Saturday, 29 October 2011

Thursday 27th October

The Ballanta Banter team's first stop was to see Bami, the bead man. He makes all the necklaces and bracelets himself and even makes them to order. Needless to say we all bought a lot… well, I did anyway! Think we may just have to visit him again tomorrow.

We had another fantastic morning giving masters classes to very keen students.Everyone was kept busy with people even queuing up for lessons. The same students kept returning so we must be doing something right! Mr Ladley even joined the Ballanta banter team, teaching the twelve bar blues on Piano… I think this might be the extent of Mr Ladleys piano expertise. Now is probably the time to say that whilst everyone was hard at work, Mr Yates decided to go and get himself a muffin, the first of many throughout the day, not to mention all the bags of Haribo he got through! He did however take us all to the muffin shop at lunchtime to get one and also a second one for himself!

The afternoon was spent giving a Lunchtime concert at the American InternationalSchool, which caters for international children aged 3-14. We performed a varied programmegetting the children involved by introducing the pieces and instrumentsas they were played. We finished, as we always do, with a version of 'Lean on Me'.They loved it so much that they asked us to sing it again. We called a few children on stage to join in with the song and with that the whole school including the teachers got to their feet to join in the singing and dancing.

After a busy morning/ afternoon we came back to IMATT to soak up the sun by thepool and just relax before getting ready for our concert at IMATT in the evening. All I can say is, what a perfect end to a great day!

Another day at JTR began with hearing the children shout "Auntie, Auntie, Uncle, Uncle!!" as the white IMATT van pulled up outside the school. The sun was already out at 8.50am, it felt hotter than any other day so far. We knew it was going to be a scorcher! Upon arriving, we dropped our bags and headed to the classrooms we were in the previous day to pick up teaching where we had left off. Ebs & Hattie went off to teach drama – fully committed to teaching the children of Salone how to beconvincing camels (amongst other things!)! Miss Daniel and Freya had the tough job of taking Prep 4 out on the Fire station car park to do some hockey in the intense morning heat. Christine settled herself in a little corner with her 4 recorder protégesand myself and Lulu took a group of 8 year olds to do some abstract painting! The morning was wonderful. The students at JT, under the wing of WCS students have made so much progress in such a short space of time. The dominant teaching method in Sierra Leone is learning by rote. Our mission was to get the children thinking for themselves and being a little creative! This is definitely beginning to happen. In the drama lesson Hattie and Ebs were encouraging the children to find another use for a pair of sunglasses. The sunglasses instantly became: sandwiches, a microphone, a toothbrush and a cigarette… In the painting lesson, the children examined Kandinsky's 'Circles' and told Lulu & I that they could see: ships, eyes, pancakes, snails and eggs within the painting! They went on to freely experiment with the primary colour. The children were so engrossed that at one point there wasn't a sound to be heard. Surely a first in Africa! A tiring but rewarding day was topped off with by a spectacular concert performed by our musicians at Salone Square in IMATT. Looking forward to what tomorrow will bring…