Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Another week in Doha

I am teaching a class in the Elementary School how to play the Maori Stick Game. They will perform this at the end of the school year in June, with my little ukulele group accompanying them. Because it is only a Grade 2 class, I was figuring that they would not be able to actually throw the sticks and catch across the gap, so I was planning to simply have them touch the sticks in the centre. The sticks are made from magazines rolled up so that little hands can manage them without ending up with loud dropping noises etc. This little class is made up of local children with a smattering of expat children as well, but I would say that it is predominantly Arabic /Muslim kids. Of course there are the boys in the class who tell me that music is 'Haram' so they don't have to do it. This is simply a naughty boy trying to use an excuse. I point out that music is a very important part of their culture, especially for males and remind them to go down to the Souq in the evenings to watch their men playing, singing and dancing. They continue to try and tell me that it is only for weddings but I have their game by now, as I know that very soon there will be Music University built right here beside us specifically for the purpose of housing the Qatar National Orchestra. So, having won that argument, I plow on to teach Maori Stick Games to this class. As it turns out, many of the children are thrilled with this activity and are soon trying to throw the sticks with great success. As my class was finishing recently, a gorgeous pair came up to me with such excitement. 
"We did it all without dropping, Miss. I just prayed to Allah before we started and then we made no mistakes!" 
"Yes," agreed the other child,"that's what we did, prayed to Allah and it worked!!"
"Oh," I replied."What a good idea, I will try that next time. Thanks for letting me know."
How sweet is that? 
The other class is learning an Australian Bush Dance- 'heel,toe, heel,toe, slide together ,slide together, heel toe, heel, toe slide together slide together. 1 2 3, 1 2 3 , 1 2 3, 1 2 3 etc etc" They sing these words to me as they enter the room in their Arabic accents. This is a Grade 1 class and I am trying to persuade the girls not to wear glittery, sparkly, frilly skirts with tulle and lace. I don't think they quite have the concept of Bush as we know it. Oh well, should be a laugh if nothing else.

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