nick davis; creativity

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Creativity is the lifeblood of childhood. Creativity is what helps people grow into new and phenomenal ideas. Creativity is the reason we all have personal dreams. Creativity is my Passion. As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Lichinga, Mozambique, I have become overly supportive of creativity. Children and teenagers in this area of Mozambique grow up with rough conditions. Working the machambas(farms), carrying water, cultural pressure to have a family by the age of 18, and many other hardships that fill up their minds. They are often forced to avoid creative thinking, because they must get everything done the way they are showed. For the first 8 months of my service, I taught a class called visual education at my high school. I was appalled to see students using rulers and compasses to draw simple things such as houses, or dogs. The children were afraid to draw something that did not have perfect lines, or perfectly curved edges. It was painful to watch as my entire class of 70 students took 15 minutes to draw a simple pencil sketch of a house. I decided that these kids needed a lesson in creativity, and an appreciation for the individuality of art. I started simple. I had to break my students’ habits of using rulers and looking for perfection. This was a habit that I broke with a series of activities. I would announce to the class that they had 5 minutes to draw a house, and at the end of the 5 minutes I was going to collect their work for a grade. After 5 minutes had passed, I quickly ran around the room and collected every single drawing as the students complained that they had not finished yet. They had been sitting drawing each line with a ruler, and erasing when they did not like the result. I then told them that we would do another grade. They had 3 minutes to draw a car. The kids started freaking out, threw their rulers down, and started drawing feverishly. It was a beauty to watch them work as I relished in my immediate success to show them how to begin taping into their creative skills. We did this activity every class before beginning our daily lesson. I was so happy to see their drawings, and to see them advancing and using their imagination to create their products. Eventually it came time to add a new activity. This one was a group activity, and they had to create their own personal monsters. In groups of 3 they would fold a paper in thirds. One would be responsible for drawing a head, the second would draw a body, and the third would draw legs and/or feet. They would go in sequence, and fold their work behind the paper so their group members would not be able to see the already completed work. After all 3, they would open the paper to revel a monster that they had created. Each time we did this, the monsters became more and more creatively different. Students began adding wings, tails, and crazy teeth. They loved this activity. As time went by, I began collecting cans of paint, brushes, and old cans in order to mix paint. I decided it was time to show my students what you can do with your creative skills. I drew up a mural design and presented it to the school. Our administration was excited and supported my idea. The next weekend, my roommate, a couple students, and I began our work. Education was still only 3 years old in my community, as the school had only been there the respected amount of time. I decided that something visual needed to be created in order to support education in the secondary school. We created a mural for the side of our school, and as we worked, people came to watch and listen to music. The progress went quickly, and after the weekend, we had finished our project. I was extremely proud, and so were my students. We all sat around and looked at the mural each day. Reading off each and every discipline and trying to compare the people we had painted to the real life people that were at our school. It is a mark that I hope lasts on the school and in my communities mind for years to come. Even though I am only a teacher for 2 years, I can only hope that the work we did leaves a mark and a reminder of creativity to all those who pass by.

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Nick Davis
Mozambique

Berlin, Germany

This mini passion project has been much more difficult than I expected with the short time in countries and the language barrier so it’s been a while since I tried it.

I took a 24 hour trip to Berlin while we were docked in Rostock and stayed at the EastSeven hostel. It was a Monday night that we were in the city so not a particularly big night to go out so we stayed at the hostel to have a beer and plan our night. We got to chatting with two of the guys that worked there and eventually I asked them what was one value they tried to live their life by.

They both spoke fluent English, German and Spanish as well as a bit of other languages. They were two of the coolest locals I’ve met while being abroad and the conversation we had with them was great.

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FREEDOM; Christian, Berlin

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HONESTY; Roman, Rostock