The gym ceilings are high in the school space but the basketball hoops are set very low to accommodate all the children in wheelchairs. Even our smallest member, little Amit, can reach the rim. "You are the Iking of Israeli basketball." I tell her. "No," she replies, "I, I-Queen!." This witty, verbal response from a child whose parents were bemoaning her lack of interest and ability in English. Since our arrival, her interest in English has grown keen and this use of language points to an understanding her parents thought she did not have.
This is our last show together--- at least of this tour. Like all last shows, it is bittersweet. We have accomplished so much and in so little time. I am incredibly proud of all these amazing young people and so thankful for this whole opportunity. What an honor to be part of it.
The school presents us with a certificate that thanks us for sharing our talents and gifts with the children and says something about the feeling of the day lasting forever. It will indeed.
We go to the old city of Jaffa to shop and have lunch. The kids split up into groups that have nothing to do with nationality or religion. There are a couple of incidents with shopkeepers that seem to be against the Arab children but the children‘s solidarity makes these slights of no consequence.
Final gifts and souvenirs are bought. We laugh over lunch and enjoy each others purchases. Renaldo gets the kefia he has been wanting and looks good in. Rianna and Shaina get bellydancing outfits.
We get back on our bus. The name on the bus is "Future Lines". When we get back to the Green Village, we take a group photo in front of the bus. If only this could be the future (and, of course, it can be!). I that is possible that these very children will be instrumental in making such a future.
The young people go to pack and the adults meet to discuss a show we will do for the kids on this last night together. The plan is to set up some chairs to look like a bus and then have the adults act out the different kids and the kids will need to guess who is being portrayed.
It is interesting what is suggested as the defining characteristics of each of the students. Also, interesting is the fact that these traits can be ascribed to at least one person from either group. Will you be able to tell this one just by how he takes his circus bow? Is this person’s telling the others what to do helpful or bossy? Is the child who won’t eat anything Iking or Amit?
The skit is a great success and most are guessed and appreciated by all. including the person being spoofed. The grand finale is Rabbi Marc’s rapping portrayal of Iking.
The show is followed by the kids’ extemporaneous attempts at portraying some of the adults. Then there are speeches. Both Renaldo and Iking express their gratitude and appreciation, as do others. There are gifts. St. Louis Arch key rings for all the Israelis, Galilee wine and mint plants for me and Michael, the brand new Galilee Arches’ t-shirt for all. We know there are also some private gift-giving exchanges amongst the kids. They present us iwwth astanding ladder--- a prop Michael has been searching for. Each of the boys in the fire act gets a staff.
The Israeli kids need to have a meeting. They have been invited to perform on a live TV show and must decide which acts to do. The American kids finish packing. How can this be the end? There is talk already about the Galilee Circus kids coming to America next summer. Next year is the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel. Perfect.
The kids congregate in each others rooms and on the benches outside. I don’t think anyone gets a full night’s sleep. We all want to get our fill of each other and know this will be our last chance for a while.