Sunday, June 24, 2012

John Cena in Ramallah

Today, the 24th of June, we went to Ramallah to give music workshops for 54 children in a summer camp. We were invited by the sister-in-law of Sireen, a music workshop leader from Dheisheh refugee camp. Sireen was joined by Amira from al-Azzeh refugee camp and MwB music coach Fabienne.

"When we first arrived there we saw that the children were so excited that they are going to play and learn new songs. And actually I was also very happy to give a workshop again because I hadn't done any workshop for more than one month."

Amira singing with the girls

We worked with two different age groups: 4-7 years old and 8-13 years old, boys and girls mixed.

"I started with the oldest children, and just before I went outside to the workshop space, one of the youth leaders told me that some of the kids could be annoying. I asked her what she meant exactly, and she explained to me that especially the older kids could complain sometimes that they didnt like an activity because it was childish or not interesting to them. When we formed a circle, I observed how the boys and girls refused to mix, and I was afraid that the boys wouldn't enjoy the workshop because it would be too 'girlish'. We started with a warming up of body percussion, followed by rhythmical breaks. I gave the group the first break, but for the second break I asked the boys to come up with something. They tried out some movements and then decided to do the "John Cena" move. I had seen the red and purple John Cena children t-shirts everywhere in Palestine but today I also learned the John Cena move: while waving their hands in front of their face with spread fingers, the boys shouted: You Can See Me, You Can See Me! The girls decided on a clapping rhythm to accompany this call. And that is how the group invented their own break, a break I could never have thought of!"

John Cena...
The boys showing us the "John Cena move"
In the mean time, Sireen and Amira were working with the younger group inside the building.

"We did different dances with the children like "1-2-3", "drum dance", and "Khashaboo" (khashab means "wood" in Arabic). The children were the most excited when we did Khashaboo and loved the story I told them to introduce the dance:

One day, Amira, Fabienne, and I gave a workshop in a small village next to Ramallah. We were very surprised to see a strange boy in the group, and I asked him from where he was. Actually he looked like a wooden doll! He told us that his father, a carpenter, had made him with a saw! 

Kids dancing the Khashaboo dance

Another thing I liked, happened when we did the drum dance: when I was supposed to show the group a new drumming movement, I forgot it and didn't make any movement. Then a four-year old boy saved me by drumming with his hand on his lower back! We copied him and I had learned a new movement from this little boy!"

Making movements with Sireen

Thank you Ruweida for making the pictures!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Congratulations! Mabruk!

During the first week of June, the third Music Workshop Leader training week took place in al-Azzeh refugee camp, Bethlehem. 19 Palestinian trainees from all over the West bank participated in the HLT/MwB musical and nonviolent leadership training 2011-2012 and received a certificate.

The last activities in the training week were two music workshops given by the trainees for children from al-Azzeh refugee camp. The workshops were very successful! The children, the mothers who came to watch, and trainers, were all smiling. But during the evaluation of the workshops it became clear that it had been a difficult experience for some of the trainees: we only hosted 60 children in total, while there were many more kids in the street. The children that hadn't manage to enter tried to do so anyway by pushing and pulling, throwing themselves on the ground, or on the guard next to the door. They banged on the doors of the workshop space, and even threw a broom through an open window. It was difficult to see how desperately these kids wanted to enter the room and participate in the music workshop, especially since we couldn't let them all enter. At the same time, this experience gave us motivation to continue our work, so more and more children can join the music workshops in the future!

Thank you MwB trainers Hanno and Sherwin, project manager Ahmad, and translator/co-coordinator Fuad, for this unforgettable training week. And to all the trainees: it was great to work with you this year and I'm very much looking forward to continuing doing music together!