….if heaven exists, this man has a prepaid ticket….
Gisenyi, Rwanda – It makes you feel a little bit like drunk. All the hugs and happines the little acrobats were sharing…
It makes you feel a little bit like drunk…all the hugs and unconditioned happiness.
We spend the whole evening training with the Future Vision Acrobats – a bunch of Rwandese kids, who might be made out of rubber, trying to learn at least a little bit of their amazing skills without breaking our necks at the same time.
Then the group of children and youngsters walked us home, to a hotel in a small town at the border to Congo, chatting and laughing all the way.
After the training we all gathered in a circle and they all have expressed how happy they were that we have joined them. They thanked God for a good training and the fact that no one got hurt (well, the fact that neither me, nor my friend Blanka would be able to move tomorrow probably doesn´t count).
The self-confident acrobats, who were flying in the air in unbelievable shapes and speeds now turned into little kids that shyly whispered their feelings.
These are mainly abandoned kids or orphans, training 6 times a week to become world famous acrobats. Which might seem as a totally crazy idea and a childish wish, given where they live, but they know it can happen. One of them did it!
but let´s start from the beginning…
Take all the bad luck a kid can have (and perhaps a little more) – genocide when you are growing up, mother and sister killed, having to escape from your country, being abandoned by father… and you are having an incredible life story.
One could easily end up as a bitter cruel person – if not worse. But Elisée is a total opposite.
Full of energy and great ideas, he learned from YouTube how to do acrobatics and circus tricks. And please don´t imagine a lost boy, doing cartwheels. I am talking back summersaults, even the untucked ones, juggling and balancing a pile of Cocacola bottles on a sharp of a knife, whilst riding a monobike.
Elisée then put together a group and taught other children, creating an acrobatic school.
They were training on a beach in a small Rwandese town at the border to Congo. You should see him. He supports the kids- He understands, that one can be afraid, but “little by little”, he helps them to build confidence and dare to do the unexpectable.
And they were simply amazing. One day Swedish travelers met them, were (obviously) amazed and the acrobats ended up having a tour around Europe.
Having experienced all this, one might become a really arrogant.
But not Elysée.
He loved the shows and Europe (except olives), but he came back and decided to take care of many street kids in Rwanda, teach them acrobatics and give them hope for the future.
“When we do sports, we are so happy,” admitted little Samuel, who is called the Snake man – no wonder, he seems not to be having joints! And Elisée knows it. With acrobatics the kids not only get great skills and fit bodies, they also learn discipline and many of them for the first time feel like part of a group.
And Elisée went further. He found several homes and adoptive families for the street children, he even took three of them in his own house.
When we went to visit him, we were really surprised. So poor conditions, yet he doesn´t complain. At all, actually. He proudly took us around his household.
“I could have had a big house, a TV, but I wanted to help these children. I have promised myself to help them,” he said.
Most of the money the group earns he distributes amongst the kids, allowing them to go to school, bringing a bit of money to the families that take care of them, as many are extremely poor as well….but that is another story…