In this post, I would like to share with you a very special experience from today. After a morning of music workshops in the children’s summer camp, I spent the afternoon with WE-ACTx’ women support group in a small town next to Kigali. The ten women in the group are all HIV-positive, are victims of domestic violence, and come from a low socio-economic class. One of the participants, who was born in a refugee camp in Tanzania, told me that she has problems to read and write because three years ago she had been in a coma for ten days after someone tried to murder her. She showed me scars and told me that she was thankful that she had survived the attack, but that she would never be the same again.
During the workshop, we danced together, sang and drummed with sticks. The women got a chance to invent their own rhythms and movements. Although some were a bit shy in the beginning to be creative, in the end everyone came up with her own individual movements and rhythms.
I taught the women a melody which we sang using their words: the women shared their wishes with everyone, and together we wrote and sang their wishes in Kinyarwanda:
Ndifuza Ubuzima bwiza
Ndifuza umugisha uturuka ku mana
Ndifuza gukira no kubaho neza
I wish for peace
I wish for health
I wish for a blessing from God
I wish to be rich and cured
After the workshop, a clinical psychologist, who runs the support group, led a guided evaluation of the workshop in which every woman had the chance to share her thoughts and talk about her feelings and emotions. Here are some of their words:
“I was so tired when I came to the group today, but now I have new energy again and I’m not tired anymore.”
“Now I’m in a good mood, I feel I can breathe again and my blood is streaming through my whole body.”
“It reminds me of my childhood, when I was in a traditional dance group. The workshop brought me back to that period and that makes me feel happy.”
The clinical psychologist added: “It feels very special. I feel support from all the women; we all supported each other today without talking but through the music and the movements. Usually we share our sad stories and we cry, we cry a lot, all together. But today we were smiling and laughing together. This brings new energies to the group and it gives me the motivation to continue my work with this group.”
Love to you all,