I traveled with the supplies to make 15-20 hula hoops. I spent 12 hours in a hotel room the night before I traveled to The Tree of Life Orphanage in Buriram making and taping what turned out to be 17 hula hoops. I had never actually made a hula hoop before so the process was slow but very exciting as the hoops turned out beautiful! The next day I transported the hula hoops to the orphanage and waited for the children to get home from school. The second the children saw the hoops they couldn’t wait to use them. Fully dressed in their uniforms from school they busted out their hoop moves until supper time a few hours later. In the beginning it seemed that the children were trying many different hoops of different colors and sizes but a few hours in, and as the days went on, it seemed that they had each picked a favorite and stuck almost entirely to that hoop.
They took care of their hoops and kept them clean and some of the children hung them on their wall as decorations when they weren’t using them. During the week I taught the kids a couple different tricks with the hoops and some of the children taught me new tricks they created on their own! Most of the children were leg hooping long before I thought to try and teach it to them. They had competitions to see who could hoop with the most hoops. Although reluctant at first, by the end of the week I had the directors of the orphanage, as well as the adult neighbors, hooping. The adults seemed to enjoy it even more than the children, simply because they were not expecting it to bring them so much joy, and then it did.
Part way through the week the other volunteers at the orphanage and I were invited to attend an activity day at the school to run an English station. I decided to bring the hula hoops as well. The kids at the school were thrilled with the hula hoops, and one girl in particular couldn’t get enough. The director of the orphanage and I decided to give the extra hula hoop we had to the girl who had fallen under the hula hoop spell- she was thrilled.
Everyone I spoke to about World Hoop Day thought it was a fabulous idea after they saw the reaction of the children with the hoops. The hoops provided so much more than they expected; they brought confidence, creativity, leadership, and sheer joy. What a fantastic experience! See more of her photos on Kirby’s FaceBook Page.