The last several weeks have been a blur of preparations, mostly logistics and equipment. In trying to get everything from insurance to Carnets sorted out, I've had little time to breathe and really think about what lies ahead. Thankfully, a phone call last night with project consultant Kasim Al-Mashat has helped me refocus and really look at what I'm bringing in a conceptual sense.
There's no real way to plan or prepare more than I have. Soon the success of the project will primarily lie with my ability to observe while remaining open to the twists and turns that are impossible to anticipate. All the while, I'm going to meeting what are sure to be amazing and resilient children along with the people that care for them. Little doubt that they will have much to share, and I, a lot to learn.
As a reminder to myself of what it's like to be a child, I'm packing an interesting relic that I found in the back of my closet. The Korean War era field cap seen above is the very same hat that I wore 27 years ago while playing "army" in backyards of my Memphis neighborhood. Armed with cap guns and active imaginations, my friends and I spent hours engaged in mock battle. Our play didn't come close to having the same meaning that it does for children born in conflict, but there is an universal innocence and organic method to both that are important to remember.
Thanks to a hat stretcher found at a western supply store, the cap no longer restricts blood flow to my head. To finish the repurposing and turn it into a conceptual security blanket of sorts, I added my wind-up world logo to the inside via a stamp. It'll stay with me for the journey that lies ahead.