I'm Hannah Carlson, also known as "Hannah #2" in our Hope Shines group. This is my first year working with the program and traveling to Africa, and I'm the youngest volunteer at 18. I'm a Music Therapy major at Shenandoah University, and I love working with children and bringing music into their lives.
Today we were on the road by 7:30 to get prepared for our campers. I was extremely nervous to meet all the kids, especially because the language barrier makes it difficult to learn names and make bonds- but as they arrived we put on music and danced with them, and I could already tell that we would have a good time this week.
We passed out Hope Shines T-shirts and water bottles and split all the kids into six groups; my group of kids decided they wanted to be called the Lions.
I had the responsibility of teaching a quick music lesson today, and despite my nerves I think it went well and the kids enjoyed it! First we made shakers out of two plastic cups, duct tape, and beads which the kids created rhythms with and took home. I also taught them a game/ chant called Choo Choo Ka to help them learn their vocab word "tempo."
Throughout the day I used my ukulele to help fill any extra time- we played lots of games incorporating music such as freeze dance, and the campers loved taking turns playing the uke whenever possible. We taught the kids the beginning of our "Let it Go" dance and told them about the life cycle of plants, encouraging them to practice English.
After an exhausting day at camp and lots of dancing to Frozen, we celebrated by going to a local market and eating dinner at a Rwandan version of Chipotle.
The first day of camp left me drained, but I can't wait to go back tomorrow!