2011 Literacy Celebration

Last week our Sandbox colleagues held a “Literacy Celebration Day” and invited their communities to come and celebrate the work they are doing on their languages.  Two thousand people from the six different language communities gathered to hear speeches, witness an award ceremony for those who have been doing literacy work, and watch traditional dances.  The air seemed to be bursting with energy as people were so excited.  Here are a few snippets from some of the dancing.

While listening to the “amplified rababa” (traditional “guitar style” instrument of the Sandbox) I couldn’t help but imagine what it may have been like in the 1940’s in the US when the likes of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker first played their electrified versions of traditional blues songs developed over the decades in the southern US.  (In this video, watch for the Dreamer in the background toward the middle – she was as thrilled as they were!)

Toward the end of this second video clip, you can see some very distinct synchronized “stomps”.  I asked some of my friends from this language group “what they were stomping?”  They said it was to express their “strength”.  (Notice the modern broom turned “coat of arms stand” and also notice the lady’s T-Shirt: “Have you been bingo’d today?” Quite a juxtaposition of worlds!)

By the the end of the celebration, the orderly space given for the dancing groups had given away, evolving into one big mass of humanity dancing to the music and celebrating together as the “observers” turned into “participants”.  Everyone was having a great time and only the end of the daylight hours ended the Celebration!