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WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
November 17, 2016 •• Rwanda Youth Music
View from Rwanda – Yves & Espoir in Europe

In October, Yves Kana and Rukengeza Espoir travelled from Rwanda to Europe, first to attend a Musicians without Borders’ Training of Trainers, and then to give a series of music workshops to children from 3 – 12 years old in Luxembourg. Yves and Espoir have worked for 3 years as music teachers and trainers with Musicians without Borders in Rwanda, Tanzania, and soon in Uganda. This trip builds their experience and knowledge to take on the role of lead trainers in the coming year, working with young people who will use music to the support the needs of 1000s of vulnerable children living in communities affected by war, poverty and HIV.

We thank NGO Amitié Am Sand-Amizero for your support, and for inviting Yves and Espoir to deliver this series of music workshops for the students of Centre Scolaire Am Sand. And we thank also the individuals who contributed to fund Yves and Espoir’s trip.

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Yves conducts while Espoir plays guitar

Training of Trainers

Espoir: “It was an incredible experience to meet with more than 5o people coming from all over the world –  discussing with them, sharing ideas, the stories, and of course sharing music, and their talent during the evening Jam sessions. I had the chance to talk with different people and I was challenged by their stories.

I have worked with Musicians without Borders as an assistant trainer in Tanzania, then in the Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda, alongside lead trainers; but for sure I would not have been able to run activities – connecting them, leading them… explaining nonviolent communication.  Now after getting many, many skills from this Training of Trainers, now I feel comfortable as a community musician.

In Rwanda I have asked myself, what is really the purpose of Musicians without Borders and community music-making? Is it teaching music, singing, playing instruments, performing? Now, by the end of this Training of  Trainers week, I feel the purpose in my core.”

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Espoir at Training of Trainers

Yves: “Friday 14th October 2016 at 8h 45 Pm, was when we flew with KLM. The trip was long but i didn’t notice that because I was busy with different movies and of course I enjoyed the good airplane food. It was about  6h 45 am on Saturday when we landed to Schiphol Airport, after the Passport checking we were kept for one hour in migration office and answered different questions about the trip to The Netherlands. Outside, the temperature was 9 degree Celsius, and for me coming from Rwanda and 29-32 degree Celsius, I was freezing.  But so excited then to see a train for the first time.

We took the train to Ede, and after about one hour we got to a beautiful building Akoesticum. We were welcomed so warmly, and given a sleeping room.

Because of the long journey we felt tired and thirsty; we went downstairs to ask for drinking water but no one was there and we just remembered that we were no longer in Rwanda where before we drink we have to cook water, then we just drank from the tap.

On Sunday we started the trainings, and for me I enjoyed a lot and felt comfortable because I was in a group led by Otto – a trainer with whom I had worked before at Mahama refugee camp in Rwanda. He started the session with a song which I like a lot – “I like to say Good Morning.”

Laura Hassler introduced the Musicians without Borders staff and told us the story of MwB. I felt touched by her story and motivated to use music for the community and peace making.

And she made me think: “Where do I come from and where do I want to go?”

Evening time was special for everyone. It was time for jam sessions; it was so hot when 50 musicians from different countries played and danced together for 5 hours every day.

Day 3 was the moment for story telling. Laura and some of the Musicians without Borders team shared their stories. And time for me and Espoir came and we shared our own stories; where we came from, how we started doing music, and how we have become musicians for the community. The moment was so emotional for everyone but we ended up by our traditional dance and song “AMAHORO” (Peace) – everyone dancing to bring back the good mood.

I feel full of knowledge. From the Training of Trainers I got high resources, which I will use to make music for my community and the rest of the world.”

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Workshops for children in Luxembourg

Workshops for children in Luxembourg

Yves: “We were so warmly welcomed in Luxembourg by the team committee and had a wonderful dinner together.

For five days we met and made music with children from 3-12 years old. Together we enjoyed different activities from warm ups to music games, teaching them Muraho (hello) and Amahoro (peace) songs. Something which surprised me was that the children had heard before about Rwanda. Through different games we tried to explain the big difference in ways of living between Rwanda and Luxembourg.”

Espoir: “After the Training of Trainers I had the amazing opportunity to go to Luxembourg to work with children from 3 – 12 years old. It was my first time working with children of 3 years old,  and it was a challenge for me, because I normally work with teenagers and youth.

I have to give my thanks to the organisation and all the staff of the school in Luxembourg. They really took care of me and ensured that the activities, the workshops ran well. The workshops ran for 5 days and we were so happy to see happy children, and to make music with them.

I will treasure the gift I received at the end of a very nice and big picture of the children and me.

I am committed to put music for community in my heart and soul; and be the source in sharing and giving all that I have learned and experienced the last few weeks. And by doing that I make life a little bit better, lighter and joyful on this planet.”

The school teachers write:

“I appreciated the enthusiasm and natural vitality during the workshops.”

“The Children could express themselves more freely than usual.”

“Some children discovered their inner rhythm.”

“I loved the game with the trees and animals, it created a surreal atmosphere.”

The children write:

“Flying like a plane was cool.”

“It was not only fine, but really crazy when we danced.”

“The song Ruka was great.”

“I like to listen to the music that we did by ourselves.”

“Where did they get the tooth that was on their necklace?”

Peace, Amahoro,

Yves & Espoir