Last day of The Right To Play

Sunday (day 59), was a long day, but a fruitful one. We had our last workshop with the children in the morning. We put together The Right to Play, completing the musical ideas we’d come up with the day before with two verses of a laidback blues that declared great summing-up statements such as, “All children have the right to play, the right to an education, to seek freedom in their lives, to have good health” which our performers sang with great gusto. We inserted the Bingo-inspired numbers calling as verses, and this Bingo-Right to Play Blues became the musical framing for that section – an ‘A’ section for the beginning and end – with the other games chants taking place in the ‘B’ section. How I love ternary form, it works so beautifully in a workshop setting!

We finished the last workshop at lunchtime and went home to rest awhile. I could feel myself coming down with something, with a whole series of aches and pains occurring in various limbs. Lorraine massaged them for me, and we talked through different aspects of the project as it had come to pass, including the apparent disinterest of the project coordinator, and the wonderful support we’d been receiving from his team of colleagues. We certainly weren’t suffering from a lack of support, just some mixed or ambiguous messages on occasion.

The concert that evening was scheduled for 6pm, and we’d arranged for the children to come back at 5pm, all dressed in their shiny new orange Human Rights t-shirts (we’d apparently had word that it was now okay for them to have the t-shirts rather than the t-shirts be used as quiz prizes). They looked great. All the leaders had blue t-shirts in the same design. The two journalists I’d booked from the local Media House to film and photograph the project were also there, grabbing interesting ‘setting-up’ footage.

The women from the Feto Haburas Choir that I’d worked with on my first visit to Baucau also arrived – they were to sing the song they’d written with me, as well as two other traditional songs. Chairs were set out and we were all ready to go, except…. there was no audience!

Apparently our concert clashed with Sunday evening Mass. (Timor-Leste is a very Catholic country). We decided it might be best if we were in no rush to start, so everyone hung out and we crossed our fingers that the children wouldn’t lose their energy or focus. After awhile, Tony took a group of them outside to sing their ‘Children Have Rights’ Blues to try and drum up a bit of interest among the church-leavers, and little by little a few more people started to arrive.

Once we’d gathered our audience, we opened with the women’s choir singing the song they’d composed with me, Feto Haburas [Women Growing], accompanied by me on the clarinet. They swayed as they sang, and sang beautifully. It was a geat opener. Then the children performed their three songs. They did an excellent job, very focused and enthusiastic, and slick in their transitions from one song to the next. The women’s choir performed next, presenting one of their traditional songs and dances. Then Marqy and a representative from the UN gave out all the certificates. All the children, all the women, and all the Afalyca staff got certificates. Certificates are very important here – I don’t think the TImorese get many opportunities to see their names in print, so everybody was adamant that they wanted one. Ditto for the t-shirts – even the 2 journalists I’d employed to document the project were expecting a t-shirt! At the end of the night I gave them mine.

We closed the concert with a reprise of one of the children’s songs – the energetic, effervescent Right to Education song with its percussion introduction and between=verse interludes. By the end of the night I was ready to collapse. By now we all knew I was pretty sick, and I think I got through the day thanks to a combination of performance adrenaline, the massage from Lorraine, and three paracetamol. Someone offered me and Tony a lift home with all our gear and we gratefully accepted. My capacity to hold a conversation held out long enough to direct the driver and thank our kind benefactors, but pretty much shut down the moment I walked into the house.

The UN representative from the Human Rights section in Baucau was delayed getting to the performance which was a shame, as he missed the children’s first performance of their three songs. However, he was there for the rousing reprise The Right To Education though, and gave us some very positive feedback. We invited him to give out the certificates. Oh, and the proposed quiz on human rights? It didn’t happen! Never mind, I think lots was learned through the project anyway, by all of us.

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1 comment so far

  1. […] at the time about the project’s creative process here (Day 1), here (Day 2), here (Day 3) and here (Day 4). Otherwise, please have a look at these two videos. The Right To Play, part 1 shows some of the […]


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