We arrived at the site and ten women showed up (late). They told us that three of the women from yesterday’s workshop couldn’t come back today. Then, over the next half hour, an additional eight woman showed up. It was depressing…we were in the middle of the body mapping and I had to figure out what to do with them. Overwhelming…trying to lead this workshop.
So, we continued with the nine remaining body mappers and I organized an area for the new women and three who couldn’t bend down…11 women crammed at tables in a corner. I asked them to draw something that they love about themselves…but somehow the instructions weren’t translated well…everyone drew whatever they wanted to. The drawings looked like drawings of six year olds…fascinating. One of them, in a strange flowered hat, turned out to be the sister of Angelina, one of my favorites. She was whining and complaining at first because her right hand was in pain and she couldn’t use it. She was talking to me in Afrikaans and kept frowning, pointing to her hands and saying, “no”. I gently said, “yes” and handed her a marker. After some time she began to draw with her left hand and she continued to draw and smile shyly, hiding her face and shaking her head back and forth. She drew and drew…beautifully. Later she kissed me repeatedly and kept touching me.
One of the older women, Gertrude (with thick glasses) was looking and looking at the marker in her hand. She had no idea what to do with it…I removed the cap and handed it back to her. I am certain that she never held one before.
Angelina, the old women with crutches and thick glasses drew her husband, herself and a bed. When she shared the story of her drawing, everyone laughed hysterically.
Meanwhile the body mappers were painting away and they were creating astonishingly beautiful images. I think that they were surprising themselves. The colors and designs were breathtaking... reminiscent of ancient South African designs and symbols. One of them wrote on her stomach, “I am proud of myself.”
I asked them to think of a word to describe themselves.” The words that they came up with included, “wonderful, special, cute, beautiful, pretty, generous, liked.” Some of them couldn’t think of their own words, so their friends helped, “Jealous, stingy, fat.” I just listened. They proceeded to add the word (of their choice) to their maps. Later I showed them a slide show of the photos that had been taken of them over the past two days. They were thrilled with the images, pointing and laughing wildly.