Friday, October 12, 2007

life is ...

This week has been very positive in the job-hunting department. Got myself set up with some fantastic projects, one with a literacy program at a local school in Hout Bay and a Leadership & Community Service program with a private all-girls school in town. Lots to say but won't do so now.

I love how things just fall into place as they do. The only issue i have yet to resolve is what to do about a work permit. It isn't the easiest thing to obtain and i'm still trying to decide what the best action plan is.

Also I'll be getting involved with the Hout Bay Music Trust Project, where we teach kids (from the townships here) how to play a string instrument.

Together, the orchestras, ensembles and quartets perform all across the country for all sorts of government officials (Mbeki in a few weeks!) and celebrities, and some of them even do the Royal Conservatory examinations. A lot of the pieces they learn are classical, but djembe drums are added for the "African effect".

The Project has grown so big, there is significant lack of practice space, storage and teachers. I will do as much as i can to help with the resource problem, teaching violin and theory and accompanying them on the piano for gigs and exams.

I was moved to tears when i went for the first time. Situated in the Hout Bay Community Centre, there were a couple dozen kids ranging from the age of 8-16, all practicing furiously away at their pieces.

I took a few into a separate room and taught them a new piece. Not only did they pick it up in just under an hour, their enthusiasm and determination was just unbelievable. I was totally in my element again: working with kids and creating music.

After, the "older kids" (those who have been in the program since its inception 4 years ago) played some Vivaldi for me, followed by the Schindler's List theme piece.

I cannot express in words how moved i was. These are your regular kids, who have, unfortunately, less opportunity than most, but they are kids nonetheless. And all they want is a little attention, a little mentoring and once that is given and trust is earned, they shine - and then some.

I cannot wait to start working more regularly with the group.

I've been most overwhelmed by the number of helpful people I've met over the past few weeks. Genuine, sincere and utterly kind. People will go out of their way to put you in contact with their friends, and i've learned never to turn down an invitation.

So a good week it was. Overwhelming to say the least. I have caught a little glimpse into the lives of the illiterate children here in the Hout Bay townships and of the polite young girls in their clean uniforms and manicured school lawns .... I'm left not knowing how a situation can ever get so bad, how a society can become so imbalanced. I know there must be a balance between one's conscience and one's actions that needs to be struck in order to live peacefully, safely and honestly. That balance i'm still trying to work out.

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