The flute class is doing excellent. I have combined all of the students into classes. I have a total of 26 St. Lucy flute students in one class, 10 teachers in another, and 10 Child-headed household students in yet another class. I teach 6 private lessons and the demand for more private instruction is climbing. I’m in need of another flute teacher and soon. Anyone out there that wants to join me?
Parent’s Day was today so Seyoum and I decided to have the flutes perform for them. We performed selections from “Learn to Play the Flute” and Seyoum wrote an arrangement of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and I played variations over the theme as they played.
To prepare for the concert I needed to teach the students performance etiquette. This was so much fun. As I worked with the kids showing them how to walk on and off stage with their flutes crossed in front of theme they all laughed as I pretended to be scared or giggly. I taught them to watch my baton as I conduct and how to take a bow. One of the hardest things in this process though was getting the students to not to talk while on stage. As soon as one student had a problem all the children had to make sure that student was told exactly what they’re doing wrong. I must have had the children walk on and off the stage 20 times before they finally got it and did it quietly.
What a wonderful experience this was for the students to perform for the parents. Both the parents and the students really love it. After I started the students and the teachers on the “Twinkle, Twinkle” number I turned around with my flute in hand to play. The hall was packed with parents and their faces light up as I began my performance. They were extremely delighted to hear this and it showed in their smiling faces. When we finished the hall was filled with loud applause and the flute ensemble and I all took a bow. I sat down with the teachers and Sr. Letteselassie stood up and shared with the audience that I have come from America on my own behalf. I have worked to get donations of flutes and money to make this program come together. The parents stood up and applauded. They appreciated it so much. Thank you to all who helped me make this happen. The students are reaping the benefits of your generosity. Several parents stood up and gave me big compliments and again the audience exploded in applause. I have never felt so appreciated in my musical career as I did this morning. I truly felt blessed the most at that moment.
After the ceremony, I went outside to get the students organized and to send them back up to the staff room to put away the flutes and music. Several parents approached me and kissed and hugged me. It was so wonderful to meet such lovely people. I don’t think I am able to convey in words my joy that I felt from the students and the parents on this day.
Later that afternoon, Seyoum approached me to tell me that our flute ensemble has been hired to perform for a benefit concert next Sunday. I’m so excited. What I wanted to happen is now happening. The students are beginning to perform for the public. This is terrific!!!
I’m waiting on a couple of my friends. Typical Ethiopians, they are late. They said they would be here at 2pm to take me to a coffee ceremony but its 2:20pm right now. I suspect I will see them by 2:30pm. As I’m waiting I’m sitting on the outside steps of the convent and looking out onto the courtyard which leads to the orphan’s house. The sun is out and it is hot! In the courtyard they are large piles of dirt and gravel everywhere due to the construction that is going on for St. Lucy’s. I watch this woman who is piling large piles of gravel onto a large sheet of cardboard and carrying it over to the St. Lucy statue to inlay around the new masonry that has been built for the statue this week. These piles of gravel are substantial in size and they have to be heavy. I am in awe at her as I watch her take one pile after another over to the statue. She empties the gravel and rakes it into place and continues back for another pile. Never complains, just works. As I watch her I realize how easy we have it in America. We would never see such a thing. If anything we would see several men doing this job and they most likely would have shovels and a wheel barrel to help carry the gravel across the courtyard. We are so fortunate, we have so much, here I watch this woman and she has nothing but yet she never complains and she works very hard. Its little things like this that I notice that make such a difference on my perception of life, its all about what’s important and what isn’t. Truly the most important things in life are what is valued.
I look beyond her and I see 2 beautiful birds in brilliant green and gold flying around. They are gorgeous. I remember Safia saying they look like flying jewels. “This place is so beautiful,” I think to myself as look around. There is so much for me to appreciate with myself, what I have, and the value of life. There is so much for me to learn and so much for me to look at. If it’s not the beautiful flowers and landscape by day, it’s the star riddled sky and illuminating moon by night. There is always so much to appreciate here in Ethiopia. It is at these moments I stop and thank God for allowing me to be part of this world.
For the last 2 days we have had much cooler weather and a good amount of rain. I have to say that it has been nice to have couple of days of cooler weather. I love the sun but it has been intense since I have arrived. My skin is darker and my hair lighter because of it. In these last 2 days though the rain has poured down in sheets to where the school yard fills into puddles in a matter of seconds. It is amazing to watch. At night the rain bangs on the metal and marble walls of the convent making the splash extremely loud. I sat by my open window just listening to it. Adigrat and the surrounding areas are all much greener because of it and more flowers are blooming! Everything is beautiful.
It’s 2:30pm and I just received a phone call from my friends. “Celine where are you? We have been waiting outside the gate for 30 minutes.” I felt so bad. Nobodies late, I’m wrong to think of such an accusation.
My friends Gebremedhin and Gebrejohannes and I walked across Adigrat. We arrived at Froweynis an hour late because of me! Inspite of our tardiness, we enjoyed her delicious coffee ceremony. She of all the people in Adigrat makes the best Ethiopian coffee. If anyone comes I will ask her to make the ceremony for you so you can enjoy it too. Usually after we have all fed each other of popcorn, teacakes, and bananas we dance to some Tigrai music. This time though I brought my computer to introduce them to some Jimi Hendrix and Tom Waits. They loved it! Gebremedhin and Gebrejohannes got up and starting dancing. Froweyni and I clapped our hands as they shouted out how much they loved the music.
A bit later, both Gebremedhin and Gebrejohannes wanted me to teach them the computer. These two fellows are extremely bright and are always asking me to teach them more and more. So I gave them their first computer lesson. I introduced them to Microsoft word. Both wanted to have all the time on the computer and they would shove each other out of the way trying to make documents. I taught them how to make a document and save it. Now I have at least 30 documents saved that say things such as Celine is nice, Celine is a beautiful person, Celine loves music, and Celine is a very good teacher. It was too cute to delete them so I left it. Then I taught them to play solitaire. This was even funnier to watch them than learning word. One would yell at the other (In Tigrinya) because of a mistake shoving the other out of the way so that he could fix the mistake. Froweyni and I were in tears laughing. Good times….
I arrived back at the convent late for supper. I kissed my dear friends good-bye and ran to the dining room. As I entered I could hear Beethoven’s 6th Symphony playing. I walked in delighted! “I’ve played this piece” I shouted out loud so happy to hear the music. The tables were all separated this evening which made me stop and pause in wonder for a moment. The sisters all looked up at me, smiled and nodded that they heard me. I thought this to be slightly peculiar so I got my food and sat down. Usually I enter the dining room and we all acknowledge each other and the room is filled with conversation. I noticed no one was talking. I looked around and finally I couldn’t handle the silence. I asked the sisters in a rather inquisitive voice, “Why are all of you so quiet?” “Why isn’t anyone talking?” Sr. Mary leaned over and whispered, “Celine, shhh, we are on retreat.” OMG, I felt so bad!!!! I looked up and all the sisters were leaned over their plates and their shoulders were shaking in laughter. Here I come in boisterous and happy from my enjoyable afternoon of dancing, coffee and laughter and I completely crash their retreat.
I quietly finished my supper as best as I could. The quietness made me get the giggles and because I couldn’t laugh out loud made the situation even funnier. Through chokes of laughter I managed to eat my dinner. Then I picked up my dishes and proceeded to the kitchen to wash them. The sisters moved about doing their chores quietly. I did the same. As I was drying my water glass the glass accidently slipped out of my hands and crashed on the floor. A bomb my as well went off in the convent that night. It was so loud. All the sisters broke their silence as they ran to see if I was ok. I felt so bad. I always cause such distraction, even when I don’t try. I finished the day showing Sr. Bindu pictures of Sassie. Safia, she loves them. I am making her a disk to take to India to show her family when she goes on vacation. She misses you very much and sends you her love.