Our music club has put Hands of Love on the map, winning first prize at district-wide (Kasarani) competition and then at the regional-wide (Nairobi) competition. So, we will be participating at the Kenya National Music Festival which will be held at Kabarak University, Nakuru, August 5 – 9.
The team performed a special composition about child protection and safety in category 268A (Children under the age of 10 years) and got the highest score of anyone. And to think that they were competing with some of the best and most affluent schools in Nairobi (Riara, Makini), who have big music programs and are trained by renown music teachers is quite something.
But the competition has been about more than just winning prizes. It has played an important role in uncovering and nurturing the talents of our children and giving them a platform for expressing their creative and artistic abilities. For the children this has had a transformative – almost life-changing – effect
For example, Lydia Wambui lost her mother to death in early 2018, she really hadn’t come to terms with that loss. She’s been moody and bitter at school. Very irritable and often involved in fights with other children in class and outside. Then she joined the music club and it is as if she is a different child now. It is hard to explain but the transformation is amazing. She jovial and happy and from being quiet and withdrawn she is now teaching songs to her classmates who are not in the music team. There is a Swahili saying that “muziki ni sabuni ya roho” (music cleanses the soul). This has certainly been true for Lydia.
The two wins have been a morale booster not only for the children but also for the teachers. There is a believe now that we can achieve anything if we put our minds on it. Teacher Lucy’s comment exemplifies the mood – “I lack words to express how happy I am as a HoL teacher, this is probably the proudest moment for me since I started working for HoL.” The most profound lesson for me as the director is the in which preparing our children for the competition has meant working with them and their families in ways that we as teachers, may never have thought about.
We are now preparing for participation at the national competition. The children are continuing with their training. And we are planning for travel, accommodation and food for forty children and teachers for two days. Through our connection with AFS alumni, we have managed to get a school in Nakuru that will host us for Ksh300 ($2) a day per person (including food). But we must bring our own beddings. Most of the children do not have a spare blanket at home, in fact many would be sharing bed with their parents or siblings and therefore asking them to bring beddings is out of question. We therefore need to get at least 20 sets of beddings at a cost of Ksh900 ($9) each. Travel will cost about Ksh60,000 ($600). The total cost is Ksh102,000 ($1,020). I am worried about these costs. We do not have a budget for participating at the national level. If we cannot raise the funds, then our children will not participate at the competition which would be a big blow to them.
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