15 October 2015 - Sumperk to Jablonec

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Thursday, 15th October 2015

Last night is something one would never be able to describe adequately. The concert was absolutely wonderful in a beautiful and packed to capacity venue. Motyli looked so good in their concert uniforms and had an interesting repertoire, including some Czech and Slovak music. Our angels first sang the capacity audience into silence with the religious repertoire and then lifted the roof with the traditional music. Even this late in the tour it is clear to us that they are all still enjoying every note they sing.

At the end of the concert Motyli handed over  6000 Czech Krone (about R3000.00) as a gift to the ECCC. This will go into the tour fund to help a needy candidate experience the next tour. We were overwhelmed by this gesture and when the translator started in pure Afrikaans (Yes, Afrikaans Lionel in Sumperk grew up in Pretoria and has been living in the Czech Republic for 20 years. He is married to a Czech lady and they have two children who only speak Czech. He speaks Afriaans to his parents once a week) I could hardly hold my tears. It was wonderful for me to convey our gratitude in Afrikaans, for him to translate back to Czech.

After the party everyone headed back to the music school, where the tables were loaded with more eats than can be imagined. It was not long before the Czech kids knew a few Xhosa songs and by 21h00 our kids were performing Czech dances like pros! The adults were showered with gifts and, as Lionel said, it is truly the tour with the warmest receptions in ECCC tour memory.

This morning we said a very sad goodbye to yet another new set of wonderful friends. Somehow I know that some lasting friendships were forged over the past three days.

The first two hours on the bus were quiet as everyone tried to catch up on a bit of sleep. We had planned to stop in another old town on our way to Jablonec, but the rainy weather forced a change of plans. The Czech countryside is beautiful, with the autumn colours now in full show and it's hard for us to imagine the stormy weather our families have been experiencing at home. 

This morning we travelled almost all the way to Jablonec, stopping only once along the way for a bathroom break and some food, before spending the afternoon at the IQ Landia Science Centre in Liberec, Jablonec’s neighbouring town.

From previous tours we know that these science centres are heaven for children, as it is a place where you can touch and do, unlike a museum, where you are mostly allowed to look only. The kids dispersed very quickly throughout the five floors and various exhibitions, crawling through caves, performing astronaut training, learning about our bodies, building lego, playing piano, and much, much more. The adults too had fun and it was lovely to see everyone enjoying themselves and so relaxed at this late stage in the tour.

We ended our visit with a short performance to the IQ Landia Staff in front of a very special fountain that shapes the water into letters or shapes written on a small tablet. Of course they enjoyed this little gift and I was again struck by how easy it is for our children to put a smile on strangers’ faces.

Our reception in Jablonec was very warm – even the mayor was there to welcome us, together with a visiting Latvian choir, who will participate in tomorrow evening’s concert. It is Iuventus Gaude’s 10th birthday and we are honoured to be part of the celebrations.

Tomorrow is going to be a very long and busy day, starting with a visit to a factory that produces crystal and glass products and the neighbouring museum of glass and crystal, and ending with the concert. You will probably only hear from me again on Saturday!


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