Feature Story                                                                                                         Monday, February 4, 2013


From the Heart of Africa

Amazing kids touch communities through song and dance

Staff/Voice photos


Watoto song and dance troupe from Uganda, run through their routines flawlessly last week in Chilliwack.


f you went in to First Avenue Christian Assembly auditorium last Tuesday evening expecting static children in black and white robes singing religious standards, then you were in for a major surprise.


There was no way to anticipate how powerful and moving the Watoto African Children’s Choir would be as they put on a dazzling performance in front of approximately 500 people.


Watoto kids shovel pain by the pound. Behind the haunting solos and mellifluous group efforts, each beaming face has a gut-wrenching story of parents and siblings lost through disease or violence. Some have lost limbs and digits, while others are abandoned.


The troupe sang their hearts out and breezed through expertly choreographed acts from traditional Ugandan dances to splashy, high energy synchronized hip hop numbers, interspersed with life stories from the kids themselves.


At times, the audience sat listening in dead silence. Other times they were dancing in their seats.


Under the guidance and sponsorship from Watoto Canada, the kids have managed to pull their torn lives back together. Unlike millions of other African children without hope, and facing abbreviated lives, these little luminaries have a wonderful future to look forward to.


They realize the plight of other kids in Africa, so they’re working hard to help them by raising money through their shows.


Lead pastor Jay MacAlister told the Voice in an e-mail after the show that they were honoured to have Watoto at their church.




“They did a wonderful job in their performance and they represent a great cause — the orphaned in Africa,” McAlister said. “We are happy to have the opportunity to let them present their message and raise awareness and financial aid for a great cause.”


For more information about Watoto, visit www.watoto.com


You can also visit First Ave Christian Assembly church at www.firstave.org



See more photos below.



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