My experience as a teaching artist in Liberia, West Africa
Last year, in 2016, I traveled to Liberia, West Africa to experience my pedagogy work in action with masks I made exclusively for the arts students of nonprofit, B4 Youth Theatre. I was there to put 3 years of work and guessing and hoping and wondering to rest, and to see for myself if my work was beneficial to the young people in their important work. In 2014-15, while the young people of Liberia were trying to stay alive during the Ebola outbreak, I was safe in the US, designing masks and training materials to assist them in making their important stories and messages louder to their communities. I had talked to them online. I had read their workbooks. Elated to finally meet the students who have been working with me remotely over space and time, I trained with young people whose cultural experience is nearly completely bereft of theatre or performative contexts for over 3 weeks and learned a great deal about my work, my intentions, my passions, this work, and what does and doesn't fit into their world.