Team member Alan Marshall from London, England has been a musician for many years and has used his music to assist us in our humanitarian efforts. Music seems to be a universal language that lifts peoples spirits and brings joy to all who hear it. During our trip in February Alan shared his talent in many ways. On a visit to a music school he played his guitar and sang some songs, interacted with many of the students, and encouraged them to play along. Music was a way for Alan to connect with the young people and to provide encouragement.
Another opportunity presented itself when we followed up with Yulia Zhenviak. Yulia has worked with us as an interpreter and has visited the USA while on a work/travel program through her university. We introduced Yulia to Alan a few years ago and she has had the opportunity to sing with him on several occasions. Yulia invited us to visit the school where she teaches English and talk with students there. We shared a little about ourselves, the work DirectConnect does, and the medical mission to Kosovo we just completed . After answering some questions, Alan brought out his guitar and the room lit up as he began to play. Some students were reluctant to go back to class and lingered to speak with us a little longer.
There were a few other opportunities for Alan to lift the spirits of those we met. We were invited to a gathering by Svetlana who is a very talented singer with a local group of Christian musicians in Mogilev, where she and Alan performed a couple songs together. A city-wide concert is being planned for the fall. Alan and some of our other friends have been invited to participate.