Monday, 23 October 2017

Day 1: in the lions’ den

This is it... all students have now met their students, colleagues and place of work for the next few days. The musicians got stuck in almost immediately at the Ballanta Academy of Music, meeting Moussa first, then James, Michael, David and Leslie, as well as Mr Faux... some of the talented teachers at the BAM. They have tweaked their playlist for our first big concert at the British Council on Wednesday evening- they have practised and tomorrow we shall have our first outreach concert at the Vine Memorial school in the afternoon, when they will be playing together for the first time as a group! The JT Reffell students will of course be there to support the group and galvanise enthusiasm from the audience!

Meanwhile, I took the JTR students for the 15 minute-walk between both schools around 10.30 this morning and we all got very hot indeed... but nowhere near as hot as the welcome we got at the school, with signs dotted along the buildings, and everybody welcoming us with open arms in their classrooms. Our students were an instant hit and a few got very quickly little people shadowing them everywhere! We were greeted with songs, claps and excitement, and students have spend a fair bit of time this afternoon planning their lessons and which classes they wanted to work with.

We ended the day with our first meal dubbed the rice challenge- literally an upside down bowl of rice with some lovely vegetables on the side. Mr Coward won, closely followed by Fergus! Clearly still growing lads! The BAM board of governors together with the whole staff and Mr Simon Ingram-Hill, director of the British Council, also turned up for an evening of thanks to Mrs Cairncross for her work in making this link between Wells and Freetown be possible.

So excitement all around indeed... and now time for some shut eye!

Earlier start tomorrow for both teams... and first blog by students!

Over and out for now!