After the kids at the day care center in South Africa did such a great job singing "Hail to the Redskins" (HTTR), we knew we had to try the same thing in Cambodia. Not surprisingly, the KSEDO kids rose to the challenge.
We had several advantages in teaching HTTR to the kids in Cambodia. To start with, we showed them the video of the South Africa kids singing the song, so they had a standard to shoot for or exceed. Since the KSEDO kids love to perform anyway, we were hopeful that they would do a great job with it.
|Cambodia 'Skins: Mesa, Sokly, John, Samorn, Da, Vakim|
The wide age range of the kids was also a plus. While many of the kids have a long way to go in learning to speak English, Savy (16) speaks English pretty well and could translate the instructions to some of the others. Also, several of the kids are pretty good at reading and writing English.
We used the whiteboard in the classroom to write down all of the HTTR lyrics, a luxury we did not have at the Lavender Hill site in Cape Town. Although the KSEDO classroom was much smaller (and hotter at 100 degrees F) than the main activities room at KSEDO, we decided to film in the classroom because there is not a suitable whiteboard in the main room.
|Kakada and Vakim already know the lyrics by heart|
We practiced the song several times on Wednesday and Thursday of our last week at KSEDO. The incentive for the boys was sports time immediately after HTTR practice. It was mostly baseball late in the week, with some volleyball and other sports thrown in. It took the girls a little bit longer to get in the spirit, but the demonstrative hand gestures we added in South Africa eventually won them over.
|Demonstrating the cheers in a practice session|
|The girls eventually fell in love with RG3, or at least his initials|
By the time we arrived at KSEDO on Friday morning for our last day at the orphanage, the kids had the song pretty well nailed down. We brought two RG3 jerseys and one Ryan Kerrigan jersey for the smaller kids, and two yellow "Beat Dallas" T-shirts for the 16-year old boys. Ms. Sophorn helped to pick the recipients. Kon and Vakim got the RG3 jerseys. Pren was Ryan Kerrigan. Savy and Mesa hated Dallas the most.
We didn't really need any more practice, so we went straight to the filming session while everyone was fresh. We had them sing "Hail to the Redskins" three times in a row, the first two for videos and the third time for still photos. As was the case in South Africa, the kids again had the greatest enthusiasm for the "Fight for Old D.C.!" line. Probably because you can emphasize these words with a Cambodian boxing-like fist thrust.
|The kids really liked hailing victory.....|
|.....but they LOVED fighting for old D.C.|
Below is one version of the HTTR video (press the arrow on the bottom left of the blank screen to play):
We then moved over to the main room to film the "RG3!" chant, since there is a lot more space there and it's not hard to memorize that single phrase. We switched a couple of the jerseys. The kids sat down, stuck out their legs, raised their hands and pointed upwards, looked to the heavens and chanted with gusto, as if they have been Redskins fans all of their lives.
|The RG3 chant started strong.....|
|.....and reached a fever pitch by the 10th repetition|
Below is the longer of the two video versions of the RG3! chant:
Here are alternate takes of both the HTTR video and the RG3! video:
The kids are probably still chanting "Fight for Old D.C.!" and "RG3!" several days later, as they did when we left KSEDO for the last time on Friday afternoon. We chanted "KSEDO! KSEDO! KSEDO!" (pronounced like K-C-Doe) from the tuk tuk in response.
These phrases are all infectious, don't you think?