We held two sessions today at Western Isles Hospital. The first one was at Erisort Ward for the NHS, Alzheimer Scotland and our Arora project collaboration Tuesday Ceilidh.
It really was a ceilidh today, with plenty of chat about Highland dancing, discovering where we all are from, how we came to the island if we hadn’t always been here, the discussions event went to how a marriage proposal came about! Maggie’s Gaelic was so very welcome, for four native Gaelic speakers and one lady, who is fluent.
The Minister Calum Iain Macleod came to visit and offered, on request, to present two verses of Psalm 23 in Gaelic. This meant so much to the people at the Ceilidh today. There were tears. I asked one lady ‘How long since you sang a psalm?’ ‘Oh, a very long time. A very long time. I feel blessed by the word of God. I used to go every week. Every week.’
After all that emotion, Maggie brought out her Melodeon and played some tunes. When I looked around the room, I noticed three ladies singing along, knowing the words. And faces of doctors, nurses, support staff and other professionals popped by at the door to see what was happening. It was fun to see those faces light up at the sight and sound of our ceilidh.
We had some Parkin, a selection of biscuits with tea and coffee and some local magazines and national brochures to look through.
Five people came along from the wards, supported by an OT Assistant, a Dementia Champion, plus Maggie, and myself from the Arora project and Pauline from Alzheimer Scotland with her lovely daughter. One visitor stayed for the session and our wonderful guest Minister Calum Iain Macleod, whom I was unable to thank properly because I was comforting a lady who felt very emotional with joy.
After this session, we popped next door to Clisham Ward and Maggie played the Melodeon with a gentleman from Uist, who remembers a lot of the tunes. He managed to sing along to one tune, then he started looking across the room and I noticed another lady dancing and singing along with a nurse. After Maggie took a break from playing, the gentleman was able to sing back to us the tunes Maggie had been playing with him. The nurses took a photograph of the session. I think they captured the joy in his face as he just finished singing. I definitely saw his recognition of us when we greeted each other.
Note: The Reverend Calum Iain Macleod ministers from Back Free Church and you can find Gaelic sermons online through the links on their web page. This might be helpful to isolated people wanting to hear a Gaelic sermon, for those who might be unable to travel. Back free Church sermons in Gaelic and English Our podcasts on Soundcloud ( Soundcloud Arora An Lanntair link ) have a playlist of Gaelic psalm singing and waulking songs.