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Sydney Newell understands that her effort to bring clean water to an African village is a challenge.
A $40,000 challenge, to be precise.
“I understand that it’s big,” the 18-year-old Columbus East High School student said of the price tag of the work that is her senior project. “But my youth director, Pete (Eicher, at Westside Community Church) has been awesome and encouraging. He has reminded that it’s big, but God is much bigger.”
Newell and helpers from The Ridge and Community Church of Columbus have brought the 24-member Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa to Columbus today for a fundraising worship concert that’s part of the effort to build a water well in Kaihura, Uganda, where the elementary-school-aged youngsters live. The project is in conjunction with 410 Bridge, a Christian missions outreach.
“It shows teens in our community doing something huge to help those in need,” Eicher said of the effort that will continue until the financial goal is reached.
Choir members perform traditional African songs in their native tongue of Swahili and also contemporary Christian tunes in English. Bright African costumes and a drumbeat make their dance all the more lively.
The group travels throughout the United States to share their faith and to bring attention to 410 Bridge’s development projects.
Hear them sing
Who: Members of the elementary school-aged Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa in concert
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Columbus North High School’s Judson Erne Auditorium, 1400 25th St.
Admission: Free, but donations of any amount will be accepted. Organizers are hoping to raise $40,000 by next year for a water well for people in Kaihura, Uganda.
To donate: waterforkaihura.com
“The Daraja Children’s Choir of Africa is a very serious group of kids,” said choir director Abbu Odhiambo in a promotional video. “The kids work very hard. And we don’t have any fun.”
Then he broke into laughter.
Elsewhere in the video clip, youngsters giggled, jumped, grinned and otherwise belied their serious and sometimes poverty-striken life.
In the choir’s concert clips, members groove and move all over the stage. They look polished enough to be a notable act, but spontaneous enough to be, well, kids.
“Number one, the energy that they bring is just awesome,” Newell said.
A couple of her peers saw the ensemble perform earlier this year in Florida and loved them.
“Sometimes,” Odhiambo said, “God gives you a gift and then the platform of expressing what he’s placed in you. So my working with Daraja is a platform created by God to be able to serve his purpose for my life.”
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