Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I happen to be currently listening to a book-on-tape called THE INVISIBLE GORILLA, which is about a famous phsycology experiment in which people are asked to watch a video and count how many times a basketball gets passed around. In all the commotion, someone in a gorillas suite walks straight through the screen, stops, and pounds her chest, then walks off. About half of the people watching the video are so focused on counting basketballs that they do not notice the "invisible" gorilla. Upon watching the video a second time, most people can hardly believed they could have missed it.

This story is not about an invisible gorilla.

Yesterday, I began a workshop at the Mugunga Primary School outside of Goma, DR Congo with 28 Grade 5 students. Pappy Shamavu from Wildlife Conservation Society kindly arranged for a troupe of three actors to come teach the kids about gorillas through a play. The first actor stood in front of the class, telling the kids all about gorillas and then got them singing and dancing, which is easy to do in DRC. Like counting the basketballs, this distracted the kids in order for a gorillas to arrive on the scene. But nobody missed this gorilla

One of the actors came charging into the room, totally unexpected, in a full gorilla costume, pounding his chest and grunting as loud as he could! The room erupted in smiles and laughter and screaming and kids running all over the room. Even the teachers were going crazy! The kids loved it!

The actors then performed a wonderful play featuring a gorilla, a poacher, and a village chief. The play was both educational and entertaining and really got the kids engaged in this workshop. It was a memorable experience for all!

On Thursday, we will be bringing the kids to the headquarters of a national park where two orphan gorillas are being raised. As with the field trip in Bangladesh, the teachers don't want to miss out on this and asked if they could all join!

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