Friday, August 13, 2010

MFL Camp; Day 2

Music for Life has a school in Uganda where former African Children's Choir members go when the are finished touring. All of the students have overseas sponsors who pay for them to go to this school until grade 7, and then beyond all the way through university. We were fortunate to be able to visit the school this morning.

It happened to be the last day of school before their short 3 week summer break so we sat through their final school assembly. They began by singing some praise and worship music. All the music was student led. Keep in mind there were no kids older than 15 at this school. It was incredible! I have never heard kids sing like this! And their drumming is second to none. They can harmonize, vamp, and improvise effortlessly. They sang a few songs that were familiar to us, and a few others we didn't know but were stunning, to say the least. The whole room vibrated with vocal sound, drums, and the swaying and dancing of children.

Some of the kids prepared a special song and dance. My initial reaction was one of dread - if this happened at home it would typically be a grin and near it sort of moment. I was more than pleasantly surprised. The only thing more professional looking than their costumes was their act! I guess this is what you get when you have a school full of African Children's Choir alumni! In fact, we were also treated to a song by the former choir!

The principal of the school brought our team to the front of the hall and we all introduced ourselves. Once he found out there was a bunch of musical talent on the team, he asked us to present a song. I was so excited at the opportunity to teach this group of kids some music that I jumped out of my chair and yelled YES in front of everyone. We taught the whole school Blessed Be and within about 2 minutes they had completely learned the song and we're letting it rip so loud that the guitar became useless. The drummers took over the accompaniment and we were whoop-whooping and singing at top volume! Fantastic!

We all had private tours of the school property from the kids themselves. My tour guide's name was Julius; he is a former second grader whose English was too notch. I saw the boys dorm, the classrooms, computer room, library, offices, and kitchen.

We were fed lunch while visiting the school. Sweet potatoes and very salty fish from Lake Victoria which borders the school property. We each had enormous portions which came out of two gargantuan pots. Everything was covered in a very typical Ugandan peanut-type sauce.

The school visit has been a huge highlight of the trip so far. We all enjoyed ourselves there so much that we found it difficult to leave. Our afternoon camp went well, similar to yesterday, but today's high certainly came from visiting the MFL school.

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