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The Song of Birds and Goodbyes
August 23, 2011   Rwanda
That’s it. I’m back in Jerusalem after three and a half weeks.
On the morning of my flight I had the magical opportunity to give a workshop to twenty women at one of WE-ACTx women support groups. Not only was it the first time I gave a music workshop to a group of adults, but they were all women, some traumatized, some suffer from domestic violence, and some shunned from their communities. So a few days before the workshop I called Fabienne for advice: “HELP!!!” I shouted in the phone, and Fabienne replied that it will be alright if I just do what I usually do. Easy said. I felt insecure; apprehension filled my thoughts, what if they reject my presence? what if they do not respond to the musical activities? I kept in mind what a friend psychologist told me before I left, that sometimes, in such situations of women support groups it is actually an extremely positive experience to have a man that is not threatening. I could do that.

So I did what I do usually, just with even extra attention. We sang songs, and danced, and drummed, and together managed to create a secure atmosphere that was based on music, laughter and trust.

It was one of the best workshops I have ever had, watching the women smiling and laughing, singing and doing silly movements with me. In the end the trauma counselor that also participated asked the women how they felt about the workshop. One said that her heart was relieved. Before I left they sang for me a goodbye song, which I recorded, and you can listen to here:

Goodbye song in Kinyarwanda sung by the women at the workshop – Listen / Download

I would like to thank WE-ACTx for hosting me during my stay in Kigali. They had provided me with a bed, a full daily vegan meal, and moments of contemplation on the beautiful backyard balcony, where I sat to play, talk, read, and listen to the captivating song of the birds which visited the garden daily. Here’s a compilation of the birds’ songs that I managed to record:

The Song of Birds at WE-ACTx House – Listen / Download

Thank you everyone again, the staff members, the Latin volunteers, the peer parents, youth leaders, and the children for an unforgettable summer. I will see you soon.

Topics: Rwanda