It’s 8th November, a warm Sunday evening, and we’ve now completed the first week of Music as Therapy sessions. We’re very pleased with the way things are going, and are beginning to be able to use the individual styles of the trainees to inform the activities we are using with the children. Hopefully this will give staff the confidence to develop this work in a way that suits their needs and abilities. Of course, all the children love playing the drums, and here we’re using the traditional Arabic drums, the darbukas. These are much lighter and more responsive to touch than the African drums I’m used to, and I can see lots of possibilities for my own work at home once I’ve had the chance to explore this new instrument myself. As a contrast, we’ve been improvising using the windchimes, as these create a different mood and feel from the upbeat bounce of the drums. Yesterday we had our first full day off, and did some sightseeing. We visited the Herodion, the ruined palace of King Herod which is very close to Bethlehem. Indeed, you can see the enormous hill from the SOS Village. At first, I thought it was a volcano as its shape is conical, but in fact it is a man-made structure, with the palace situated in the “crater”. There is an incredible maze of very deep underground tunnels inside the hill. These were used to launch attacks on the Romans when they occupied this part of the world. We also descended into the cave in the Church of the Nativity where tradition has it Jesus was born. Handy tip for solo travelers: if you’re not with a group, speak to the Tourist Police and they will let you in without having to queue. Worth knowing as the queues are immense. We’re now going to relax and prepare ourselves for the forthcoming week in which we will be encouraging our trainees to lead the opening and closing sections of the workshops.
Newer: News from Bethlehem 5
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