My first impression of the debut of the Aurora Over the Silk Road project was disbelief. The way our workshops were received was unexpected, and the eagerness with which the kids learnt was inspiring.
With 10 minutes left until the performance began, the children arrived after a long ride as a result of heavy rain. The joy-filled screams of 200 children ages 8-12 could be heard from a mile away. Staff members finished the preparations and before we knew it the curtains opened and the museum's director introduced us. Next thing we knew the first official international presentation of Aurora Over the Silk Road had begun at the Children's Museum of Guatemala. The theater was filled with orphaned, at-risk, and children from the street. On one side, boys from Los Cedros Home for Boys and on the other half of the theater girls from Las Rosas Home for Girls. All these children now live in special homes of "Niños Rescatados" where they have been given a second chance at life, to heal and succeed in the world. The performance was fantastic and we all ended on a high note.
Now it was time to begin the workshop; we were quickly led into a large room filled with multiple brightly colored tables for the children to come and learn about the Silk Road. First came 100 energetic boys who became lost in their coloring activities while soft Tajik music relaxed them. Time flew as we completed learning activities together such as creating a camel mask, and question and answer portions about the Silk Road. The creativity and colorful drawings showed just how artistic the boys were; the happy colors of their paintings were a nice surprise, filled with hope that the children were healing. When the boys' workshop ended, neither of us wanted to part, for we shared such a wonderful experience that we were sad to see it end. We kept trying to extend the moment.
The girls' workshop consisted of coloring and a sheep craft. They were quickly able to catch on and create great works of art. Each one of them proudly showed off their creations.
One thing that stayed with us is how loving and sweet the children were. They all wanted to share their creations with us and their faces glowed when they heard the positive comments and appreciation we showed for their work. The girls became instant friends with Yasmine, and even made little gifts for her so she could remember them. The time ended too fast, and they soon had to return to their home. This experience will stay with us forever, for it was an extraordinary and extremely memorable beginning to our newest project. The best part of all was that we all learnt how important it was to treat everyone the same and to make friends and strong bonds all over the world.