Monday, February 06, 2006

watoto


Yesterday our church had a visit from the Watoto African Children’s Choir. From the first beat of drums to the dancing exit - what a treat! These 18 eight to eleven-year-old Ugandan orphans and their chaperones are full of energy, rhythm, playfulness, exuberance and joy.
(Have a listen - see a video)

The choir is made up of kids who live in the Watoto Childcare Ministries orphan villages of Kampala Uganda – started by Canadians Gary and Marilyn Skinner and run by the Kampala Pentecostal Church. Watoto takes in kids who are orphaned (by war and sickness such as AIDs), gives them homes, feeds and educates them, teaches them about God’s love and gives them hope.

And hope they have. The music was interspersed by the kids’ stories – each with its own unique blend of disease, abandonment, child-headed households, begging, and fear with a dramatic turnaround when the kids were taken into Watoto. At one point each child introduced him or herself and said what they hoped to be when they grow up. These kids have no small ambitions. They dream of being doctors, pilots, pastors, engineers, teachers, lawyers, musicians - even president. And this is the dream of the founders and house-parents of Watoto - that these kids will be the next generation of Ugandan leaders.

As mentioned, they’re touring Canada from B.C. to Ontario. I peeked at this choir's schedule and noticed they still have lots of openings. (There are also other choirs touring in other places.) You might want to invite them to your school or church. They won't disappoint!

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