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I Like to Move it, Move it

It’s Tuesday evening, I’ve just biked six kilometers into town from the border against a headwind, but I can’t wipe the smile off my face. There’s music playing in my head and the sound of laughter ringing in my ears.

Every week I visit Agape to lead activities with the children there. There are over a hundred children who go to school there during the day and when they finish class, the all pack into the largest classroom to sing with me. We usually sing and dance for about half and hour until their school bus comes. Then I spend time with the 50 children who remain and live at the school full time.

I’ve been traveling almost non stop since October so it’s been awhile since I could regularly run the program but the moment I started it up again it was like I’d never left. The children, the youngest being barely three, the oldest 14, remember all the songs and actions and can still do the Macarena without my help.

Last week I introduced a new dance to a new song: “I Like to Move it, Move it.”

The days in Thailand are getting hotter and hotter. Already the temperature breaks 35ºC most days but in April it will get hotter yet. Summer break has just begun, since it is now too hot for students to do anything but sit in a classroom and stew in their own sweat so when I arrived this week, the students were scattered around the playground, enjoying their new freedom after weeks of exams.

Rather than lead formal activities, I brought my little mp3 player and speakers out into the playground with me and started playing music. At first most of the children followed my lead and copied my actions but when I collapsed in a sweaty heap, they were having enough fun to continue on their own.

The last song before I left was their favorite. A young girl who had been sitting quietly the whole time on the tires suddenly lit up and started screaming, “I lika movup movup!”

Boys ran across the playground to caper in front of me. Soon a whole group of kids were dancing around, jumping up and down, waving their hands in the air and screaming. The fresh evening air was blowing across the fields from the border and the river, the sun was setting, and I have never seen anything more beautiful or inspiring in my life than the joy on their faces in that moment.

I like to move it, move it.

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