August 2, 2012

Drawing a Crowd

Remember Thiago, from a few posts back?  He came and hung out with us for a week, sharing his know-how in street evangelism and urban tribes.  He's been studying at YWAM-Brazil for the past year or so, and is a young man full of vision and talent.

Thiago in action.  Don't worry--I didn't
toss anything with flames on it!
He came with his unicycle (called a mono in Brazil, but not here because that means monkey), rubber balls to juggle, long bowling pins that also get juggled, and a set of sticks.  I don't even know how to begin explaining the sticks to you, except that you hold two in your hand (imagine drumsticks), and use those to toss around a third, larger stick, hereafter referred to as a bar.  It only looks cool if someone who knows what he's doing is tossing this thing around.  For the rest of us, it's a game of avoiding getting hit by that wooden bar that won't do what you want it to.  

We practiced a lot in the yard, and once on the beach, and then Friday night we all went to the plaza.  None of us actually painted our faces, like Thiago did for the photo to the right, because we spent some time walking around the plaza and meeting those who work the booths there.  No need in freaking the folks out, right?

Some of the youth from church showed up, plus the kids who were gathering to watch us try to learn, and to watch Thiago work his juggling tricks.  It all went well for a couple of hours, with even a couple of policemen stopping nearby to watch.  As it got darker, more and more people wandered through the park and stopped by our little spot.

And then a very friendly policeman told Thiago that he couldn't juggle anymore, as the city of Encarnacion would like to prevent panhandlers who perform at stoplights and wait to be paid a few coins as the cars stop. This stoplight panhandling is way common in Asuncion, and Encarnacion is avoiding this type of thing.  Perfectly respectable.  So we're going to have to find a way to work around that, maybe with a permit or a few brownies-and-Coca Cola visits to the police who work the plaza.  

I had to laugh that the whole time our family was tossing things into the air, no one said anything.  But Thiago began his little "show" for 5 or 6 small children who'd began to gather, and he was asked to stop.  I'm guessing that either a.) what we were doing wasn't recognizable as a talent, or b.) the city of Encarnacion has no doubt that none of her citizens would ever pay to watch us!

Either way, we had a great time, met lots of people who work or generally hang out in the park, and learned a bit more about some cool techniques for drawing a crowd.

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