Once we landed in Manila from Hong Kong, we had just enough time to shower and take an hour long nap before we were back at the airport to catch our flight to Northern Samar, about 2 hours away. We landed in the extremely humble airport of Catarman where the gate area is a wall of plexus glass separating its loch chair seats from the runway and the security is a police officer who smiles and waves you in.
I've had the most wonderful food, from fried eggplant to fried pork, from fresh fish to fresh mangoes, and rice on the side of everything. We're all trying to be careful not to drink the water, and sometimes we have to drink beer instead, but it isn't so bad.
We have spent 3 days with our students so far. They are so shy, but they're slowly coming out of their shells. Each day, we spend 3 hours at the Catarman Special Education School (SPED) where the students are between 8 and 12 years old. During these 3 hours, the students are split in half and rotate between music class and dance class. We do the same schedule at Catarman National High School where we spend 3 hours each afternoon. These students are between 13 and 17.
Our first class included my favorite game: Shabuya, a get-to-know-you game with singing and dancing. We continued with another rhythm game, Zip-zap-zop the incorporates rhythm with communication and team work. Then, we worked on writing out the rhythms that we used in Zip-zap-zop. The students at both schools are quickly catching on to the idea of quarter notes vs. eighth notes vs. half notes. I'm so proud of them!
Brian and I have also included a performance in each class. We have talked about how mood can express a mood or a story and have had the students actively listen for a mood and draw a story they hear when we are playing. We performed Brian's arrangement of "Appalachia Waltz", an American piece inspired by mountain folk songs. The students NAILED the task and all shared with us their colorful drawings of rice fields, mountains, and wind flowing through trees. Again, I was very proud.
Last night, we were the guests of honor at the governor of Northern Samar's annual ball. We feasted on pig and performed for the councilmen and the women in the running to be Miss Northern Samar. Brian and I performed "Appalachia Waltz" there as well and it was very well received.