 5 to 11 years old. There are lots of teachers in evidence, which is promising - but it turns out that only one lady teacher speaks any English at all, and it turns out that she really doesn't understand a great deal - I do wish that people would say "No" or "I don't understand", if they don't understand, rather than nodding helpfully all the time! However the school staff are all charming, and the children are wonderfully patient as we set up the show.


Jake, who always feels very strongly about audience placement, re-arranges the seating with great difficulty, so that it will work better for the audience of children, and we string one of our parachutes across the netball court, to create a backstage.


The performers aren't remotely ready, and Trent and Martha have lots of musical equipment to plug in and set up - so I hand out badge bits and felt tip pens to the children (all of whom respond with a delightful "wai" greeting before taking their circle of paper) in their audience positions, and they start designing and colouring their own badges in situ. I collect all the designed badge centres in - but can't, of course, explain properly, that I will make their badges up soon, and that the children can collect them later. Oh, I wish I spoke more languages properly - I only have English and respectable-ish French! All I can really say in Thai is "Hello, Goodbye and Thank You!" What beastly Colonials we are, expecting everyone to speak English!


Lost power


Eventually the musicians and performers are ready, and Trent and Martha start playing the live music for the start-of-the-show suitcase dance routine. This goes really well. Haggis and Jake come on and start their silly but very funny jacket routine, and, when Hags is ready to start his hat number, I hit the right track for "I get a kick out of you!", and it's all going swimmingly well - until suddenly my power just goes....... Eeek!


I rush around looking for loose leads by my sound desk, and then gallop backstage to the kitchen where our power is plugged in, and yes, it looks as though our plug is falling out of the wall socket, so Paul rushes over and gaffer tapes it in - the cd sound is back, but Trent has been brilliant in the meantime providing live music for Haggis, so the show still retains continuity. Hallelujah!


The show continues, and ends really well, and the children love it - they are literally doubled-over, rolling in the aisles!


The school give us lunch, but after a few mouthfuls, I decide to go out and finish the badge bits, as there seems great confusion over these. Even those that have been made up have not been taken from the table by the children who made them - I think they are just incredibly well-behaved (what a difference from yesterday!) and that maybe the teachers have told them not to touch them until they are all ready.


Worthwhile despite everything


At 1.00 we expect 60 children for the first hour of workshops and then a second 60 at 2.00 for the second hour of workshops. The first children arrive and I distribute them between Haggis, Paul, Jo, Jake, Martha and Trent, but I walk around taking pictures, and it seems that there are an awful lot of children here.! I do a head count, and it looks to me like all 118 are here - I check - and yes, they are ALL here - the poor teacher with the most English obviously did not understand what we were saying, and we have them ALL, Everybody does their best and we keep going till 2.30, but really then it is time to stop - so we pack up and get a wonderful bank of goodbyes on our way out - the hugest waves and the biggest smiles. Despite all the problems it was a very worthwhile day and we feel happy, because the children are happy.


We stop at hardware stores in the local town to buy a couple of new buckets for Jo's head-turning trick, for sandals for Lelio and for a water pistol for Roo to surprise Jo with in tomorrow's walking-suitcase routine! Plus lots of fried bananas to bridge that gap and some wonderful coconut sweets.




Back to the ranch and have cold showers, which are bliss. Lee Hayes, who is joining our shows on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (again because he is flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur and on to Oz, can break his journey really cheaply, flying Kuala Lumpur-Phuklet-Kuala Lumpur for only £59) arrives with his wife Mariella and children Merlin and Mara - a lot of us know each other from previous years, so it is very jolly to be all together again! A bit of beer is drunk, and then, when we are clear that Lee's 2 x 5-minute pieces won't need live music (a mixture of silence and cd) they all go to the beach while I write up the diary.


Hopefully we now have (thanks to Somchai) got school gigs for Friday, Monday and Tuesday. We have organised an Open Show for ourselves for Saturday evening, and hope to also set one up for Sunday evening for families who have been displaced.


Still not sure


We are still not sure what will happen next Wednesday - Either: If there are worthwhile gigs that La can arrange down there, and if Linda can organise free accommodation, we will go to Krabi and Koh Phi Phi - Or we will stay up here in Khao Lak till the 28th - there are certainly more schools and communities we can usefully work with up here - so either way will be fine, and we have time to dither for a bit longer.


Long phone call from Chris, my beloved secretary/right hand/best friend, who is holding the fort at the Glastonbury office while I am away, and then off to internet office yet again. Haggis has got all the others into a production line, creating badge centres, pinned badge backs, and beanbags for tomorrow - so hopefully by the time I return, dinner can be served (or will be served long before I get back) if there is new stuff on the hotmail that Chris doesn't know about. Early bed needed for all, as Martha, Trent and Lelio still not entirely over their jet lag, and Lee and Co. not at all - and as we are all tired too from a very un-shady show and workshops, we all are rather longing for our beds.


Hopefully the next few days will go as planned. Tune in tomorrow and see what develops!


Love to all......


20 January

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