by Bori Sebők
We’re riding the motorbike with Felix on Kahawa’s traffic-lacking roads bordered by garishly colorful houses, poachy grounds of empty lots and miniature shop’s windows filled with chips, coconut and banana. Half-naked men wearing sarongs belonging to the cast of the ‘untouchables’ are standing about in front of their houses next to children in their school uniforms. We’re waving at them while they’re keep staring just because that’s what they do, and because a twelve years old boy is driving the motorbike. Gangster movie at noon at a speed of 20 km/h every day, right after studying, a little before lunch.
Riding the motorbike is an excellent opportunity to discuss important matters, like now, Felix is explaining to me what a 12 years old child is like and how should I treat someone like him. First I should stop being so motherly. Wow. Nobody has ever told me that before – I guess I’m not a particularly provider type of person.Of course this trip is about getting to know yourself, so anything can come to light. “Don’t take it personally!” This is one of the most important rules for the mentors here, which has to be constantly kept in mind – however difficult that might be. As a mentor you have to remind yourself to that when the mentored is screaming at you or spitting at you, or when his problem is that you’re being too motherly. The major part of his behavior is not meant to be aimed at you personally, even when you suffer the consequences simply because of the nature of this kind of behavior. We’ve realized right at arriving that the most important with Felix would be to allow him to be a child for once instead of having to play this macho gangster role he mimicked from the institution and the streets – the shtick he’s still playing, sometimes convincingly, sometimes unsightly like a parody. He shouldn’t have to take the responsibility. We’re riding on a rugged road; he shakes off the child’s role again and again. We’ve got actors fortunately: Pali’s plan – which I’m very much looking forward to – is to get Peti play the Felix-persona for half a day so that Felix can observe himself from the outside. I’d like to add here that theatrical solutions are quite often used here at the remote village of Kahawa.
But how does it all work? Pali described the mechanism of our adventure therapy at a group session with the metaphor of a sailing boat – this might help to understand. Every child, mentor and Pali take seat in the metaphorical sailing boat at arriving. The children are blowing the wind into the sail by showing their true selves with all the scars and problems in the situations shaped in part by them. Pali is steering the wheel of the boat and he is responsible to give the right direction and guiding the boat to the other side. Finally – according to this theory – the mentors are helping the wind to blow and the coordination of the sailing boat. So this is how we try to proceed – even if sometimes it feels like we’re flailing in the water next to the boat.
“Now you’ve done something stupid, but I love you.” Lóci (mentor) is giving tickets like this to Kristóf whenever he spoils a game for everyone or smashes the current situation, let it be a group session, a bus ride, checking out the big lying Buddha statue, or a visit to the beach. Kristóf reads every ticket with great enquiry and attention and, after the short disruption, continues what he begun with perfect peace of mind. Right until the 30th ticket which starts to take affect. The focus was on Kristóf in the last few days who, by the way, has great talent in many things, from playing the drums to surfing. Kristóf arrived here with the behavioral patterns of a four-year-old. This generated serious tension since we all treated him and expected him to be thirteen years old. Until the point when Pali realized that we have to let him fully experience his four-year-old self and once he did, he’ll develop the desire to grow up. Or at least act a little older than now. We’ve changed and put the emphasis elsewhere and turned to him with a different set of words and with different expectations. Kristóf is discovering, tries everything, gets scared, makes mischief, being cute, just as a four-year-old. This could work. Small changes are already visible, he’s more boyish, more cool, more concentrated.
Lóci and Kristóf went to Sigiriya today to be in two and process the occurrences of the last few days. Their room is strangely empty. Peti and his beautifully voiced mentored, Marci are working on an own number that they’ve prepared in an abandoned boat on the shores of Hikkaduwa. The local people enjoyed their music so much that they also gathered around and started to play the drums with them, bringing together a Singhalese song with the guitar playing of Marci.
Benike is bringing his usual self considering liveliness, but is much more meek than in the beginning. Instead of belly punches and tickling he learnt to caress. The new swearword is ‘banana’ which he uses with great pleasure. According to Pali’s concept, Benike has been punished and rewarded all his life. We try to avoid that so he can exit that bad kid role he built for himself throughout the years and can change his image of himself.
The biggest hit for the mentors and the mentored alike is wakeboard. We’re gliding behind the boat in the lagoon with dissimilar talent but great enthusiasm. On the highway, both on land and water.
Az itteni kultúráról még annyit, hogy úgy tűnik, a legveszélyesebb ázsiai fertőzés a pakett. Mindenkit elkapott, a gyerekeket sem lehet lepattintani róla. Ez amúgy egy Pali féle kártyajáték, ami komoly koncentrációt, gyorsaságot és multitasking extrát igényel. Ahhoz képest, hogy az első napokban egy sima „most mutasd meg”-et is elmosott a srácok versenyt fingása, egész jól állunk. Csak az a kár, hogy folyton Pali nyer. De ez nem marad így sokáig, az biztos.
Furthermore about the local culture: it seems that the most dangerous Asian infection is pakett. Everyone caught it; the children couldn’t stay safe too. It’s a kind of card game of Pali by the way. It takes grave concentration, speed and multitasking abilities. Compared to the fart-contest that washed away a joint game in the first days, now we’re pretty good on that front too. Too bad Pali is always winning. But it can’t stay that way for long, that’s for sure.