Saturday, 13 August 2016


By Suzzanne Pautler

By 9:30 this morning, more than 85 participants had walked through the gate to join the Necessary Arts volunteers for round 2 of our workshops. Wait, let me rephrase that. 82 walked, while 3 were wrapped on the backs of their big sisters. The life skills of responsibility and commitment are definitely alive here in the gardens of the Tulia cottage.  Children are taking care of each other, being inclusive, and leaving no one behind.  

Necessary Arts challenges its participants to "stimulate minds through creative expression," and specific to this workshop to deepen their understanding of peace.  Perceptions of peace.  What does a six year old comprehend about peace?  What about the 19 year old participant?  We aim to explore this theme through song, dance, performance, and other means of creative expression.

Knowing that peace can exist throughout all corners of the community, we tried to identify what it looks like in specific areas.  The following perceptions were shared with us through the spoken voice in a chanting, rhythmic manner. 

Let peace begin with me
And in the field I will see
playing, dancing, and reading.

Let peace begin with me
And in the market I will see 
buying, selling, sharing, and eating.

Let peace begin with me
And in the garden I will see
flowers, grass, and paw paw trees.

Through dramatic performance, students shared their understanding of peace through personal experiences.  The 11 year old girls were skipping rope. Then the  jumper missed her jump, but she didn't want to take her turn turning the rope. The 16 year old boys were dancing with their friends, when one took a phone from the other's pocket.  One teenage girl was cooking lunch, while her sister kept harassing her about when the food would be ready.  Each skit was quite similar, focused on a conflict fortunately ending in a peaceful resolution.

Rhythmic melodies and drumming filled the air all morning long through a variety of peace songs in both English and Kiswahili.  Some participants were willing to take a risk and sing a solo until their friends would join in.  All students were quite eager to sing in their native language.  And finally, Bob Marley entered our singing circle with "One Love."  Let's get together and be alright is a simple message that the children of Bofa seem to be living out each day.

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