Christmas, communication and why music is the key

It’s 20th December and I’m not stressed about Christmas gifts. I’m not worried that it won’t be as when I was a child. It most definitely will not.
It is already the end of December. Who would have thought that time could pass so quickly? We are not half way through our stay in Malawi, but Christmas still marks a turning point. Soon four new participants from Mozambiwque and Brasil will join us in Lilongwe. So much is going to happen before we go, but we’re already fearing the day we get into the bus to go to the airport to go home…
Christmas. Okey. The choirs are singing Christmas carols, the semester is going to an end, we’ve decorated the living room a little and now and then we listen to Christmas songs. But Christmas? In our daily life the fact that Christmas is here in only four days is barely visible. Sun, rain and 26-32 degrees Celsius. It doesn’t matter though. It does not bother us. This is now, so this is how it has to be. Some small traditions like baking “pepperkaker” (ginger bread) and giving each other gifts will still be carried out. But here it’s more about finishing the last projects of the semester and preparing the big Christmas Party at Music Crossroads.
blog3Three months ago I met new people with a distance. I did not expect to have anything in common with the one I was greeting. I now expect the opposite. I am interested in what is behind. The differences are there. They are clear, they are sometimes very visible – so why bother only thinking about them? It’s when we go beyond that it gets interesting.
Another year is over, a new one will soon begin. I have learnt so much, I have travelled a lot, I have smiled, sung, cried, been stressed, talked, had coffee and played a lot in 2016. I have met so many new people. I consider my colleagues and my fellow MOVE-participants in Malawi my good friends and nearest contacts. And still I have not known them for more then three-four months! They are the best friends that I have known for the shortest time. Tomorrow they will meet with the best friends I have known for the longest time. My father, mother and brother are boarding a plane in Oslo tonight to come visit me and my new home country! Looking forward to show them around and celebrate a completely different Christmas in Malawi. Hoping that 2017 will bring more respect and understanding. More traveling and more greetings.
In Norway we go to work, deliver our kids at school and in the kindergarden, make dinner, celebrate birthdays, cry when we loose someone and laugh when we are happy. They make dinner, celebrate big events, laugh when we are happy, deliver their kids in kindergarten and cry if they are sad in Malawi too. They deliver their kids in kindergarden, make dinner, take the bus to work and cry if they loose someone they love in Syria. They laugh when they’re happy, cry when they are sad, have dinner, take the bus or walk to work or school and celebrate birthdays and other events in probably EVERY PART OF THE WORLD. Why are we then so busy shutting each other out? Why are we so immensely afraid of greeting each other and sit down and talk?
Tsumba + Ingrid

Me and my guitar teacher Tsumba playing

When working with music you immediately have a common ground and a different means of communicating. A communication that not only is about technical skills, but soon also can touch you on an emotional level. Growing up with parents that have music as profession, I’ve always respected working with music and young people and known that it is important. But only after being here have I truly understood why my parents spend their whole life working with it. Time after time I see proof that music can be the key to understanding, communication and humour. Between your close friends and family, but more importantly between you and new friends, students or colleagues from all over the world.
 Boat on Lake Malawi
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Go to concerts, be kind to eachother and dance. Peace out. Lilongwe, Malawi.
Ingrid Ytre-Arne
Ingrid Ytre-Arne

Ingrid grew up between the mountains in Seljord, a small torn in the eastern part of Norway. She has always been surrounded with music from different genres and countries, including the local traditional folk music. Ingrid is happy, enthusiastic and very fond of her morning coffee. In Lilongwe, she hopes to play and sing a lot and looks forward to get to know Malawian music.

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