My years in experiential/adventure education were filled with hard work and lots of laughter. However, those experiences pale in comparison to what happens when my Congolese sisters and brothers play speed rabbit, bumpity-bump-bump-bump, or warp speed. ...Several weeks ago during a staff development session I introduced rock-paper-scissors. We needed a break, a laugh, and some oxygen flow to the brain. We played the macro, full-body version:
· Rock: huddle on the ground, and hug your knees
· Paper: stand tall, arms raised straight overhead
· Scissors: stand tall, with stiff arms opening and closing against each other, scissor-like
Partners stand back-to-back, and on the count of three, spin around to face each other and show either rock, paper, or scissors. No fear, embarrassment, or worry about looking silly among my Congolese friends! Theology, economics, and communications professors, along with the finance manager and Academic Dean jumped into the fray with abandon.
Yesterday I though, "This is Congo! We need a Congolese version of rock-paper-scissors.”
So this afternoon, at the beginning of our Wednesday faculty development session, I charged the class with just that. The faculty divided into two groups and went to work. After vigorous, jovial discussion, each group explained the new version:
Moto-Goat-Tree (Moto runs over goat. Goat eats tree. Tree falls on moto.)
· Moto: Hands closed in fists. Stretch arms out front. Make a revving noise and rock your hands back and forth, as if gunning the engine.
· Goat: Bend down and touch the ground in an “all 4’s” position.
· Tree: Stand tall with arms and hands reaching high into the air.
Water-Fire-Land (Water puts out fire. Fire burns across the land. Land contains water.)
· Water: Stand with arms reaching forward and hands out front. Wiggle fingers wiggling, suggesting water flowing.
· Fire: Raise arms overhead. Stretch out fingers and wiggle them, suggesting flames.
· Land: Bend 90 degrees at the waist. Stretch arms forward, parallel to the ground.
We did Moto-Goat-Tree first. My colleagues needed no cheerleading to get going. They found partners, stood back-to-back, waited for the count, and spun around to pose as a moto, goat, or a tree. The room exploded with laughter. There were hand clasps and hugs, guffawing, chuckles, and full-on belly laughs. “OK, round two!” I called, and partners turned back-to-back for the next round. More hearty laughter, hugs, hand clasps. Pure glee. After three rounds of Moto-Goat-Tree, everyone found new partners for three rounds of Water-Fire-Land. We could have gone on for another six or eight rounds before anyone tired, I’m sure. But we needed to talk about rubrics, so we settled down to work.
Our work session ended at 5pm. Most of the faculty were catching a ride in the UCBC staff van. As Chelsie and I headed out the drive on the moto, John, one of the Congolese teachers, leaned out the van door, put his arms overhead and yelled, “TREE!” as his fellow-commuters cheered.
: - )