To be a part of Shashamane Sunrise group of volunteers is a great gift; it is an honor and a privilege. At the beginning of 2017, I was warmly welcomed by Dr. Zazou, the founder, and from then on I knew what a fruitful, purposeful year it would be. After researching the impactful work that Shashamane Sunrise does in Africa and the Caribbean, I was thrilled to take up the torch and carry out what ever duty was assigned to me. When I was chosen to facilitate an art workshop with the children of Fishing Pond Presbyterian school alongside Wendy Fitzwilliam, I was more than thrilled to begin work that would further Shash’s mission.
My visit to Fishing Pond Primary was not only fulfilling, but it was also motivational—I saw the talent that these young leaders exhibited while working with them. I was first greeted by a teacher at the school who escorted me to the principal’s office, where I met the principal, his staff, and his daughter. I felt welcomed. I was then greeted by: Jenecia and Marisa of team Shash in Trinidad and Tobago. We were all eager to begin.
The first session included children from pre school to standard two class. I could tell that their hearts and minds were open, ready to channel creativity. I began both sessions with a method to get them to relax. This technique allowed them to open up, so that they could create without inhibition. The youngest boy in the group stole my heart: his creation was the most abstract and unique, so we decided to award him a prize for his talent.
The second session included children from standard three through five—they’d just come from a mentoring workshop with Wendy. My relaxation technique, however, calmed their minds and allowed them to open up so and release their creativity. This session required more individual attention to some of the students who were stuck. But we achieved our goal in the end. The student whose work stood out to me in this group was a girl who titled her painting My Secret Space. She described it as a place where she can be herself; it was a wise creation that could teach other students to do the same when they need it most. I awarded this young lady the prize for this session.
At the end of the sessions, the girls all gathered together and gifted me flowers. The children were so engaged and receptive to the lesson. I knew then that the workshop was a success. And now I feel inspired both to teach and to continue with my own art. I am so grateful for the opportunity to work with Shash, and even more grateful for the incredible work that the organization executes with such passion and dedication.