Saturday, 28 October 2017

Day 5: WCS makes the local news

After a tired start and a late bus, today's day at JTR was overall incredibly successful with people braving both the noisy little ones of 3-7 and the slightly older (a daunting task I promise you). In the morning all three groups worked with the little ones, taking two half hours each. We all worked mainly on animals, each of the groups doing slightly different activities like acting out the sounds and actions, and rhyming games. After a short lunch all the groups went to the older years teaching between the ages of 12 and 14, and despite what we all thought it turned out to be really fun and easy once we'd got the classes engaged with an activity. After a lesson that consisted of metaphors and Sudoku, Leila and I got the privilege to get their hair braided by 20 expert girls, Eli also got his magnificent greasy locks braided when he came looking for us. The other lessons all turned out to be much easier than we expected, and easier then the little ones, as the older kids were able to contribute more and it was easier to have conversations with them. Eli, Dulcie and Alex finally managed to get a class to come up with a story (something that we'd all attempted with younger years). Overall it was a really successful day, despite a few soldiers falling to heatstroke and exhaustion. 

Pip- JTR

Day 5 at the BAM, and the team (composed of Chloe, Will, Katie, Annie, Connie and myself) is starting to settle into a nice rhythm teaching the students. The schedule was more organised than previous days but the number of students per lesson is occasionally getting in the way of progress. The students seem to be enjoying our musical tips however and we are certainly enjoying sharing our musical experience with them.
In the Library (piano) Room, some familiar faces were returning for another piano lesson including Maxwell and Michael who had both progressed significantly on their new piece. Although many of the piano students have already acquired many of the core basics of piano playing, they are yet to be challenged in terms of repertoire performance, and through these pieces this is something we have been able to work on in depth. There were also beginners such as Anthony, who went away with a range of technical exercises on which to work in preparation for the next lesson on Monday. All in all teaching piano one-to-one with the Ballanta students has been a very rewarding experience, and I know that my fellow musicians feel very much the same! Following a morning of teaching at the Ballanta, the JTR and the ‘music team’ headed out in the early afternoon to the Murraydeen school to perform another Outreach Concert. We were welcomed extremely well by the staff and pupils and performed our programme to them, being rewarded with a wonderful dance performance given by their students. The evening was much more relaxed, allowing us to recover from an already memory-packed first 5 days in Freetown.

Xav- BAM

Today was yet again an incredibly successful day for both teams, with a lot to be said 
about their teaching skills and their ability to get young people engaged! It was a revelation for me to see the JTR students plan their activities last night and then deliver them this morning... although they have all firmly decided never to become teachers themselves (does this mean that we have acquired a newly found respect from them?). Our visit at Murraydeen School this afternoon was a great opportunity for students to try out a couple of new pieces- a success in my eyes- and to be treated to some dancing and performances by the school pupils in traditional costumes. Some amazing cakes and snacks were devoured by us all at the end of the performance, and many of your students were touched once again by the kindness and warmth of the children and people of Salone. I finished the day with a little bit of networking with Elizabeth at the British Council Director’s house, and had a long chat with the journalist who interviewed me and Will after the concert on Wednesday at the BC and who has subsequently written a lovely piece in the local paper- copies of which will be available on our return! Another day of brilliant memories! 

Over and out for now! JDA