Dona Chicita

by Rebecca 6. January 2013 22:08

Being that it is a holiday today, Three King's Day, we distributed hot chocolate

and cakes.

However, before service began we assisted with cooking the hot chocolate. Making hot chocolate at Dona Chicita meant that we needed to cook milk and chocolates over a hot stovetop. Due to the heat of the stove, our team took turns stirring in the chocolates as they slowly melted into the milk.

Before the service started the pastor, Kyle, mentioned that one of his members was an attendee of the class. Felix was so excited about her clown training that she went straight to the colonial. Kyle was conducting Alpha training at the time. She excitedly told the group about her experience and then began to make balloons for all of the local children. She loves being a clown so much that she is already out of balloons.

Clown Training

by Rebecca 5. January 2013 21:24

Our class consisted of three clowns, which was our original request 3-5 clowns. While we had the opportunity for more clowns, my grandmother and I wanted to have fewer clowns to enable us to ensure a better quality of training in the short amount of time that we had. Our clowns consisted of Lydia, Felix, and Jorge. Jorge was an individual that Grandma was really hoping would appear for the training. Six years ago, he saw Loli and Pop (Grandma Kay and Grandpa T) clown and it inspired him to put together his own costume and clown at the colonials for La Vina church. When Grandpa T passed away last year, Grandma Kay began to pray about giving Pop’s designer clown costume to Jorge to help Jorge continue his ministry. So, we were really excited to see him arrive for the training.

We dove into painting their faces immediately and the end result surprised us. All three of our clowns looked amazing. Once their faces were complete, Dave translated our surprise that the make-up, wigs, and costumes we brought would be theirs to keep. Each clown’s faces shown with sheer delight with the announcement.

About that time, Grandma brought out Pop’s costume. There were tears in both their eyes as she gave it to Jorge and explained that Grandpa T would have wanted to give it to Jorge to help further his ministry. Jorge could not say a word through Grandma’s explanation. Later that evening, Jorge gave Grandma a big hug and said that he was incredibly honored to receive Pop’s costume.

We then helped the girls put together their costumes and select their wigs. The girls “oooed” and “ahhed” over the costumes and from outside you could hear their giggles of excitement. They all loved being clowns so much that none of them took off their make-up when it came time to leave after the balloon training.


Renato Vega

by Rebecca 5. January 2013 20:39

My understanding of Renato Vega is that it serves as a local classroom for kids. Our team cut hair, provided lunch, and offered free clinical services. As the team began to set up their individual stations inside the classroom area, the clowns approached Renato Vega. However, when we first walked through the gate, the kids began to riot. They were rushing up to the teachers and trying to push their way out to see the clowns. The head teacher had to ask the clowns to leave until class was over.

So, Paco went with one group and I went with another to canvass the area and ensure people were aware of the free clinical services available. I went with Tim Marsh, team leader, and another teammate. It was humorous to see numerous people be disinterested in two guys but became enthusiastic when the clown came into view. I handed out over 60 silly clown face stickers to people as we walked around. It was a lot of fun to make kids mothers passing by smile. Even women furiously sweeping front porches would grin from ear-to-ear when they would receive a sticker.

Once we returned to Renato Vega, I handed out the rest of the stickers and made a lot of balloons waiting for Uncle Andy. He was a huge help handing out candy to everyone. The staff at Renato Vega were so appreciative that they made us all sandwiches. As the medical team completed with the last couple families, I was able to sit with the kids and use my limited Spanish to make them laugh. One mom came up to get candy for her 3 small boys, just to say that this was the most open and happy one of her sons had been around a clown.

Aunt Sharon was great, not only at keeping people in line for balloons, but seeing little guys who were sad because they were pushed out of line. She would see them and ask me to make something so that she could give them to the small boy. It was great to not only have a shield or order but also a second set of eyes to make sure the kids did not feel too disheartened or sad by the madness.

Uncle Andy Becomes Paco the Clown

by Rebecca 4. January 2013 21:15

Paco found his face!

9 am – Uncle Andy’s one-on-one clown training began.

Considering Uncle Andy had never put on make-up before he did extremely well. His finished clown face really did look exceptional and I was surprised it was his first time. When we completed working on his face, Paco (aka Uncle Andy) put on his wig and new red nose. We then went downstairs to get Grandma Kay’s approval, who was sitting by the beach waiting for the clown training to end.

As soon as we entered the pool area, people started looking at Paco and began smiling. It is always amazing how much people smile when a clown walks into the room. It is an experience that I enjoy seeing and loved standing next to Paco as he took in the smiles around him for the first time. A little girl excitedly began to shout “Payaso! Payaso!” Translated, she was shouting, “Clown! Clown!” It was adorable. She shyly ran up to him and gave him a big hug before rejoining her parents.

After Grandma’s enthusiastic approval, Paco and I went back upstairs to learn how to “declown.” As we got into the elevator, Paco looked at me and said seeing that little girl brighten up as he walked into the room made it all worth it. I smiled and said, “Yes. It makes becoming a clown worth it. Just one smile makes all of the training, preparation, and work worth it.”

Arriving in Mazatlan

by Rebecca 3. January 2013 20:30

12:30 am – Fall Asleep
1:30 am – Awake to ensure that I don’t miss the 2:30 am shuttle for my 5:15 am flight.

Leading up to this trip, people have asked me if I was excited about this trip. Until today, I just felt numb. It felt like if I let myself get excited, it would be taken away from me. But walking up to the Mazatlan gate in Phoenix airport and seeing Grandma Kay dressed in coral with a big smile made it become somehow real. Suddenly all of the preparation was over and I was actually boarding the plane, filling out Visa information, and walking through Mexican customs. It suddenly was no longer a dream.

Uncle Andy & Aunt Sharon met us outside customs and we piled all of our baggage into Dave’s yellow truck before driving to our hotel, the Royal Villas. Dave is our contact and a pastor for the Vineyard churches in Mazatlan. On the way, we talked about how little sleep everyone obtained, how excited we were, and Dave discussed local foods. Just outside of The Golden Zone, we stopped for local Mexican food and coffee.

We enjoyed fish tacos and walked down to The Point. We could look out at the sea and enjoy the beautiful sun that I have so missed in Seattle. We also found the most unusual rubber chicken (it was much more adorable than any chicken I have found in US). After lunch, we were able to enjoy coffee from Looney Bean. They have coffee grown just outside the shop, cooked by owner, and given to clients. It smelled absolutely amazing. After watching the owner cook a bag of coffee, we enjoyed lattes due to Dave’s claim that it is better than Starbucks. I have to say their Soy Chi was better than ANY I have ever tried at Starbucks.

We finally arrived at Royal Villas and we were able to enjoy the beautiful view of the beach before ending the day. Grandma rested while I was able to separate all of the clown supplies necessary for Saturday’s upcoming training. One would never realize how much it takes to create a good looking clown until you lay it all out and take in how each item is necessary.

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Why Clowns?

Whether it is in a hospital, memory care facility, at a charity event, or walking down the street, that moment when most individuals see a clown they smile, regardless of age or culture. Clowns almost universally help create smiles. There is something about the gift of a smile and laughter that helps improve our spirits, relieve tension, and can inspire us to hope.

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