During summer 2011, we were lucky to have volunteer Sylvia with us. More than two years later, she decided to come back to join us, this time during winter time. She will be writing the blog for the coming three months as part of her internship.
January. One balcony in my apartment is bathed in a warm sun, and feels like summer in the Netherlands. Moving to the shadowy side of my house means putting on my warm coat and moving into winter. Still it is warmer now than it was in December, which brought an enormous amount of snow to many parts of the Middle East. This winter, for the children from the refugee camp Aida, also brought along fear, discomfort, boredom and neglect: the camp is situated right next to the infamous Israeli Wall, and is under Israeli attack because some boys throw stones against the Wall on regular basis. Some of you might have already seen the pictures on Facebook of how a music workshop was disturbed by teargas penetrating the buildings. It was not a complete surprise then, that the music workshops given by partner organization Sounds of Palestine this week were not as highly attended as previous workshops! Many of the children attending the workshops in Aida camp actually come from the other nearby refugee camp, Al-Azzeh camp. Because of a family feud in Al-Azzeh camp, that has been going on for some years now, it is hard to organize things there. For them, January 2014 does not bring relief from the tensions in the camp.
January 2014 is full of preparations: contacting potential donors, arranging spaces to work, talking over the specific problems with all those involved – Musicians without Borders, Holy Land Trust, but especially the community centers and local volunteers. But the music is not far off: despite the difficulties in the camps, Sounds of Palestine music workshops in Aida camp continue as well as the weekly music sessions in the kindergartens every Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday for children up to 5 years old in al-Azzeh and Aida camp. And there are more musical plans ready to be brought into action! For this week a music workshop for 300(!!) children in Beit Fajjar is planned, as well as a workshop for a Christmas celebration in Ghirass Cultural Center, Bethlehem. And also the nonviolence training for teenagers who attended the rap- or samba-workshops will start soon! Here some pictures of how music was employed to create some relief last week. For the drawings, the children were asked to draw something that makes sound, so do take a look at these beautiful pics:
For more photos click here.