The Dryden Observer

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Watoto African Choir stops in Dryden

A young girl from the Watoto choir sings and dances for the crowd at Full Gospel Church last night.

Story and Photos by Lindsey Enns 

Imagine loosing both of your parents to disease, being forced to go to war or being abandoned and left with nothing. These stories are all too familiar for the women and children of the Watoto African Choir.

Accompanied by team leaders, the choir travels around the world sharing their painful stories through song, dance and video. Watoto is a holistic care program that was initiated to help deal with the overwhelming number of orphaned children and vulnerable women in Uganda. The program helps build potential African leaders through education and religion.

Sam Kimera is one of the choir’s team leaders and has been traveling with Watoto for four years.

“My favorite part is working with the children,” he said. “Seeing them transform from shy individuals to singing with joy and confidence is a great thing to see.”

Children in the choir range from 6 to 14 years of age and train for five months before going on the road.

“The children develop a real sense of confidence being in the choir and seeing the world,” Kimera said.

After spending the weekend in Winnipeg, the choir made a stop in Dryden last night to perform for a packed house at the Full Gospel Church.

“So far we have all been enjoying the weather here,” Kimera told the crowd.

The choir had the crowd on their feet dancing and singing along for most of the show. It was easy to see that people were touched by the stories told by several children in the choir. After the show the audience had a chance to meet and take photographs with the children.

This choir consists of 21 children and will perform 200 shows while on they are on road for 6 months. The performance raises awareness about the plight of orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa while highlighting issues such as poverty, HIV/AIDS, the effects of war and the child solider crisis in northern Uganda. Right now Watoto cares for 2,400 women and children and they hoping to raise that number to 10,000 by 2023. To find out where the choir is headed to next and how you can help you can visit Watoto.com. 

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