Muraho from Rwanda!
This will be my first ever blog, I'm not sure of the exact requirements so please forgive me if I end up rambling on...
Gisenyi is a fairly small yet hectic city. Full of people going about their daily business; women carrying huge baskets of fruit and vegetables on their heads,men driving erratically on motos and children playing on the streets. The majority of roads are dirt tracks which makes for some interesting if not rather hairy experiences in getting to and from our new work places. I'm slowly getting used to being on the back of a questionably serviced motorbike whilst wearing an ill fitting helmet which practically spins 360 degrees as we go over every boulder in the road. The locals travel with ease, often carrying large suitcases, I however have resorted to clinging on for dear life, spooning the poor driver like my life depends on it.
Nicky, Hannah and I have spent the first week meeting staff at the two centres, observing the children and adults in their environments, facilitating workshops for teachers, social workers and psychologists and dividing a timetable for the remaining 5 weeks of this project.
The workshops were an enlightening experience. The objective was so introduce ourselves, give a simple introduction to the benefits of using music with clients with learning disabilities and also see if any staff members were interested in learning more. The response was both encouraging and slightly overwhelming. Staff had many questions and discussions flowed with ease. We interspersed the talking with some musical activities which helped demonstrate the many qualities that music can offer. Sharing an experience and creating a sound as a group really highlighted the concept of team work, play, unity and togetherness. Staff were eager to understand more and asked for clinical examples, suggesting role play with clients they currently work with. It's not often you have a teacher biting your arm and hitting you on the head with a maraca but I am hopeful my responses were of some use...
Today Hannah and I start our journey without Nicky as she returns to Kigali (capital city) for meetings and planning for more upcoming and exciting things.
We felt sad saying goodbye but are confident that we have the strength and enthusiasm this 2014 Rwandan project requires and deserves.