Day 3 – Singing and Dancing Day!

MAY 14, 2008 12:05 AM| no comments

Day 3, or what we prefer to call singing and dancing day! After a goodnights’ sleep, although slightly fitful on my part thanks to the snake episode, we grabbed breakfast and all set off to Ilinge which we first visited yesterday morning. The team consisted of Monika and Heidi, David and websedgetv. Liz briefly mentioned H+M before, but I think we have all been touched by these amazing ladies. They have come to an area where AIDS is rife and have built up 3 centres, helped over 30 Community Workers (CCW) get trained and touched the lives of hundreds of children. What these 2 modest and unassuming women have achieved in the face of a seemingly huge and daunting task is truly inspiring.

We arrived at the Ilinge Isibindi project, where many of the CCW were waiting for us, although we were ahead of quite a few of them…..African time! They had come in their traditional clothes for us, which are the kind of clothes they would still wear for big occasions. We were treated to a wonderful array of traditional singing and dancing! Not only do they have great voices and rhythm, but they seem to sing as an ensemble effortlessly a good analogy for the way their work together. Alex filmed a lot of the music, and Gerald has unearthed a new vocation as a sound man. The CCW’s got the hang of the filming very quickly-even offering to do entire songs again for the benefit of cut aways! In the afternoon Alex played back some of the mornings filming for the CCWs a ‘very raucous affair’ apparently.

CCW singing

Then suddenly out of nowhere we were swamped with 150 children, singing and dancing of course and also playing. Gerald wasted no time joining in the netball, a definite Wing Attack in the making. Meanwhile Alex and camera proved to be a massive attraction. Alex reports he has found himself a replacement should he ever need one. Other children were delighted by Liz’s camera, they had an amazing time taking photos of themselves………she has just downloaded 351 photos.

New Cameraman

Amidst all the ebullience we all had a sharp reminder of the reality of these children’s lives. One young boy who was orphaned a while ago arrived and Monica pointed out that the bed bound grandmother who they had been living with and caring for them had died this week. Leaving this boy and his elder brother of 16 years old alone. This is what is known as a Child Headed Household and is sadly an all too frequent occurrence. After more games and singing the children went home and we took our leave, it has been a wonderful day and the smiles and the attitudes of the children will stay with us all for a very long time.

I’m aware I have already gone on for far too long but I must quickly mention 2 other fascinating gentlemen we met today: Reverend Jesse Sage who was here at the beginning of this project and helped rebuild the retreat we are staying in. He has led an amazing life and as an English vicar was deported from South Africa during apartheid, he has seen the success and growth of the Isibindi project. As has Rev Lisa Nsokuma, who has lived and worked in the area for many years, both were full of praise for the projects, the CCW’s and above all for H+M.

We’ve just finished a special dinner for Heidi’s birthday, we cooked something special and original……a Brai again, every night we seem to have more and more food! Finally we have been inspired by the singing and we are hoping to come back with a special websedge song, Alex has retired early to work on his composition. We’re planning to get up for a sunrise walk so we’re calling it a day on what has been an incredible day……until tomorrow.

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