340. Toronto Fund Raiser for School in The Gambia

P. Anne Winter writes: Lessons on the Djembe or African drums, and exquisite beads and cards made from children’s drawings in vibrant colours, were among my highlights of this recent Cabbagetown event. So were Lizzie Mahaffee’s African song lessons. 

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Drummer Ruth Schmeil. Copyright ©2012 P. Anne Winter.

 Mahaffee quickly had us dancing and singing. I felt very honoured when she agreed to sing my favourite “click” song, a challenge in any language. She used to be a professional singer. She taught us more words and rhythms than we ever thought possible. 

 Ruth Schmeil showed us how to beat “Can you play the drum? “ on a djembe. And then “Yes I can.” and “You play very well” ….and so on. She was a superb teacher. The two women were very patient with us amateurs. 

Lise Watson organized this fund-raiser for this school in Kotu-Erinang at the New Bilan Restaurant. She has devoted many years to helping provide education for these poverty-stricken children. Their school was taken over by a garbage dump and it had to move. The owner of the New Bilan Restaurant donatedcrispy Somalian donuts with cream centers and huge samosas to keep up our energy. We needed these with all that exciting activity on a quiet Sunday afternoon. 

The lessons were free. Proceeds from sales of crafts and food went to the school. 

I left with a warm feeling of having participated in something very worthwhile. I had connected with a number of strangers in a special way through music, dance and singing. The joy is spreading as I give my cards away and folks ask me where they came from. 

For information about the project: http://kotukids.wordpress.com/the-projects/

To contact Lise: lise.watson@utoronto.ca.


Gambian School Child’s Painting on Card. Copyright ©2012 P. Anne Winter.

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