Despite the recent extra long weekends thanks to official holidays, the tail ends of my work weeks have remained packed with excitement. They’ve somewhat embodied some of the things I would really like to stay busy with (apart from my lovely day job) for a really long time: fitness, advocacy, spoken word performance, dance and non-profit work.
1. I had my biggest Zumba gig so far.
I arrived at the location, expecting at the very least, a hundred attendees at the sports fest I was opening. However, the lines of people spilling out of cars, jeepneys, and even a bus, took me by surprise. When I walked into Cuneta Astrodome, I realized that my humble estimate was clearly mistaken. Music was blasting, energy was high, and there were already at least five hundred people there. There must’ve been at least 800 by the time I finished my set. We kicked some serious Zumba butt at seven in the morning!
2. I performed a spoken word piece for the first time in Manila.
The International Justice Mission, an international human rights organization that, held it’s annual Manila Prayer Gathering. My brother gave the main message, after which I had the privilege of sharing a poem I performed and dedicated to my brother months ago while I was still in college. It’s a poem called Sold, written from the perspective of a victim of human trafficking and sexual slavery. What an honor to perform it for people who advocate for the very individuals that inspired my words. I was so happy when they asked me to perform – I had been secretly hoping they would!
3. I co-hosted the 50th anniversary of the Precious Jewels Ministry. And with my brother too!
PJM is an NGO, near and dear to my heart. They are my family, my mentors and my friends. They have reached out to so many of the broken in the Philippines and Uganda – serving families and loving children from the poorest and most high-risk communities. Another honor.
4. Played tour guide for a visiting friend, AND filmed a mini-dance video with him!
TRYBE, my amazing multicultural and hiphop dance group at Wheaton, was finally represented in the Philippines by someone other than me! Shannon came to visit and we couldn’t pass up the chance to dance. Unfortunately, both YouTube and Facebook have been taking down the video every time I try to post it, even after I slaved for hours trying to get the large file uploaded. I’ve sent it over to Shannon to deal with.
5. Had Buhay Makulay’s first major strategic planning session with my newly formed executive team.
AKA a couple of my childhood friends – all creative, intelligent and big-hearted. It was an inspiring couple of hours of brainstorming and vision-casting. The next few years look very promising with them on my team!
6. Spoke about the grace of giving through dance.
Pastor Scott had approached me months ago with the idea of using dance as part of a Sunday morning message at church in November. He and I worked together over the past couple of weeks, the product of which was a great experimental episode in interweaving live art into the Sunday morning church service. It was an amazing experience (of course it involved chairs – I have an unexplainable long standing delight in chairs) and although I had a bit of prepared choreography, I ended up improvising much of my movement, directly responding to Pastor Scott’s words. If you’re interested, check out the full message video here, to see the first out of three services.
Now this weekend, compared to the last few, is a little tame. I made sure not to plan anything for the day and I even got to read a whole book this afternoon. Just enjoying a bit of the calm before another whirlwind week and another big Buhay Makulay activity on Saturday – our first young women’s fair at local girls’ shelter!