My friend Ponyo

Today’s Kids, Our future.

Time in China is flying! This is my second week in Wuxi, China and I am having an incredible time here. I am learning so much in my improvisation and composition dance classes likewise about the Chinese culture and its people. This week our wonderful teacher took us to watch two great performances. One was a Chinese classical dance theater show and the second one was a piano and violin musical recital from the Juilliard School of Dance of United States. In both shows I was impressed to see many little kids in the audience, particularly in the music recital, that called my attention and inspired me to write about it this week in my blog titled: Today’s Kids, Our Future.
At the beginning of the recital the pianist asked the audience to raise their hands if we had studied or are studying either violin or piano. I saw so many hands raised and I need to confess that I felt a little bit jealous and embarrassed that I don’t play any instrument, but that’s a story for another time. Coming back to the audience with raised hands, I saw little adorable arms raised with a particular shy smile in their faces. Many kids felt significant that night, maybe. One of them was my friend Ponyo behind me.
This little cute five year old girl was really friendly with me. At the beginning of the show she had a beautiful dimpled smile and a shy reaction every time I asked her something, she told me her name, but I couldn’t understand or remember after she said it twice, so I called her Ponyo which sounds like friend in Chinese (Péngyou in phonetic script). After trying to ask more questions in Chinese, probably not that successfully, her mom answered them for her. I asked her what instrument she likes more and wants to play. This adorable kid raised her two index fingers and with adorable little movements mimed playing a piano. She stole my heart in that moment and brought to my mind the importance of our little kids’ education.
I am intrigued by the interests of these little kids in the arts and the dedication of their parents to bring them to arts performances. I feel like Chinese culture puts great emphasis on the importance of their youth and child’s education. We might think that it is easier for them since they mostly just have one kid, however the principle is what I want to discuss and that principle is to prepare our children for our future.
I have been blessed to have wonderful parents and family members that emphasized the principle of education in my family. It is because of them and their examples I work hard to reach my goals. However, it is sad that in so many countries and cultures this is not an option because education to children is a privilege that families cannot afford.
For that reason, I decided to translate this post in Spanish too. I want to reach people that I know, in whatever situation, and express the importance of supporting and encouraging the education of our kids in our communities.
I have a strong commitment to the earth that saw me grow up, my beautiful Guatemala. Sadly, the opportunities of education, especially in arts, are very limited. Many kids in the countryside and some in the city don’t have the privilege to study or enroll in arts. Some of them will only reach a basic education and a high percent won´t even make it to a high school level. For this reason, I want to create a nonprofit art organization in Guatemala, to start spreading the importance of education in our kids and especially in the arts. This is a project to develop and I am working on that, but I am confident that this ultimate goal will come true in a not too distant future. If we do not invest in our children’s education how can we expect a better future, how can we expect a better society, and how can we expect a better world?
I came here to improve my technique in dance, but I am learning more than that. I have so much more to learn from Chinese culture and I am excited to continue this journey.

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4 thoughts on “My friend Ponyo

  1. Por eso es que estos paises como China son desarrollados porque desde pequeños enseñan artes,música y otras tradiciones que hacen que crezcan siendo personas cultas y educadas.

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  2. Wow, Benja, I haven’t talked to you in forever!!!! I wanted to say that I started reading your blog and after a couple minutes I thought wow this is Benja’s writing! Your writing in english: the grammar, tone, etc is really good!

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    1. Thanks Blake! I know!! Where in China were you? We definetly need to meet and hang out after China cuz it’s been a while! And again thanks, I really appreciate your comment!!

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