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Where Are You Today? Painting The Sand Mandala

The destruction of the mandala serves as a reminder of the impermanence of life. When we returned the next day, we found the streets near La Touche flooded and the well-constructed shelter made of palms in shambles after a powerful tropical storm hit the night before. We wondered if the children would be able to join us? The storm also did a number on our canvas murals, hurling one of them across the wall and into another backyard. The canvas was battered and faded because the paint had not thoroughly dried, and was very wrinkled.

Beginning our writing, we encouraged the children not to be afraid to write down how they felt about their life today. We asked them to write the beginning of their story. They were encouraged to support each other in their groups and feel safe about sharing their feelings with their adult team leader if they felt unable to write. The questions were straightforward; What do you think is hard about living in your culture? What is life like when you wake up every day? Are you worried you will never achieve your dream reality? Why? Do others tell you what your future will be like? If yes, how do you feel about that? Is there anything that is upsetting about your life right now? If yes, try to write about it.

After the writing, we moved on to repairing our canvas murals. With the help of adult volunteers, we mixed new colors and allowed groups to keep working on their co-created paintings. We talked about how art can be about change and rebuilding after a destructive event. And everywhere we look around us, even if something looks ugly, there is something very inspiring and artistic about recreating.

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Published by Kids Share Workshops and Publishing

Empowering youth through therapeutic storytelling and the arts for social change.

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