Kori Arts - Crossroads, TANZANIA

Tanzania Team 2010 – first impressions

Ebru Edgerworth
”Flying over to Tanzania for the third time I felt like it was my once again my first. I felt I had grown so much in two years since my last visit, I was sure the experience would be almost all new. It’s easy to forget your brain’s potential to surprise, to present gifts it has held hidden, waiting for the right moment to fall.
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You know when you catch a certain smell and it sets your mind alight, like the scent of a perfume a girl you used to know wore, or the sweet smoke from a burning bay leaf and it acts as a trigger, instantly opening the doors to your brain’s auditorium of the past, rewarding, reminding and sometimes punishing you with images you’d think would be lost. That’s what I experienced when I stepped out of Dar Es Salaam International Airport.
That earthy, hot air licked me straight in the face and there it was, the projector started flickering, picture to picture; the sun, the sweat, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty, the food, the surprises’, the hustlers, the sea, the confused smiles like “what did he just say?”, the love that everyone shows, the palm trees, the sweaty bodies pressed up against you on the buses, the embarrassment like “my freshest trainers definitely weren’t necessary today”, the welcomes, the youths’ smiles, the reflecting… and most of all the feeling of being as close as I have ever been to content.
I overheard one of the mentors ask a senior if they were ready, “ready?” I said to myself “I can’t wait.”
https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_001... 597w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_001... 150w" sizes=" 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Kadija Gooden
“When Odiri first said to me “You’re coming to Tanzania with us this year you know” the excitement started to kick in. But the fact that I was leaving London, and my homely comforts for a completely different culture only sunk in when we first arrived at Muscat. We came off the plane and the heat literally knocked me over, it was so hot! The horizon was breathtaking, yellow pains of sand, and the permanent blue skies.
Even though I was extremely tired, I still made time to completely take in my surroundings. We went to the night market and ate some local food there. It was a strange experience for me because we were thrown into a whole new culture and had to pay for things in thousands.
We also went to a beach resort, and I can truthfully say it is the best beach I have ever been on, part of this feeling was created by just being in Zanzibar with KORI.
”We went to Jang’ombe Secondary School and met the teenagers we were going to work with over the next two days and found out a little about their lives , on the rehearsal day they all created pieces for the performance. I worked with Lydia and Vanessa on the drama workshops, helping them to warm up the teenagers before they took over the heavy-duty acting development. The teenagers were all lovely and warm. I could relate to them whilst watching them acting.
I spoke to one of the teenagers who was my age and he expressed how he was jealous about me having the opportunity to do these activities, and it was a real wake up call for me to appreciate everything that I’m offered.”
Lydia Newman
”In this account I am supposed to write about my first week here in Zanzibar… however I don’t feel like I can adequately convey what this week has been to me without give a brief account of the weeks approaching this journey.
For me I have been heading towards Zanzibar from January – no strike that – I think my subconscious has been heading towards Zanzibar since November ’09, when I wrote my self a letter from the future (2011) to https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_006... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_006... 300w" sizes=" 340px) 100vw, 340px" />cheer myself up on a particularly sad day. In the letter I was living and working in Zanzibar, the place, which from my last visit I had felt was my favorite place on earth, the place where I could be completely content, with my heart and mind in sync.
When I spoke to Odiri early January (2010) and she told me that we had been invited to come out to Zanzibar in July it was as though my dreams burst through the realms of possibility and collided, head on, with my reality. Since that phone call Zanzibar is all that I worked towards, all of my family and closest friends saw less of me because if I was with Odiri planning, then I would be at work trying to get together money to cover my rent and bills whilst I was away and if I wasn’t at work then it I would be at a fundraiser… I moved closer to Odiri and Sola’s (not intententionaly!) but it meant that the majority of my week was filled with Kori in some way shape or form. All of the people close to me bugged me about working so much; my brother Daniel bugged me about always being so tired and not in the mood to play. I was tired, I was so tired of London, life for me there felt like the weather; cold, grey and desolate. To be honest I almost felt as if my mind depended on me being able to get to Zanzibar, so that everything could make sense.
Hmmm… … a not so brief background to the trip! Now I am here… in Zanzibar! For the first few days I felt as though I was out side of my self, not really present. Although we planned and planned and planned for the trip, there were many things that were out of our control and so the reality is nothing that I imagined it would have been.
We have just finished our first project working with young people from a Jang’ombe Secondary School. It was not what I expected; I think this time has been different to what I thought it would have been because this first prhttps://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_677... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_677... 340w" sizes=" 300px) 100vw, 300px" />oject was to last for only two days. I had initially thought that it would be like our 2008 trip and that we would have a set group of young people that we would work with throughout our stay.
However, I was excited by the challenge as it meant that we would have just enough time to get to know the young people in Jang’ombe and hopefully build bonds and make lasting imprints on each others lives so that we both felt changed and enriched. I think that this was naive of me and too ridged an outcome for an experience like this one. I don’t think that it is the length of time that places its mark on my life but the energy that I give out whilst doing life that will create the difference.”
Maya Whitehttps://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_744... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_744... 340w" sizes=" 300px) 100vw, 300px" />
“Arriving in Tanzania for the very first night felt exciting and scary at the same time. Going to the night market on our first night was not a huge culture shock but a very nice surprise. I felt initially quite uncomfortable by the amount of locals trying to rope in the tourist into buying their food, bracelets and art. I did think if this is what I will have to deal with for four weeks then I don’t know how I will cope. Having to say no to the friendly locals every ten minutes who are only trying to make a business is quite difficult and can be stressful because they are so nice and we are meant to be here to support the Tanzanians but I thought not quite in this way. The locals are really welcoming, only a few were unwelcoming, clearly judging us thinking we must be rich and greedy because we are from England. One local on the beach called us ‘Mzungu’ in quite a threatening way that was a bit worrying and I found out later the word meant white people.
https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_668... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_668... 340w" sizes=" 300px) 100vw, 300px" />Working with the children in Jang’ombe Secondary School today gave me a great sense of reward especially as the children have not experienced dance classes before. It was clear that they picked up the moves quickly, learnt a lot from us and really enjoyed it. I find it unfair that the kids and adults have to learn English as most countries usually do, but I think particularly here they learn so they can accommodate us travelers. I have already learnt a lot from the kids and Tanzanian people already, conversation is free and there is no harm in stopping to really help someone or to make just general chit chat, which is what they do so well here.
I see this opportunity as a chance to develop myself and bring my experiences and lessons back to the English culture… who let’s face it, really need it. I find myself more content here with the people than in London, and I hope to learn more Swahili so I’m able to connect with the people better. I think that it will make a difference to know they really perceive us if we show them we are also making the effort to communicate.”
Yoma Edgerworthhttps://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_005... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_005... 300w" sizes=" 340px) 100vw, 340px" />
“An extremely long journey, however it’s one week in and I can already tell that the twelve hours flying and the extra hours waiting around doing absolutely nothing was 100% worth it.
A jam packed tiring week is one way to describe it, although I’m going to choose my words better by describing these first seven days in Zanzibar as, interesting, fun, highly energized, a family atmosphere, entertaining, quiet and peaceful at times, sweaty hugs and hand shakes within Jag’ombe Secondary School, dancing in dramatic heat for two days with a young enthusiastic talented students, sandy toes, wet bodies, amazing orange yellow and purple sun sets, lit up skies, hilarious talks and in general just a beautiful week.
So whilst my friends are stuck in an over heated stuffy classroom, I’m in Africa, in the sun, waking to a fresh blue skied day every morning with people I love and look up to, learning three times as much as I would in a school day. I would not say every thing’s easy, but I’m pretty much having an experience of a lifetime.
The week ahead can only get better. There is most likely going to be a busier schedule, although I think it’s always good to have a challenge.”
Stephanie Turnerhttps://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/dsc_038... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/dsc_038... 300w" sizes=" 340px) 100vw, 340px" />
“An introduction day in, Jang’ombe Secondary School, with just two hours to play with and one hundred young people! So we decided to run three 30-minute taster sessions.  The children rotated around the three art forms drama, dance and so that they had a chance to experience all of the art forms.
I arrived buzzing, ready to ignite some fire! We began with a quick warm up which transitioned into a call and response with rhythms on the drum. The session was split into two parts, for the first part Onome lead a body percussion exercise, and for the second part I taught them a song and played with the performance of it.
The first session (which is always challenging, as no one is unsure of what to expect) ran smoothly, the second group was on fire! Clearly, the drama workshop had warmed them up nicely for Onome and I, and we had a better sense of how the group would respond to our session. The third group was not as interested in the singing, and seemed to take the session for joke at the beginning, but as it went on the energy picked up and we ended on a high.”
Saturday 3rd July – Stephanie Turner
I  struggled with my emotions this morning.
Darrian and Anthony open the session with the warm games; zip zap boing and riverbank, while I communicated the days plan with the translator in Jag’ombe Secondary School.
I  begin with a warm up and talk about engaging the muscles we need to use to sing with breathing, humming and buzzing. The warming up leads into a call and response with Onome beating the drum, playing with song, testing the young peoples’ vocal abilities and exploring their ranges. We lead the group outside and I attempt to teach a simple rhythm, they pick this up perfectly vocally but when I attempt to transfer this to body percussion the group doesn’t quite grasp this. I move on to a short story/simple rap, which also proves to be difficult.
We close the first part of the day setting a writing task off of the back of the short rap story, exploring the theme of punishment. The response was mind blowing, the level of writing, and the social and political awareness, the owning of style and stories took me away.
After lunch we split the group in two and shared amongst our groups. I spoke about the importance of performance, expression and sharing and then worked with the young people giving individual and specific feedback and directions. Working through translators is difficult; especially when they are not artists themselves, you never know how much is lost in translation. We brought the two groups back together, sharing and giving each other feedback and then ended in song, which turned into a massive song and dance! The dance group running over to join in! Amazing! Inspired! KNACKERED!
Stephanie Turner
Reversals Rehearsals Rehearsals!
“9am start today – which so far, on this journey is to be considered a long lie in  – The documenting team and the seniors go off into town to have a meeting with The SOS Orphanage. 36 young people from their talents group into the three different art forms (Music, Dance and Drama). The seniors are left at the ZIFF office with the Ziff Festival team to get briefed on their coming work experience in, leaving the artists in the house to rehearse.
The day began with a long jam with Onome, writing rhymes, filling out choruses, arranging pieces and improvising. I didn’t realise how much I had missed working with him, we just vibe! We develop our pieces, but they are not quite there yet. I have a play with the looping station and work out with Aaron how this will fit with our set and the drums.
https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_725... 150w, https://koriartsyouthempoweringyouth.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/img_725... 300w" sizes=" 340px) 100vw, 340px" />The rest of the team arrived just in time for our late lunch early dinner; the dancers rehearse their routines whilst I go through the timetable with Odiri filling in our performances and workshops. We end the day with a meeting sharing our work and all the information that had been collected by the documenting team during the day. From the sounds of things the young people we will be working with at the SOS Orphange this week, are a lot more enthusiastic and have been chosen specifically for their performing arts skills! Yes! :-)”

Bayo’s blog
Upon landing here I received many positive vibes from the people within the area. Over the course of the days that I have been here I have seen many different things that I hope will help me grow as a person.  Also whilst being here I have heard about some things that have been emotionally draining.  An example of this is when a girl at the SOS orphanage told me that she lost her mother when she was born her father shortly after, then her aunty (who had looked after her until that point) when she was 4. It was hard to listen to but I can only imagine what it is like to experience. However, my spirits were lifted when I saw how she and all the other children have dealt with their past and live for their future. All of the children interacted enthusiastically towards me and the group.
A thing that I found surprising was that all the Zanzibarian English speakers spoke with an American accent. I suppose it is because when they watch T.V or listen to music the main western influence is an American. I am learning quite a bit of Swahili rapidly (in comparison to the rest of the group) probably because I can learn languages quickly when I want to.

The theme of this exchange is "We are present"


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