Saturday, July 21, 2012

Girl ACTUALLY goes adventuring a bit

Every day, do something to enhance and enrich and reaffirm your soul. Also do something that will stretch you past the limits of your comfort zone.

Today was a long day, but it was quite the adventure. The easy part of the day was visiting Regent’s Park and the Freud Museum. That was the smallest part of the day, though.
Today was mostly dedicated to some exploration into theatre for social good/ social awareness. I went out to Peckham, which is actually one of the rougher parts of the city. I usually try to be a pretty gutsy person, but this pushed me out of my comfort zone in a whole new way.

When I went out to Peckham, I first visited Nene Essien, who is originally from Africa and has founded the Papa Mandela Project. This is a project dedicating to educating young people (of African descent, primarily, but I suppose anyone) in the community about Nelson Mandela and about their roots and culture. She is one of the most loving, passionate people. I sat in on an informational meeting where she was talking to young recruits and their parents about the project. The parents and kids were respectful enough, but I didn't feel that they were quite as excited as Nene, which was too bad. Nene has been doing this for 17 years, and you can tell it is her life, she is so enthusiastic about what she does, and is tireless.

With Nene Essien
I also went to a play in the evening, but I had about four hours to kill. Nene gave me a ride to the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, where she suggested I look around for a while. (The whole car ride, she kept apologizing for not being able to let me stay with her for the afternoon, but she had a meeting. She was very precious!) So I hung out at this mall-type place that many people in the States would call “shady.” It had lots of market-y booths around it that sold fun cheap clothes, and inside the shopping centre was an interesting mix of shops. I got a thing called Ichtyotherapy, where little Garra Rufa fish nibble at all the dead skin on your feet. For real. It’s the weirdest thing, and you should definitely try it if you ever get the chance. There was also an exhibit on photographs about Jamaica in the shopping centre. I think there is a large Jamaican/Rasta population in this part of the city. I also met a filmmaker and his daughter. Apparently this filmmaker and his wife both do documentaries. You have probably seen some of them, as they are often for National Geographic and the History Channel!

Girl was totally told that "for her, a special price..." at this market...

Inside the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre. The girl would have taken more pictures, but people were giving her strange looks.
 In the evening, I went to a play called Vera Vera Vera. It's a new play, put on by the Royal Court Theatre. They have been doing this project where they move plays from their actual playhouse - Sloane- out into the communities. It was hard to find the theatre, especially being as tired as I was from the rest of the day. It was super cool though; it was up lots of stairs and in a "found" sort of space. They had put sod on the floor. It was very edgy, and socially aware. It's one of those venues that when you buy a program, they actually hand you a script that has a little programmatic info in the front.
Entrance to the Bussey Building, which is where the play was 

More entrance.

More entrance
 On the way back, I cut through the Barbican Centre (meaning I got lost), and caught a glimpse of the James Bond exhibit there...

007 movie posters

Today involved lots of walking, working the buses, getting lost, spending more money than I probably ought to have, and staying super "aware" of my surroundings. It was great finally getting to see where people-- and not rich people-- actually live. The people I met, passed on the street, and asked for help on the bus were of all sorts of different backgrounds. When I stepped back in to the Sundial Court gates tonight, I finally relaxed a little. I once again realized how nice and clean and safe my world really is most of the time. 

Today did stretch me out of my comfort zone, but that is where true growth as a person happens. Today has truly been an adventure.

And here are some pictures from the cushier part of the day:
Regent's Park

Outside of the Freud Museum