Saturday, 13 August 2016

Music Breaks Barriers

By Jeff Quinto

We arrived in Kilifi late on Thursday night, after flying from Nairobi, and a short drive through small coastal towns and beach resorts. We meet Answar, Zawadi, and Kuzungu, who welcome us to Bofa. I can feel that the area is full of vegetation and life, and I can smell the  sea breeze in the distance. I become excited to see the grounds at night; this being my first time in Kenya, I want to experience all parts of the country - I just came from the highlands of Nairobi, and here I I am at the coast.  

After a night of restless sleep, I wake up, eat, and then go towards the work site, ready to meet the kids.  I see Suzzi , Zawadi, and Sharieq setting up chairs for the days events. Suzzi, William, and I meet to quickly discuss our ideas for this first meeting with the kids, and we dive right into the work.

As a music instructor, I take great interest in different musical cultures.  At one point, I sang them a greeting song that I used with my younger children.  I then asked them to teach me a song that they know with a similar theme.  The kids were reluctant to share at first, but as soon as one child started singing, all 60 kids began to sing along, creating a large powerful sound. The dance that accompanied the song was performed, and the atmosphere opened up and set the tone for the acting workshops.  What I noticed was that the children were hesitant to speak, perhaps because of the language barrier, or because they were not too comfortable with us as the instructors.  However, when the focus becomes music, the voices become emboldened, the faces light up, and sharing becomes easy, almost natural. I even started teaching a goodbye song in Portuguese, and they gravitated towards the flow of the music and the song!  It was an amazing experience.

I am looking forward to making more musical moments with the children!  

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