Yesterday we celebrated the 60th birthday of the SOS organization
and we had a great day! The children all went away for a picnic
with the SOS school whilst at the village we gathered with the
mothers, the aunts, all the people who work for SOS Bethlehem and
the Principal and deputy principal of the SOS School to celebrate
something that is no doubt being celebrated all over the world. We
listened to speeches by the directors here at the village and a
visitor from the Ministry of Education in Bethlehem (give me a
couple more months of my Arabic studies and I would have understood every word!), ate lots of cake and then all went outside to release 60 balloons painted with the SOS logo into to sky. Seeing everyone celebrate together really highlighted the closeness of this village which has a fantastic family feeling running throughout.

After a morning off joining in with the celebrations we decided to
compensate for all the cake we had eaten by hiking up the hill to
Yasser Arafat Street. There we visited Valentine Music Shop and
bought many instruments we had decided upon for both the SOS school and the village. Now that we have got to know the staff that we are training very well Liz and I had a play with the instruments in the shop to decide which ones would be most beneficial and how they could be incorporated into the training. We’re really looking
forward to adding these to the collection and using them in our
upcoming sessions.

Outside our sessions and once all is finished for the day one of
the things I enjoy is visiting the houses with my clarinet and
having some fun with the children. Having made the mistake
initially of trying to entertain ten children in one go I have now
got a great system of playing with one child at a time! Yesterday I
visited a little friend who is very ill this week and having spoken
with his mother we thought a little music might cheer him up. With
my clarinet and a couple of the quieter percussion instruments (!)
we spent about twenty minutes playing and improvising together and
had a few funny conversations in our usual broken Arabic/English