In summer last year, Red Nose Foundation sent one of its first and oldest students, Wawan Kurniawan, to the United States and Canada for a four-month intensive circus training in Ludlow, Chicago, and Vancouver.
Nowadays, Wawan is a junior teacher at Red Nose Foundation who helps our artistic director Dedi Purwadi and assistant circus instructor Yanuar Hermansyah in teaching circus skills to small kids in Bintaro Lama and Cilincing. Wawan also helps Red Nose founder and executive director Dan Roberts in teaching circus classes at the Jakarta International School. Next year, Wawan seeks to return to America for one whole year to deepen his circus training. In the future, Wawan hopes to become a professional circus artist.
Earlier this year, Wawan had a conversation with Red Nose’s communication manager Iman Mahditama about his experiences in America, what the trip meant for him, and his hopes and dreams for himself and his friends in Cilincing.
This interview piece was originally published in Red Nose Foundation’s 2013 Annual Report.
Iman (I): What was your most memorable experience during your American trip?
Wawan (W): My most memorable experience would have to be when I participated in the Wheel2013 international German wheel competition.
I: Can you tell us a little bit about that?
W: Well, at first, I didn’t even know what it was all about. Ka Dan was the one who told me that I would take part in the competition and I didn’t even know what a German wheel was.
When I arrived at the US, I was told what it was. I trained for a month on how to use it. Several days before the competition, my trainer said that my German wheel skill is great. My trainer said that I grasped all the lessons quickly and Ka Dan said that I was ready for the competition.
I have to say that I had been quite nervous before the competition but it turned out to be a lot of fun.
I: When you first learned that you were going to America, what was your reaction?
W: I was very excited. It was my dream to travel to America and Red Nose made it come true. It was the first time I went abroad. I was really thrilled.
I: How did your parent react when they heard the news?
W: Well, they were one part very excited and one part very worried. Because they knew that I was going to be in America all by myself, they were very concerned about who I was going to stay there with, will I have friends there, and other things like that.
Fortunately, I was able to stay connected with my parents through Skype during my time in America. It was Ka Dedi [Red Nose Foundation’s Artistic Director Dedi Purwadi] who set up Skype for my parents at their home.
Everytime I wanted to call my mom and dad, I would send an e-mail to Ka Dedi, who would then bring a laptop to my parents’ home and set up a Skype connection.