A School of Music

Our morning began much like others this week, with an early breakfast and preparation of packed sandwich lunches.  Today, however, we headed for a destination not previously visited by a Baylor team: Pendo Amani.  Pendo Amani (translated “Love and Peace”) is a weekend music program for several dozen children in a community near Nairobi, run Mike Wichira’s band of drummers and dancers who performed for us last night.  This was to be a day full of teaching and service.

Up to this point, we had encountered very little “western” or “classical” music, but today we worked with students of violin, flute, guitar, trumpet, voice, and more.  The Pendo Amani music program owned a number of instruments for the students to use, on which the leaders provided both private and group instruction.  Our task today was to work with as many students as possible on each of their instruments.  The education we have each received in the Baylor School of Music served us well as we divided into teams to teach our own instrument or voice part.  While many students were beginners, others showed impressive skill on their instrument and were able to read music and learn new pieces.  Some team members helped entertain younger children with fun songs and games.  Others worked on instrument repair, fixing and servicing Pendo Amani’s equipment and donating instruments, spare parts and method books.

We concluded the day at Pendo Amani with a group celebration concert.  Gathered in the courtyard, we listened to various presentations, including the students’ violin and cello rendition of “Blessed Assurance.”  To wish us well on our journey, the leaders invited us into a traditional dance and chant.  Although we wished we had more time, our day at Pendo Amani was fruitful.  A first for Baylor Music and Missions in Kenya, the large-scale teaching operation was not without confusion or difficulty, but we were able to connect with numerous students and lay groundwork for potential future visits.  As musicians, we must learn to teach others our craft, and our visit to Pendo Amani was a wonderful opportunity for us to grow as musicians and teachers.

To conclude and celebrate our time in Kenya, we enjoyed a quiet family gathering at the home of our hosts, Zippy and Daniel Sindiyo.  We were joined by many members of their family and several of the safari guides from our visit to the Masaai Mara.  The Sindiyo family treated us to a traditional Kenyan meal of chapati, simosas, watermelon, and more in the front yard of their beautiful residence.  Although an introspective evening, it was not without many introductions, gifts (we each received a Masaai blanket), and most importantly, music.  Zippy and Daniel shared their gratitude for our work and told us of exciting things in future of Kenya, particularly the village of Komolion that we visited last week.  As we boarded the buses there were many goodbyes, some tearful.

Our lodgings at Hartfield Gardens are now a buzz of activity as we prepare to board our plane tomorrow.  We must carefully pack paintings and other souvenirs, donate extra items and local currency, and double-check our to-do lists for the return home.  Although we are excited to be reunited with friends and family (and perhaps enjoy an enchilada), we are sad to leave Kenya and the friends we have made here.  For now, we close our suitcases and get one more night’s rest here in Kenya before a long day of travel tomorrow…

-Wolfgang

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