One of our goals while in Zimbabwe, was to visit some of disadvantaged children supported in part by A Wall for Social Consciousness.
On the 27th, after meeting with Sister Patricia at the Convent, Rita and Rodney drove Jacob, Sam, Jeff, Chris, Adam and me to visit the children in Hatcliffe. We took our instruments and had a little performance at Rita's house. There were at least 15 neighborhood children there, ranging in age from 4 to 17. We took turns, with the children singing and then PTQ doing a little jam and then joining up for a finale in the garden. The highlight was definitely watching some of children playing Chris' baritone and Jacob's guitar. Some were awed just by the fact that they could carry a guitar case!
On the 30th, I brought 10 of the children to our last performance, along with Sister Patricia and Rita. They children were wide-eyed - some of them had never witnessed live music. Some of them had never seen so many "white people" in one place. They absolutely loved the performance, and as specials guests sitting in the front row, felt really honored. They really wanted to dance but felt shy... because of the "white people" in the audience.
After the concert I gave Rita some money to buy everyone lunch and asked them to meet me 2 hours later - enough time for them to wander the festival grounds. In the meantime, Manuel Bagorro, founder of HIFA, graciously gave me the key to his penthouse suite at the hotel. Jacob and Adam got the recording equipment ready while I brought the group of children up to the room. The adventure started well before we got to the 19th floor - many of the children had never been in an hotel before, never mind the elevator! Rita and I split up the group and I rode up with some and she with the rest.
The recording session was wonderful, with lots of funny moments. Jacob and Adam worked their magic with the children and gave them an unforgettable experience. The children were close to heaven - yes, I know, they were on the 19th floor! In the space of a few hours, the children recorded 5 or 6 of their own songs with Adam's and Jacob's direction. Jacob will work on the songs and produce a CD for the children.
At 4:30 we said farewell to a jubilant group of children who had experienced many firsts. Thank you all for sticking to our vision. Our actions may seem insignificant to us, but definitely planted a seed, and gave the children a glimpse of what can be, a chance to dream.
Here's a note I received from Rita today - they children were so excited that they wanted to share it with us.
Hello. I am Miriam Chitemwe. I am fifteen years old. Thank you very much for giving us an opportunity to attend
HIFA. I had a chance to see so many things. I enjoyed your music and that of other artists who were performing
there. It was my first time going to HIFA. I enjoyed myself.
Hope to see you again someday. Thank you once more.
It was an interesting day for me. I saw white people singing and communicating in their own language. It was my
first time seeing so many of them.
I enjoyed going to the hotel. I have never been in an elevator before.
I am grateful to you for taking care of us the whole day.
I am writing this note with great joy. I am truly thankful to you for choosing me to be one of the people to attend
HIFA. I felt so safe being with you the whole day.
We enjoyed your band. You sang very well and your instruments made it more interesting to listen to. I have never
seen live music performance before. We only hear it on radios. We do not have electricity in our community. That
means we only listen to music when we visit relatives in other towns. I hope someday I will sing with confidence
like you. I was happy to hear Winky D singing live.
Thank you for the cap you gave me.
We have been practising traditional songs hoping to see you again but you left quickly. I hope we will meet again
Thank you for spending your day with us. It was a different day for me. I will never forget it.
Dear Jacob, Adam and others
I am writing this letter to thank you for taking us to HIFA. You did a very great job. I was so happy because we
visited a place we have never visited before and we saw so many different things. Some things were very new to
us. I saw different musicians, some of which we only heard on radio but that day we had a chance to see them live
Thank you for taking us to the hotel Crown Plaza. The hotel was beautiful. I enjoyed being in an elevator and how
fast it took us to the studio in the last floor. I enjoyed looking outside the window and how all things seemed so
small. It was my first time being in an elevator. I didn’t know there were such things. I enjoyed the chance you
gave us to sing whilst you were recording. I hope you enjoyed as well.
I enjoyed your music very much only that I was so shy to dance to it. The day was an eye opener. I learnt so
many things. Thank you for the love you have shown us by taking us to such places.
I hope we will meet again.
Hello Camera-man, Jacob, Adam and others. .
My name is William Bangira a.k.a Fox. I am aged 16. I am writing to thank you for the music. We were happy to
go to HIFA. It was my first time. We were happy with your performance. You group is really great.
Although it was my second time meeting you, I am really grateful for your hospitality. It was like we have known
each other for years. Thank you for providing us with food. I was filled with joy that day. It was my first time being
in an elevator and being in a hotel as well.
I know I did not sing well but I am going to perfect my voice so that the next time you come, I will be ready to sing
just like you Jacob.
Thank you for the cap. I took the orange one. It had a different colour from other caps. It makes me different as
I will never forget you Jacob, Adam, Camera man and the others. I did not get all your names but I am grateful to
you all for spending time with us.
Hello to you all.
I am Takunda Banwa a.k.a TK Holland. I am 15 years old. Thank you for taking me to HIFA. It was my first time
being there. We were happy with your live performance and for taking us as your special guests. Thank you for
buying us food.
I felt so special when you took us to Crowne Plaza. I never dreamt someday I will be in that hotel. It looked so big
and I wondered how people reached to the top. I learnt about an elevator. That was so cool and interesting.
You were good to us. Keep that spirit and I am hoping to see you again. I hope you will come again for the next
HIFA. I was happy to hear that it happens every year. I hope you will make it again next year and please don’t
forget us. Thank you for the caps. We managed to get one each. The cap will always remind me of you. Thank
you for the t-shirt. It was too big for me. I gave it to my brother.
One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright. I liked your song Jacob. I will never forget you camera-man
for making me sing a song by Winky D and for letting me play the guitar. If I am to be asked to write a composition
of “The day I will never forget” in school, this will definitely be that day. Thank you once more for your kindness. It
meant a lot to all of us.
See you soon Samantha, Adam, Jacob, the camera man and others.
Thank you so much for giving our children an opportunity to see different things in their lives. My granddaughter
was beaming with joy the day she came back from HIFA. I have not seen her so happy in a long time. It reminded
me how disadvantaged these children are. Their lives are confined to the community, seeing the same people,
doing the same activities day in day out. Our financial positions limit us to take these children to different places.
She was so excited and told other members of the family all the new things she saw. I wish other children could
get that chance as well. It will open their mind to want to explore other things in life which is a challenge at the
moment. Most children don’t get a chance to finish school. Soon they become idle and do not have any idea of
what life is like out there. This was one chance for them to learn that the life they live is limited and it can be
different. We hope you continue doing this. Our children need to be exposed in order to know that life can be
different for the better. Thank you for your love of children.