In 2005, The Ambassador for Canada living in San Salvador invited Joan, as Director of The Therapeutic Clown Program at SickKids to join her and our fellow Canadians in celebrating Canada Day. Joan was asked if she would share her knowledge of therapeutic clowning through her persona Bunky and visit an orphanage in the countryside and a shelter in downtown Sal Salvador.
Together with one of our eleven therapeutic clowns at SickKids, Lucia Cino, aka Nuula accompanied Joan on this journey of joy. From the moment we arrived in El Salvador, our gracious hosts, the Ambassador Kutz and The Bank of Nova Scotia made us feel welcome and invited us to give a presentation to an audience of 'would be clowns', Doctors, medical personnel and interested friends. This presentation turned out to be the largest attended 'Awareness Seminar' they had ever held.
Next, Ambassador Kutz organized and accompanied us to an orphanage where we visited children with HIV/AIDS. The following day we visited a drop in centre for youth and marginalized women.In downtown San Salvdore, The Bloom Hospital holds over 350 beds, and it is here where we felt most at home - bedside with children in crisis. The staff, patients and parents embraced the innocence and playful child in both Nuula and Bunky.
With this visit to El Salvador, I know we touched some very special hearts, but they too, gave us the gift of exploration and profound joy in knowing I could take this profession to any corner of this earth.