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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Choir 32 unites with Choir 31

The pictures that follow are of meeting up with Choir 31 . . . the story goes something like this.

Andrew (tour leader) tells the kids and chaperones that the church who is hosting our stay at the gym has planned an afternoon activity for us. Of course he adds that it has been approved and that it will be good. I however was a little doubtful, I wasn't exactly sure what activity I would be super excited about, we weren't leaving the building and there was no sort of activity being set up for us. So at a certain time we all get called outside to wait for the surprise to enter the parking lot. We begin watching cement trucks pass and cars . . . but then to all of our surprise it was an African Children's Choir bus!!!! It had to loop around a few times because the bus driver was trying to give their kids the excitement of seeing our bus sitting in the parking lot. So our kids had much time to anticipate the arrival of a fellow choir on the road.

Choir 31 was on route from Texas to Chicago and had to drive right through Little Rock AR; we had the perfect accommodations for them to ALL spend the night (an entire gym floor)! It was so much fun to watch the kids greet their friends and for the chaperones to reunite. We have been told that this rarely happens, to see other choirs on the road, but this is the second time we have seen Choir 31 - the first time was within the first week of being in the States with the kids. So we were excited to see them all once again and share lots of laughs and stories.

The pictures that follow are in reverse order, so if you start at the bottom and work your way up you will see the kids getting excited about the choir, then their arrival, the aunties having a little too much fun with the rummage sale (the uncles and boys left us for a football game that we won!) and then a picture of both choirs together!

At the moment we are in Louisiana and at the Barksdale Airforce Base. We are singing at the chapel in the morning and then a church tomorrow night. In other words I must go to bed before a busy day tomorrow.

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Choir 32 meets Choir 31

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sleepover Hangover

Do you remember that feeling when you would stumble home in a fog of irritation, nausea, and exhaustion from a sleepover mid-Saturday morning? I had the privilege of vividly remembering childhood "funtimes" when I awoke from a restless sleep Monday morning.

Let me take a moment and explain - sometimes on tour we have the joy of having a giant sleepover in a church, like the last entry, or in this case a gym. We had a gracious church accept our last minute booking and they decided it best to put us up in a gym of a local Christian school who is on their American Thanksgiving break. We rejoiced when we found out that it was not a hardwood floor but carpeted, but lets remember a basketball still needs to bounce on it so it can't be that plush.

After making all of the bedtime preparations and finding my sleeping bag I settled in for a nice rest. I would like to say that I was awoken at 2am, but I had not yet fallen asleep, to a fire alarm and strobe light. This continued for the next 20 mins, no do not worry no fire brigade came and the rain coming heavily down convinced us all that it was just a false alarm and there was no need to get the children wet. So as we waited patiently for a kind soul to come and turn it off, we spotted a few creatures running across the floor, right by our heads, yes that is right - Cockroaches!! Lets say that even after the fire alarm was turned off I was a little uneasy, thinking every brush of breeze on my toes were more friends!

So the next morning, I stumbled around Walmart on my day off and around noon realized I could no longer put a sentence together. At that point the gym floor and my noise-cancelling headphones lulled me to sleep.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Movie Night

Yes we are back on the road in Little Rock AR, we arrived early this morning to a nice carpeted church floor to welcome our weary bodies. Thankfully the aunties scoured the church for any sort of cushion to sleep on, and yes the Youth Room proved faithful! So we did sleep in somewhat comfort - actually I can't complain I did not wake up once and felt actually rested in many days.

As a treat for the kids and all of their hard work as they prepared for Uncle Desmond Tutu - we suprised them with Movie Night . . . Madagascar!

Of course we were planning this before we even knew what type of a church we were in, and this morning as Andrew was talking to the staff and telling them our plans they said, oh well we have a children's movie theatre upstairs. Seriously, of all the churches I have been in at this point I have never seen a theatre room!

The children got burgers and fries and had dinner and a movie!

And then of course POPCORN followed! It was so fun to hear the children (and Auntie Lindsey's) reaction to the movie.

Now they are soundly sleeping!!!! I should go and do the same - good night

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Yes the great city of Boston . . .

Yesterday morning our day started at 3am and we arrived via two flights from Little Rock AR to Boston MA to sing at the Greenbuild International Conference ( You are probably wondering what the African Children's Choir has to do with building "green" but the correlation was to the keynote speaker of this morning's main session. With every seat full the room of 10,000 watched as the children sang to introduce Archbishop Desmond Tutu and sang again once he finished.

During sound check yesterday it struck me again how wonderful it is to be a part of this organization. I was chatting with a few of the guys who were setting up the stage. They had just torn down Tina Turner's show the night previous and were commenting that these kids have much more talent than half the shows they set-up. I just sat back and thought to myself, if you had any idea where they came from you would have thought these were hopeless children that would just become another statistic. But I thought back to how innovative Ray Barnett - our founder - was when he decided, during one of the most volatile times for Uganda, to bring Africa to the West. I daily witness how this goal is still continuing to be meet 24 years later.

This morning after the children came off the stage they were greeted by Uncle Tutu and smiled for some pictures. After more greetings by VIP's of the conference and many thanks the kids headed to their change room. As I was leaving one of the ladies with Desmond Tutu casually asked how long the tour was. After being shocked at the 15 month length she asked one of the most common questions "Don't their families miss them?" I responded saying that the families were so delighted that these children had the opportunity of a life-time. And these children are some of the most vulnerable children in Africa, you would not believe where they come from. At that point she lost control of her emotions and said thank you so much!

Even though the conversation was no longer than a minute, the impact the children had on her and many others was incredible! Auntie Laura and I were just discussing how we sit back at times look at how this opporunity is so much bigger than we could possibly imagine.

In just a few hours we will be back on a plane to Little Rock AR to continue on with "normal" tour life!
(The girls, Sarah and Scovia, enjoying a lovely bed at the Westin!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Girls Night Out!

I can’t believe the role reversal that has taken place in the last few months. Just four months ago I was living the life of nanny – taking care of other people’s children so that they could go out for “adult” time. Last night was the first time that I experienced the flip side to this.

It is Auntie Laura’s birthday on Thursday and Auntie Angela had a most giving host the last few days and gave her free reign of the car – this does not happen often. So we had to strike while the iron was hot and celebrate a little early for Laura’s birthday. Tuesday night was soon announced “Girls Night Out”! Our jobs as Aunties though were still needed. After our kids were feed, showered, and in pj’s ready to jump in bed, we were ready to escape for a few short hours of freedom.

I told my two girls, Peace and Esther, that I would be going out and that I would be back in a little while. Once they understood I would be eating cake and coming back to sleep in the house that night, Peace offered to go in my place and I could just have the luxury of staying home. Esther promptly busted her out and said “Peace just wants to eat cake!” I told Peace I would make the sacrifice and go out and she could stay in while I ate cake. It was strange to be giving the girls hugs goodbye and telling them to be good and go bed promptly.

After all meeting up we headed to the cutest part of St. Charles MO – old town. On a Tuesday night at 8pm it was not the most happening place in town, but it was the cutest and I think we caused enough noise to create a bit of a scene. After ordering a round of waters and a few desserts we enjoyed much more laughter and conversation that didn’t include “excuse me auntie” every 2 minutes. I guess this is a good introduction to parenting. 14 months to go . . . !