Monique, who hails from the Netherlands, is just about to complete her month-long volunteer stint at the orphanage. She has worked very hard teaching the children how to read music and how to play a lot of new instruments. It's funny - I've never met Monique. We planned her trip solely through emails. In fact, it was an internet search of non-profits active in Uganda that led her to CTT in the first place. That said, I do feel like we've gotten to know one another through our shared love for the children at SMK. (The fact that her two star sax players just happen to be Tony and Oscar... well, anyone who has ever seen me at SMK knows these boys have a very special place in my heart.) Here is a note I recently received from Monique. She, working alongside music teacher Ivan, seems to have worked music miracles this past month in Kajjansi. Thank you, Monique. I know the children have loved having you become part of their lives and will be sorry to see you go.
"Music at SMK!
I’m at SMK since three weeks and a lot of music is going on here. Apart from the music lessons I give, there is the marching band, the dance groups with drums and African harps, and a choir. I’m adding saxophone lessons, recorder groups, sheet music to learn how to play from staff notation, melodicas, guitar playing and the popular ‘cup game’. Imagine happening all of this at the same moment (which happens sometimes…). It sounds like band camp at SMK these weeks. I have some amazing saxophone students (Tony and Oscar) who can play for hours and hours. They learned how to play the saxophone and read notes so incredible quick, they’ve set a new standard for my pupils at home. Since CTT has been purchasing more saxophones with donated money, there are six saxophones at SMK now so the marching band can add a new flavor to its sound.
From the recorder groups, I scouted a few younger children who are starting to play the trumpet.
It’s fun to see those kids blowing, they are doing better than me, so they have fun too, when I give it a try. It’s interesting to see that different children have a talent for different instruments. It’s a good thing that we have all kinds of instruments around so everyone can find the instrument that fits him or her best.
Last week we organized an informal ‘music meeting’ where several groups and individual children performed songs that they had learned. It was a very nice gathering and another one is on schedule for the coming week.
So far, I am looking back on a very productive and fulfilling stay where I’ve come to know many talented, sweet and kind children and the wonderful and inspiring people around them. It’s been a great stay!"