In February 2010, at Gloria Jones’s invitation, I went to Makeni in Sierra Leone, West Africa to meet the children and take a look at the facilities out there. I saw great poverty, so great in fact that it seems absurd that people can live their lives with so little. And yet they do, and they do so with dignity and faith. I met some of Gloria’s friends in Sierra Leone who support her in this project, and they are trustworthy and decent people.
We started by using two rooms at weekends to teach two, 2 hours sessions on Saturdays and Sundays which were attended by up to sixty children. There are two teachers, Mr. Bangura and a colleague of his. Through the generosity of many supporters, both financial and in contributing equipment, we have been able to send to the school a number of acoustic, electric and bass guitars, two drums kits, a set of bongos, some keyboards and a trombone, the students are taking turns at practising, playing and performing. The aim is not to teach simply the basics of rudimentary band playing, but to give the students a thorough grounding in musical theory that they can apply to their playing and also, hopefully, to teach others themselves one day.
The importance of what has been achieved so far should not be underestimated. We have established a stable community of committed people working together from different parts of the planet to bring skill and knowledge (and through that, happiness also) to children in a very materially deprived part of the world. We share a language of care, hard work and achievement that the community in Makeni believe and trust in. We have taken care to build slowly, so that those involved in the classes feel closely linked with the growth of the project, and not threatened by an unwanted intrusion into their lives. We are grateful for the chance offered to us by the Polytechnic in Makeni in allowing us to use their facilities, and we want to express our thanks in real and helpful ways.
Most of the people involved in this project are doing this because they have always loved Marc’s music, and sincerely would like to give back to others and to Marc’s memory some of the immeasurable amount of joy that his spirit and music have given them through their lives. As a teacher I know that without a sense of one’s own ability and value, life can be very difficult to negotiate, and from what I have already seen in Sierra Leone, there is a truly great need for help there.
I am delighted to announce that Marc’s brother, Harry Feld, has offered his support to the project and has the role of Executive President of the UK Foundation. I have to state, also, that since getting to know Gloria, I am very impressed by the depth of her sincerity, the degree of her application to this task, and the enormously positive nature of her ambitions to build this school.
Director Light Of Love Foundation UK