A Red Nose for the Embassadors of Smiling
An Interview With “Pepita” (Nugget) Of The Dharmic Clown Association
The Association Dharmic Clown has been founded by a group of volunteers who, through the antique noble art of clownerie, put into practice the art of smiling and the clown therapy in hospitals, orphan houses, schools, kindergartens, old people houses and any other place where it is important to bring happiness.
Clowns are Really Super-Heros!
The duty of the clown is to defuse staying in the hospital, to turn around negative emotions like fear, anger and sadness and changing them into positiveness like smiling and joy.
The Red Nose is the Smallest Mask in the World
In Ferrara, Italy, Franco clown “Pepita” (Nugget) is well known to everybody for his simpathy and for his magic talent of transforming difficult moments into a positive gift. Pepita was asked some questions to Pepita to get to know him better.
How did you start this clown experience? Who inspired you?
The Association was born in Ferrara, Italy in 2005. We were inspired partially by the famous film Patch Adams. Since I was a child I had two dreams: One was to become a school teacher and the second to be a clown. The second has come through.
What is the meaning in being a clown?
The poet uses words, the clown uses movements. The poet speaks, the clown “is”. To be a clown gives life to the child inside us.
How do you become embassador of smiling?
A strong motivation is important. In Italy also there are many different courses and many publications. I have met many clowns who have become my teachers. I have a friend who dressed as “Father Christmas” to give candies to the children. He went to the hospital bringing candies to the sick people until he found a closed door. He knocked at the door and a voice asked who he was, and he replied: “I am Father Christmas”. The nurse behind the door asked the director if she could let him in, he agreed and looked carefully at the man who went to the room of a very sick elderly lady. The old lady sat up smiling saying “Father Christmas is here”. The day after that the lady died and the nurse said that she went to sleep happily because she had seen Father Christmas! The director called my friend and told him “I don’t know who you are, but you can come back to the hospital whenever you want!” This kind of experience touched my heart and convinced me to become a clown.
How did you choose your name “Pepita” (nugget)?
I had to pick up a dress, choosing among many. I took a red overall and when I put it on I saw Pepita written on the back. Pepita means golden nugget, which is a beautiful meaning, because the heart is a golden nugget.
What kind of experiences do you bring to the schools?
We use interactive story telling which is centred on the five Human Values (Truth, Right Action, Peace, Love and Non-Violence). Each page of the story is illustrated and each page is projected on the wall. The students follow the story and they discuss and answer questions, fully participating in the story, according to the principle of “Who listen, forgets; who sees, understands and who acts, learns”.
What are the difficulties that you face in the hospital?
We cannot eliminate pain, but we can make it lighter. When I meet a sick child I have to be aware that I am a clown with the duty of smiling.
What are your dreams?
I dream to pass my clown experience to the next generation because young people need examples.
What did you learn in these years?
I have learned that I am the one who receives something from these experiences.
Can you tell us any special stories that happened in the past?
Years ago in a hospital we met a six year old child very ill, with cancer. He is now well, but at that time he was suffering a lot and could not talk. His mother was very upset and did not want to let us enter the room. But we went in anyway and gave a red ball to put on the nose of the child. The following week the mother went around searching for us because her child wanted to see us again. He started talking again!
Franco Borghetti is an inspiration to many, irrespective of the age group. He is definitely young in his spirit and a shining example of dedication and selflesness. Some time ago, after finishing his Seva at the hospital, he was going home on his bicycle when he had an accident with a car. Since then Franco is fighting for his life in the hospital and is still seriously ill. His light is shining to show the way of love and Seva to all of us, young by age or young by spirit.
On this occasion we want to express our deep gratitude to our dear brother and send our prayers to Franco and his family.