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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
July 26, 2010 •• Rwanda Youth Music
Summer Camp in Kigali with a visit by Lauryn Hill
On Friday we said goodbye to the wonderful people in Cyangugu (including the fishermen) and did our way back to Kigali, Rwanda’s capital. Until August 12, we will be working here with HIV-infected youth who are treated by the WE-ACTx clinic. These youth lead the summer camp activities for 45 HIV-infected children. We train them to do music workshops with the children, but more importantly to integrate their own traditional music and dances with the methods and materials of Musicians without Borders.
This week a group of 8 American high school students join the camp and the training. The summer camp is made possible thanks to these beautiful young people who did most of the fund raising themselves back in Chicago.
During the genocide in 1994, many women were raped with the purpose also to infect them with HIV. This led to a whole new generation of newborns who carry the virus. Treatment is expensive, and cannot reach everyone, but WE-ACTx are doing an incredible work, and we strongly advise you to have a look at their website: http://www.we-actx.org/
Mardge Cohen, WE-ACTx’ medical director, wrote on WE-ACTx blog: “each week Anne Marie Bamukunde, the psychiatric nurse, appeals for funds for patients to buy underpants or some food prior to prescribing anti depressants for those referred to her.. She told me this week that in all her previous work in Rwanda she had never seen families with so many needs and vulnerabilities until she came to work at WE-ACTx. This is the refrain that we continue to hear, echoing Dr. Jonathan Mann’s words on human rights and social determinants of health from two decades ago ‘No matter how and in whom it starts, HIV always finds the most vulnerable in any country.’

On Saturday we gave the first training to the Rwandan youth and the American group. On Sunday we gave a music workshop to 150 children ages 5-14 during the Sunday WE-ACTx children program, in which the youth leaders had a chance to observe us at work.
Music Workshop during
the Sunday WE-ACTx Children Program
And today (Monday) was the first day of the summer camp, in which the youth leaders led the activities we taught them, and we learned their songs and games. Soon you might hear a child participating in a Musicians without Borders program somewhere else in the world singing a song in Kinyarwanda!
The youth leaders are truly inspiring. They have unending energies and the kids are crazy about them. Because of the sensitivity and the stigmas associated with being HIV-positive, we cannot post any photos of the youth or the children, so you will have to use your imagination this time.

We do post a special photo of Lauryn Hill who was photographed by Danny the paparazzi during the sound check for her show last night in Kigali in the Pan African Dance Festival. We didn’t really know that miss Hill was going to perform; we were invited to join the WE-ACTx youth leaders group and expected African traditional dance and got one of the Fugees instead…hey, can’t complain.
Hey Lauryn, why don’t you join Musicians without Borders?
•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music