SOS mother feeding child:
The story of the SOS Pied Piper:
Several years ago, a Lebanese flautist travelled round some of the SOS Children's Vilages. On his journey, the man likened to the Pied Piper brought joy to the children of Children's Village Waterfalls. This is part of his story:
"What is music?" the man with the flute asked the children at the SOS Children's Village and the SOS Hermann Gmeiner Primary School Waterfalls. "Music is special", a little girl added shyly. "Music is so touching", said an older girl.
The "man with the flute" was Wissam Boustany, a Lebanese professional flautist and peace activist based in London, who also adores children and is a keen supporter of SOS Children's Villages. In recent years Wissam Boustany has given concerts in North and South America, Europe and the Middle and Far East. At the beginning of this year he came to Zimbabwe to give a series of concerts and recitals. During his brief and busy stay he came to play for the children at the SOS Children's Villages and the SOS Hermann Gmeiner School in Waterfalls and Bulawayo. He drew them like the Pied Piper with his warm and lively personality and his love for this flute. It was the first time the children had heard the instrument, and they were enchanted.
"He was playing a song on his flute, he was so happy. We were all glad and we were smiling at him", said ten year old Romeo. Tafadzwa, another ten year old, added, "I heard sweet music played from a flute. His music is so soft, without a lot of noise, I like that. In such concerts I don't think you find thieves or gangsters because it's cool music."
Wissam Boustany was deeply affected by his experience of the war in the city of Beirut where he grew up. He now uses his music to promote peace and as a healing force to open the doors of inspiration between people and nations and help us reflect on our common humanity. In 1997 he was awarded a knighthood by the Lebanese government in recognition of his music and peace work. The following year he was presented with the Crystal Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland).
He has also received many international awards in the field of music." Which is better?" he asked the children, "to construct a bomb or to smell a flower?" The children didn't hesitate. Wiser than many political leaders, they knew that flowers are of far greater importance to this world than bombs are.
During his recitals in Zimbabwe and on his visit to Waterfalls and Bulawayo, Wissam was accompanied by the country's leading classical pianist and generous supporter of SOS Children's Villages Zimbabwe, Jeannette Micklem. Together they opened the eyes of the children to a new world, and several have now decided to learn to play the flute or the piano. In the words of twelve year old Stewart from SOS Children's Village Bindura, "I did not think that one can earn a living by blowing into a flute. When I saw the flutist playing his flute then I knew that there is joy in being a flautist. If you love whatever you do, your dream will come true. The man I saw in Waterfalls loved his music. One day I will be a flautist because I enjoyed the music."