This week I’d like to focus on a project that you will find on my side bar for the next 30 days or so. Ever since becoming involved with PDMI Publishing I have met some of the most interesting, energetic and creative people I have ever known. Last year PDMI Publishing produced a book of poetry written by students in Kampala, Uganda. I reviewed the work here. That was only the beginning.
This year a number of us decided we would do something a bit more, well, a lot more extravagant. This year we are printing a whole new volume and reprinting the first volume. We are also putting together a DVD of the students reading their poetry along with some footage from the school. The whole thing will be backed with the truly talented Qwela band, also of Kampala.
Qwela has an amazing sound of a “unique Afro-fusion flavor of music.” Qwela means ‘pure’ in Rukiga. Their lyrics speak of family, current events, a love of their tradition. The pieces selected for the DVD include Mwana Wanji, Okello, and Mama tokaaba. Okello is the story of a child kidnapped by the rebel armies after his village is burned to the ground. After being trained as a child warrior, the memory of his mother still calls him to his childhood dreams. He runs away from his abductors to find the life he really wanted. Mama tokaaba is a beautiful song sung almost entirely in African dialect. It is about family, reassurance, and the promise that “everything’s gonna be alright.” Mwana Wanji, which is also on the trailer, means My Child. The words of the song are quite powerful in the context of the country today.
They say that we cant make it
but they don’t know who we are
they say that we cant do it
but they don’t know where we’re from
When I was young my daddy taught me
he said son, heres the secret to success in life
he said find that thing which you can do best
and just give it your very best shot
I’d like to note that the link I provided for Qwela states that 50% of all sales go to World Vision. These people are serious about building a different future.
That brings me to these enterprising young people. Their volunteer teacher, Philip Matogo teaches them social sciences, English and journalism. The poetry produced in this classroom indicates that these children are well aware of the Geo-political and local socioeconomic and political circumstances they live in.
It is our hope that this little project can give these students a very real way to impact their world, their education and their future. Come check it all out and help us meet a rather modest fundraising goal.