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.