Kalangala, Ssese Islands: Performing Arts Recital

  • P1200003
    Traditional dance lessons at Bery's Place.
  • P1200038
    Many chefs at Bery's Place, creating delicious dinners.
  • P1200050
    The 21:30 half hour dance off.
  • P1200009
    Sselwanga Lwanga Secondary School. I like the cattle around the school.
  • P1200010
    School-desks from the 1950's or maybe earlier.
  • P1200013
    The school canteen. And a chicken hanging out in front.
  • P1200018
    I really enjoy the irony in that. I am not sure what this was actually about, but Uganda has tried to instill the death penalty for homosexual behavior.
  • P1200030
    ALFFA performing arts choir.
  • P1200034
    Recital jam.
  • P1200035
    Sound advice for about 40 years in accordance with sign conditions.

Kalangala, Ssese Islands: Performing Arts Recital.
Jan 25
I moved out of Dreamland and caught a motorcycle taxi to Bery’s Place in the village of Mweena.  Many of his 23 daughters approached me to personally welcome me back as I took my things to the guestroom.  On the front lawn, the girls had a dance instructor sitting off to the side who comes to teach them traditional dance.  The girls were in the middle of practicing a routine, where they were wearing feather skirts, and the traditional drum-based music was played loudly through speakers.  It was a fantastic environment.

Traditional dance lessons at Bery's Place.

Traditional dance lessons at Bery’s Place.

In the afternoon, Bery took me, one of his daughters, and a politician he picked up to Sselwanga Lwanga Secondary School in the countryside of the island where three of his daughters were on their last day of a ten day summer-camp for their Performing Arts Recital.  The camp was singing-based, but had a couple of old keyboards and a guitar for the children to learn as well.  The camp, called ALFFA (Almighty Fish Farming Association), has provided the students with a chance to record music in a studio and they have also made music videos for songs the director has written.  It is a really great project for the young girls and boys.  I gave a basic guitar lesson to a very interested young man who learned at a speed faster than anyone I have ever taught.

ALFFA performing arts choir.

ALFFA performing arts choir.

The Performing Arts Recital took place where the camp attendees sang many songs and performed together.  It was nice.  When a young boy was playing the keyboard, an older lady in attendance got up to dance.  There is a great sense of local community here in the Ssese Islands.

On the way back to Bery’s Place, we drove back through Mweena.  Bery told me that 60% of the women in the village were willing to exchange sexual favors for some kind of support, sometimes for as little as a fish.  In the village, he says the percentage of ladies in town with HIV mirrors that same 60% number.  Wow, they need proper education here…

Many chefs at Bery's Place, creating delicious dinners.

Many chefs at Bery’s Place creating delicious dinners.

Dinner was ready when Bery, the girls and I got to the house.  The young ladies at Bery’s Place sure can cook.  The food is a combination of European and African influences by each culture and it is superior to anything I have had so far since I arrived on this continent, safari meals inclusive.  We had sausages tonight.  Sausages!  Real sausages!  Delicious ones…

21:30 half hour dance off.

The 21:30 half hour dance off.

After dinner, the girls were allowed 30 minutes of traditional dance where they practiced routines and then another 30 minutes of “disco” where there was a party in the living room of girls dancing to modern Ugandan hits.  It is easy to see why none of the girls want to leave this place.  Bery offers them safety, security, opportunities that they would never receive in their villages and chance to have a sisterhood with 23 other girls who stay in the house.  There is a lot of joy here.

When I went to bed, about 8 of the girls stopped by the door of the guestroom to say goodnight to me.  This is a wonderful place.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *