So what of our last trip ……well this was an amazing trip with many connections with people of a similar heart, a time of real encouragement, lots of laughter and generous hospitality. Thanks to Mark Riley who put this trip together and was a great comrade in mischief!!!! www.markrileymusic.com Read More
In the Czech Republic my wife and I were invited to a refugee camp. This camp had many people from many different cultures and backgrounds. Through the long process of governmental bureaucracy, it had left the people incarcerated with very little hope, losing their individuality and uniqueness to becoming a number in the system. I collect instruments from all over the world and as I played these different instruments people starting re-connecting with their own stories. A lady from Ghana heard an African rhythm and she found herself not able to keep still and with encouragement she was soon dancing before us all with all her might. Next 2 Indian men asked if they could sing a song from their village. The dancing and singing brought life to the other people watching and slowly, one by one, others emerged from the shadows to share songs, dances, verse and music. A mundane day had been changed into an amazing pageant of the stories and colours of the world in which we live in. A bridge of hope and belonging had encouraged the people and we later heard that that day had been a talking point for many days in the future.
Our involvement with a storytelling initiative called “The Telling Place” has encouraged us that the art of storytelling is still a profound way of passing on knowledge, wisdom, customs and inheritance (something indigenous peoples still retain). This wonderful creative art form is making a significant resurgence in the west not only in performance but in education, business and marketing.
Looking out over the nearside aircraft wing, the first golden rays of daylight pierce the distant horizon, as the air steward announces in kiswahili of our impending landing in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. I have travelled with a team of 15 to help with a conference, musical concerts and takeing supplies to village schools. The tannoy system crackles into life again, “Karibu”, welcome to Kenya. Read More
Leaving Entebbe airport in Uganda behind us, the seemingly never-ending vastness of Lake Victoria below, our destination was a small African country, Rwanda. Tucked just south of Uganda, west of Tanzania, north of Burundi and east of Zaire, this beautiful green land of a thousand hills was the scene of a devastating genocide just six years ago. Between half a million to one million people were massacred and two million became refugees at a time when this country was considered one of the most Christian in Africa, 90% of the population called themselves either Roman Catholic or Protestant. Read More
It is rainy season and as the plane flew towards the landing strip at Banjul, the capital city of The Gambia, verdant tropical forests of flat-topped acacia and baobab trees, flooded by seasonal rains fill the landscape. Lying at the western edge of Africa, surrounded on three sides by Senegal, its river defining the countries very existence, the Gambia is one of the poorest countries in the world. With a life expectancy of around 50 years and between 100-200 children in every 1000 dying before the age of five, the average western citizen is up to 100 times better off than their Gambian counterpart. I was about to be dropped into a fragile African nation of diverse cultural expressions. Read More