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Singing in the hospital
January 30, 2011   Palestine
3 weeks ago
“Play something happy!”
Qamar’s sister tells me. Together with Qamar, her mother and sister, we sing a joyful song of Fairuz. (listen to Fairuz singing Kan ez-Zaman)
MwB trainees Seereen, Amira, and Fadi join me in two workshops in the al-Hussein hospital for children with cancer. Qamar, 19 years old is not a child anymore but she loves music, and we spend some time with her singing, while I play on the guitar and the cello.
2 weeks ago
“Fabienne, I have very bad news.”
“Qamar died.”
1 week ago
Together with Fadi and a group of volunteers from the Basma Society, we are going to give a workshop to the children in the hospital. The new volunteers are eager to see how we do music with the children, so they can use it as well during their weekly visits to the children with cancer.
Before we walk together to the hospital, we sit in the Basma center and we discuss which songs and movements we will do. We are all in a good mood and ready to play with the children. But when we arrive at the hospital, reality hits us in the face once again. Yasser, a four year old boy just passed away. Instead of playing music and having fun with the children, we sit with Yasser’s mother and try to comfort her, as far as it’s possible in such circumstances.
Today we work with four children. They remember us from the other workshops and are less shy. 
As promised, we brought every child a music instrument so they can play with us. Ameer loves the tambourine, and Tamara is very excited with her bell-shaker. At the end of the workshop she discovers that the guitar can make sound as well when you hit on it. She gives the shaker to her mother and hits the guitar carefully, playing with the beat of the song. 
Little Tamara is extremely musical, always clapping on the beat!
Rowan remembers the songs and sings and dances with us. Her mother, a kindergarten teacher, makes sure we teach her all the words, so she can sing it herself with her children.
Sameera and Ameer can not leave their beds, but that is fine; we sing every song twice, one time in front of Ameer’s bed and one time in front of Sameera’s bed. Rowan and Tamara walk with us from one side of the room to the other, followed by their mothers.
We should not forget the mothers. They are very strong, supporting their children day and night, while dealing with the emotions that come with a child that has cancer. When we sing the bye bye song to Sameera and her mother, her mother starts to cry. “She is only one year and seven months…”

What can we do? We give her a hug and continue to sing the song:
“Bye bye bye Sameera,
How are you today?
Insha’allah (in God’s will) we will see you
always healthy”
(Translated from Arabic) 

* the kids love that their photos are taken, but for privacy reasons, I changed their names
Topics: Palestine