But there have been differences, and I have found these to be enlightening and interesting to mull over! Here are a few I have noticed while visiting Pallapupas:
- The clowns don't ask permission before entering the rooms of the children. As first I was quite surprised by this...it is sort of one of our major rules in Scotland. We take pride in the fact that we might be the only people in a child's day who asks their permission for anything. But it was really interesting to watch the Pallapupas approach and to see a different way. Becasue they are so integrated into the medical team, it kind of makes sense that they come and go in the same way as the doctors and nurses. Of course they would always leave the room if they weren't welcome (although I only saw this happen once), and in the transmission, they are advised of anyone to avoid) but they had such a great flow and energy. They seamlessly went from room to room, bringing with them the story or state from the room before. And their skill level meant that they could change their level of play instantly depending on who was there.
- The clowns sometimes work alone. When they work on the ward, they kind of leap-frog along the corridor. They will set up a game, one clown will leave and go to the next room, and the next clown will finish up there and follow, and so on. When I played on the floor, it went like this: Maybee and Fonenda were attempting to wax Gota Gota's moustache. He insisted that it was fashionable, said he'd heard someone in the corridor say so, and went to find out. Maybee and Fonenda decided that if it was fashionable, then we wanted one too. We left to go and find him. In the next room, Gota Gota was trying to find us the perfect moustache. The game carried on, and evolved like this for several rooms. The first room was a room of teenage girls, so the theme of depilation and waxing was appropriate. The next room was a 6 year old girl, who found Maybee putting her mums' ponytail on her upper-lip hilarious. Lots of different levels of play. It felt like a real whirlwind, and it was quite a different way of working to what i'm used to, but it was fun and effective! No uncertain beginnings, having to re-kindle or find energy or a game.
- Their visits are short. On the ward, their visits are really quite short in general. They enter, leave a splash of silliness and laughter, and leave.
- They assist in medical procedures. During transmission, the nurse will let them know what they will be doing, and the Clowns make sure that they will be there. If they hear a child crying, they immediately go to distract them. They make sure the position themselves on the opposite side of, for example, the arm that is having the canula fitted.
- Pallapupas are in the Hospital de San Joan de Deu 5 days a week. They visit the Hospital de día every morning and two afternoons (the 2 afternoons were added recently at the request of the hospital), and surgery everyday. Each day they also visit a different floor of the hospital.