last night was pure magic and I just had to share with you all the amazing stuff that went down at The Blue Man in Brighton during yet another sold out Tribal Café. One of my favourite venues to perform at, The Blue Man is the perfect venue to perform the beauty of what is ATS and Tribal Fusion. It feels great to be near the audience, and the energy is infectious. Everyone starts shouting even before you step onto the stage… feels kinda awesome. I bet this must be what Amira was like back in the day in San Francisco, from the stories that I heard. I imagine Tribal Café could be the beginnings of this magical hub… And what feels even more amazing is that all dancers danced for an amazing cause: The Impore Project in Rwanda.
For those that not know Impore, it’s a project my dad Luk and his wife Claudine set up about 8 years ago to reduce the child mortality rate in Rwanda. I asked my dad to write me a letter to read at Tribal Café so that everyone knows to what an amazing cause all the profits for this project will go.
But apart from this amazing project, and all the amazing dancers (we had Alexis Southall, Kathy Pearlson, Ter’zim with Charlotte Wassell and Emma Hubbard, Masmoudi with me, Charlotte and Emma, Emily, Tenzin Harley and a solo by myself) we had another announcement. For those of you that know Katie Stork, she is one of us, she’s like our family and she was there that night. She was actually originally planning to dance as well, however her health doesn’t allow it at the time being. We (when I say we, I cannot even start the long list of people that got involved… we have over 100 donations and counting…) have been very sneaky. Behind Katie’s back we set up a fundraiser, to raise money to help her with her medical bills. We were originally going to donate the funds on the actual fundraiser (Tribal Café July 2013) we had planned for her in July, but from what we gathered best to get some funds to her immediately rather than waiting any longer. She had no idea of the amount of lying we all had to do to keep this a secret from her. We managed to raise £2600 on the night, however since last night funds have gone up to £2900 and counting!
It feels good to be part of something big like that. To know that you can make a difference just by being positive and by taking action. I find that when you hear about things in the world that make you feel helpless it’s just cause you don’t even know where to begin. This seemed so easy: hey let’s set up a secret FB page, let’s invite all Katie’s friends and see if we can get some money together. Positive energy spreads like fire so it seems! More so than negative energy… I always thought that negativity was infectious, and spreads like a disease, but now I am thinking: negativity makes you isolated, as eventually people will take a step back from it. Good vibes… sweet like honey! Addictive. So people want to get involved, cause it’s so damn sweet! For once, addiction doesn’t seem to be such a bad thing. It makes things happen, it makes for change in people’s lives and it makes you feel useful. And for me it’s been a big learning curve… what else could we make happen?
It’s the perfect timing for me to make my trip to Rwanda. On Tuesday I shall be flying to Kigali, to see my dad, Claudine and my baby brother Sam who has been adopted when he was born 1.5 years ago. His mother unable to look after him and with no other family I do not think he had very long to live. Now, at 1.5 years turning into a strong little boy, I wonder what difference he might make in the world when he grows up. I can’t wait to meet him.
Looking forward to visit the building site of ‘Chez Marraine’ – thank you to everyone that came to the show, thank you to all dancers for being so BADASS and thanks to those that made extra donations on the night! I will be sending an update on this once I am back from Rwanda.
Here is the letter from my dad that I read out at Tribal Café June 2013:
Dear Impore-friends, dearest Hilde,
Ten days from now, a group of 8 young volunteers from Flanders will arrive in Rwanda to work for a month helping to construct a temporary shelter for mother-less babies in Butare. In August a second group will continue their work. The shelter is called Chez Marraine. My wife Claudine launched this initiative. It is part of the Impore-project that we started 7 years ago in order to contribute to the reduction of infant mortality in Rwanda.
Chez Marraine focuses on some of the most unfortunate newborns, those who have no mother nor family to take care of them. We are convinced that we will find families who are willing to adopt them later on and raise them as healthy individuals who become part of a loving community. The initiative is appreciated by many, but without sufficient financial means it will never get of the ground.
You cannot imagine how grateful we are with this (and other) fundraising activities and how good it feels that both Charlotte and Hilde took this initiative. Obviously Claudine and I wanted to be with you tonight and share with you the fun and joy of this happening. It is practically impossible, but our minds and soul are with you tonight.
Soon, Hilde will visit us. We are sure that she will tell us all about this great event. We are so looking forward to seeing her again. Needless to say that we will also show her the construction site of Chez Marraine. And of course you are all welcome in Rwanda as well so that we can thank you in person for your support to this project.
Claudine and Luk