I'll be honest. Before my Sharing The Dream and Students Live experiences, I thought The Olympic Games were all sport. Over the past few months, however, I have been continually proven wrong. The Olympic Games are about culture, just as much as they are about sport. Tonight was yet another event to stress this point.
As part of the Cultural Olympiad, a series of plays, concerts, and art exhibits that accompany The Olympic and Paralympic Games, The Spirit Of Uganda brings a group of Ugandan youth, many who have been orphaned by AIDS, to share their culture through song and dance.
Elizabeth Boey (right) and me (left), chatting with Brian,
a member of Spirit of Uganda and grade 12 student.
The show was inspiring and uplifting. What astounded me the most was that despite tragic pasts, the youth radiated such joy throughout their performance. As they struck out heavy rhythms on the drums and swished their hips and sang into the Orpheum, smiles lit the faces of both performers and audience members.
Featuring a number of dances from the various regions of Uganda, the group gave a "tour" of their home country, from melancholy melodies of the war torn north, to a jubilant finale, written to save a king from drunken embarassment. What's more astounding, after performing the youth gave their names and grades - ranging from grade 3 to 12, and all of them maintain their studies while on the road.
For me, it was a night to remember, as I was transported around the beautiful African country, enjoying the cultural exchange The Games have made possible, and learning that the true spirit of Uganda, is a joyful one indeed.
An interview with Brian