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.