Week 5, and the prize for ‘most moving moment’ goes to the child who hung on the bars outside the window, watching as the very last instrument went away…
But most charming went to the boy who asked where ‘the sea voice’ was, meaning the ocean drum.
2 drums shared between 3 schools means this one does get asked for… we have ordered a third!
The children love the tin whistles we brought. Always sought after, the cry ‘fairi, fairi!’ (flute) goes up if they’ve been hidden away, the older children have learned not to overblow, and at least one child is exploring melody. We brought them for staff, really, so they would have a voice to cut through the drumming, but the children love them too much and the trainees never get a go.
This week we ran experiential sessions for the teaching staff in Beit Sahour and Dar al-Kalima, which were joyous. As ever, staff responded with enthusiasm despite being tired from full days of teaching, and engaged with creative music making from the moment they entered the room. Traditional rhythms dominated, of course, but people were also willing to try out some of the games we use with the children, and several of the more reluctant then enjoyed leading the group, playing ‘conductor’ and ‘start, stop’!
We also enjoyed some time with older children this week, at Dar al Kalima. Unlike many of their English counterparts, these mid-teenagers responded to us straight away with good humour and willingness to participate. It was fast and good fun, playing with rhythms on percussion of all kinds. They taught us some things about Arabic rhythms too! (Hazel’s still trying to figure out exactly how 6 goes into 4 like that…)
The booklet to be given to staff was essentially finished, and the search for a translator underway, after a week or so of writing, checking, editing, rewriting… so Friday was a quiet day and another trip to the music shop, hoping for the ocean drum which is proving sadly elusive. Came away with more clavé and some brightly coloured shakers.
Saturday was our last day at Hope School, Ramallah, which felt sad - the time has gone so fast – but we are so lucky that it has been such a totally positive experience. We worked with our usual groups and said goodbye to the children… and as a coincidence, we were invited to the youngest children’s celebration of the Olive harvest, which was a cheerful way to end. They sang half a dozen traditional harvest songs with real energy, accompanied skilfully by the music teacher on keyboard. We then ate a traditional meal of salad – with olives of course – and a bread like pizza base fried with sesame seeds and herbs, absolutely delicious!
The week has finished with another harvest celebration, this time with the church community at EL Beit Sahour. We have made some good friends here, and can’t believe how little time there is left to spend with them. Our next blog entry will be made either just before leaving or after we get back, so until then, we leave you with thoughts of the week ahead; our last sessions, the gathering of all 3 schools and the ending of the project.
Team Beit Sahour.