I've now been at St. Jude's for about 10 days. I haven't had a lot to do at the school during the day, so it has been cool getting to explore Arusha a bit. Arusha is a big stopover location for tourists because of its proximity to the national parks and kilimanjaro. This means there are quite a few nice little restaurants and coffee shops that cater to western tastes. I am at my current favorite coffee place, "Fifi's," as I write this.
St. Jude's is different from any of my previous schools this year in that it exists specifically to serve low-income children. The school slogan is "fighting poverty through education." Because the school relies on donor support to keep running, there is a huge team of volunteers and employees that work to keep a steady flow of income via the school sponsors. St. Jude's is also constantly hosting visitors and sponsors, so unlike some of the other places I have been this year, there are always people coming and going. This definitely makes for an different atmosphere- something I haven't experienced before.
Last week I was working on a song with a group of boys after school. We performed it at the assembly on Friday, and even though there were some technical issues with mics, I'm glad we got a chance to get up and sing it. Their song is a reggae tune called "Life Is Hard Without Education." We made a recording on Monday this week and it will be up on my soundcloud soon.
Yesterday was my first day with the secondary students. Everyday now I take a 50 minute bus ride to the upper campus and work with about 20 students for around an hour and a half. I would say a majority of these students are already writing their own songs, which is awesome. Also, they are quite a bit older- many of them are 19 and 20, so that makes things a little different too. I am super stoked to be spending the next couple weeks with them. Hip-hop is really big here in Arusha, and I'm hoping to get some of these guys a little studio time in the local recording studio. It would be so cool to have some semi-professional sounding recordings for the students.
Until next time,