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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

New hope for a boy orphaned twice in life

It was such a victory day for needy children! On July 11 Ambassadors of Hope Africa Children's Choir, a charity organisation that supports orphans between 6-12 years put up a life changing performance at Sharing Youth Hall-Nsambya.
The reunion show was a musical drama titled The Prince of Africa that featured two main performers and a cast of about 40 backup singers and dancers, staged for the 20th anniversary celebrations of Ambassadors of Hope sponsored by Music for Life.

Action rolled as the deep voice of an omniscient narrator related the story of Mark (Princess Sandra), a child whose parents die of HIV/AIDS when he was two months old. English parents adopt and love him like their biological son. At 8, Mark, asks why he is black when his ‘parents' are white. They explain everything and even accept to escort him on a visit to Africa, the ancestral home of his late parents.

On the way, fate knocks; the boat capsizes and all those on board perish except Mark. An orphan for a second time, he spends two days on a strange island in Africa but is rescued by Malaika (Mbowa Tony) a magician islander. They go hunting together; do some magic, tour lands and mountains eventually becoming inseparable friends.

A conflict develops when Mark decides to return to England but realises that he has no other family there. Malaika plans to help him board a ship that crosses Africa to England. But on the night of the 7th day, Malaika who cant stand the thought of separating from his boy leaves Mark asleep and disappears into the forests. Mark wakes up alone. Malaika is nowhere. Eventually, a crying Mark is left behind.

In his predicament, all princes and princesses of Africa welcome Mark so lovingly and knight him a prince as well. And on that evening, not only does Mark decide to be a big prince among the princes and princesses with a big task of helping in rebuilding Africa but also, fully understands that he will never be an orphan again.

Renowned composer Maggie Walter produced the music for the script directed by Barnabas Frank.

Ivan Mutabazi the light and sound engineer of the team was behind the effects that reflected the rising and setting sun. A projector in form of a white curtain would flash a hunting scene, forests, or African girls dancing. All types of instruments and props – xylophones, drums, traditional guitar, calabashes, pots and much more livened the show.

The auditorium was crammed with kids from all walks of life who had prior to the performance nourished on plates plentiful of food. As the performance progressed, they clapped and cheered joyfully.

Mr. Raymond Ray Barnett, the President Ambassadors of Hope, said the family show was a stage rehearsal for an international show to premier in Vancouver in December.

Children who get into a choir, are trained to sing and dance before performing in churches in Europe. The raised money is then used to help other millions of children in Africa and abroad whose parents have died of HIV/AIDS. They are educated up to university.

As the celebratory performance ended, it was clear that the NGO that operates in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Sudan has given life to the lifeless.

The Director Ambassadors of Hope Africa Children's Choir-Uganda, Ms Robinah Lubwama, appropriately quoted Psalms 41:1, "Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble."

Published in Daily Monitor, July 15, 2004