Minutes from the Laughter Olympics  - Manchester

June 2012–07–22 by Betty Abugheida




The Ha Ha project culminated in a week long laughter olympics held in

Manchester, England.

A senior participant from France, who had attended the mobilities in

Germany, England and France attended and represented France during the

two day olympics event.

The days prior to the olympics consisted of workshops held in a

variety of community spaces

including schools.

The build up to the actual laughter run off included speakers on the

importance of laughter, films on laughter by noted experts, reports

from various trained laughter specialists from various regions of

England, etc. Approximately 40 people attended this event, mainly from

England but with representatives from Paris and Frankfurt.

During the actual laughter contest, contestents were asked to draw

directive cards indicating  the type of laughter they were to portray.

A German psychologist acted as judge and the French representative

served as the laughter police person who indicated when to start and

stop laughing.

Approximately one hundred people from the broader community plus the

regular particapants  were present and actively participated.

A rather large contingent of mentally and physically impaired persons

were present and participated with great enthusiasm.  Those who were

able went on stage and those in wheel chairs cheered them on.  They

certainly benefited by augmenting their self confidence and social

competence.  Several of these participants won prizes and the

psychologist gave the cheerleaders in wheelchairs ribbons and medals.

The effect of this was heart warming.

The French delegate spent time with two English delegates over lunch

and breakfast in their homes and profiting from a guest room in a

senior facility where one of them lives which was a beneficial

experience because the French delegate is trying to establish a

bilingual senior residence in Paris and this gave her a chance to

directly witness how a facility of this type operates in Manchester.