Monday, 1 February 2016

Rockin' a Mic (Like No One's Business!)

I have to be honest. When I was first approached to give a talk at the 9th Annual Hip Hop For Society event this past Sunday, I was a little hesitant. I mean, the extent of my hip hip knowledge pretty much consists of nothing more than Marky Mark* and the Funky Bunch and the first few lines of Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby. Luckily, though, they weren't interested in my Hip-Hop know-how.

The event's promotional poster
The event is put on by Breakdance Project Uganda - a Ugandan run organization that uses Hip-Hop to build capacity and confidence in youth across the country. It was founded by Kampala-born, Abramz, a remarkable young man who has used his musical talents and success to create a platform to improve the lives of Ugandan youth. I met Abramz, by chance, during my first trip to Jinja and I feel quite fortunate to call him a friend**. His enthusiasm, positive attitude and unending drive to make the world a better place is undeniably contagious.

Anyway, the event was a day intended to showcase breakdancing, rap battles, and lots more. I was there for two purposes...well, three. First, to give a speech on the importance of youth involvement in agriculture. Secondly, to represent the organization I'm working with here, in order to engage youth. And thirdly, to support my friend.

The exhibition grounds, where we'd set up our information booth
We made the twitter box!
Twitter credit: @WhiteheadComm (above and below)

Unfortunately I missed a great majority of the showcase, but what I saw was pretty fantastic! As someone who has zero dance skills (and has given up on her own musical dream), I was in awe of what these kids could do. The confidence many of these young folks had was amazing. But perhaps what was really impressive, was the support they all shared amongst each other. Even when someone didn't carry out a step properly, there were still cheers of support and encouragement to continue. I especially took an (unexpected) liking to a group of table-height tots*** who did their best to keep up with the big kids.

A bit of the stage show.

I, somehow, got sandwiched in between an incredible group of breakdancers****, a rapper, and then some of those tiny dancers noted previously. I was really afraid that they would make me dance before and/or during my talk... but thankfully, Abramz spared me and the audience the embarrassment!

This gem came out of the mouth of my pal, Abramz... right before I hit the stage.
I was most definitely the least cool kid present.
Twitter credit: @WhiteheadComm
In all seriousness though, the speech went well. I was told I'd be speaking much earlier, so my nerves had plenty of time to subside. Truth be told, I get terribly nervous about public speaking. My biggest fear is the fact that usually when I'm nervous one of two things usually happens, if not both: my hands shake uncontrollably and my face goes bright red. But thankfully - based on the video to follow - I didn't appear to show either undesirable traits!

That's me! On the stage! 
This made for my one thing that scares me for the day, and I'm so glad I did it. I'm also really thankful to have had the opportunity to face this challenge. Check out the video of my speech and a very brief visual recap of the day!

Thanks to Abramz and his team at Breakdance Project Uganda. I truly hope to be working with you guys again in the near and distant future! Keep on inspiring young minds and changing young lives!

-the Orange Canadian

*Dude... it's time. Have your reunion/come back tour already! Stop being ashamed of your past - I need this!!
**He's seriously WAY too cool to be my friend...
***What made them even more adorable, was witnessing them all lined up along the wall munching on some chapati. My heart melted... Mike - hurry up and have kids! I'm ready to be an aunt now!! Kidding. Take your time. But seriously...
****I mean, I assume they were... I really have nothing but my own dancing capabilities to compare anyone else's with!

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