Sunday, June 10, 2007

Crayola Doctrine

Crayola Doctrine

I have a new theory on life. Crayola is the best way to connect with people. Crayola can change the world. We’ve been visiting a lot of houses, and people here are very friendly about total strangers coming in to talk with them --- not like our country when we’d assume it was Mormons or Jehovas Witnesses.

Today we went to a family that we’d visited before. I’ve been taking crayons to the hospital to color with the children, and it’s great to see their faces light up. Today Yee asked me to bring my crayons to visit the family. We also brought along Toh – one of the kids from the orphanage, and Ratanak. Toh jumped right into the coloring – we do that a lot at home. The children stood around shyly for a while, then finally Ratanak asked if one eight year old girl knew how to color, and she said she never had before. Soon the whole family, and all of us were passing crayons back and forth, praising each other’s drawing, and having a great time. Even the head of the family, coloring in military uniform with a cigarette in his other hand wanted his picture taped to the wall with the children’s.

In the hospital I take my crayons every time I go. The childrens faces light up when they see me coming, and the well adults come out and watch us color, help them pick the right shade of whatever, and chat about their lives. Yesterday I went in the afternoon by myself, and as I colored with my favorite little boy (he's deaf, but smiles constantly) I chatted with a tribal woman, the husband of a sick woman that's been there for a while, and one of the hospital orderlies. The kids all had a great time, and as usual we taped their pictures to the wall to brighten up the place.

I also color with the kids in the orphanage, though not as much now that I'm teaching english in the evenings. They all try to copy whatever I draw, and then we make a little parade trouping over to their rooms to hang the pictures over their beds. Some of them are beginning to get more creative, and even more so soon. Bopha is going to start teaching drawing classes in the afternoons after I teach english for the children. (I also try to do my sewing, quilting or mending out in the open - and a few of the girls now come out and help me, or bring something of their own they've started)

I think from now on, wherever I go, I will come equipped with Crayola. The real kind. In the big box with the sharpener.