Two weeks ago, I volunteered to help with high school band camp. This weekend, I stuck around for middle school band camp – a shorter, sweeter version of the first. Instead of two nights, it was one; instead of two songs, they learned one. We had 33 kids in 6th, 7th and 8th grade. My responsibilities: direct the woodwind sectional rehearsals and be the female chaperone. I did not expect to add “medic” to that list.
Friday night was easy. An hour and a half of rehearsing and two hours of games. We took them down to one of the soccer fields and played night-time “Capture the Chicken.” (Why use flags when you can use rubber chickens?) After that we played a couple rounds of “Assassins” in the Arts building. Once again – a running, hiding and catching game in a mostly dark, multi-level area – what’s not to love? By the time we got them all settled in sleeping bags, they were quite gross but sufficiently tired.
The real adventure of the weekend came today. After a slow morning and about an hour of rehearsal, Steve and I began helping the kids set up the stage for full band rehearsal. We were standing in the auditorium chatting and almost all of the kids were in their seats taking out instruments. CRASH! Seats, stands, instruments and kids seemed to have folded into the stage! When we finally wrapped our brains around what had happened, Steve ran to the stage and I raced downstairs, visions of blood and broken limbs flashing before my eyes.
The trapdoor in the stage had somehow come open and three kids had fallen through. The door leads to a dance studio below the theater. Thankfully it doesn’t drop ten feet straight to the floor – there is a small platform about three feet down and then short steps that go another three feet down to a large platform. It’s not that big of a trapdoor either; so actually, only one kid fell through and two others toppled in after him when their chairs tipped. The first kid that fell through had rolled down the steps to the second platform and was sprawled on the floor. The other two were only half-way in; one sat on the first platform holding his leg and the other had climbed back out.
I went first to the one of the floor. No blood that I could see. He was conscious, lying on his side and holding his arm. Perhaps a break? A trumpet, a chair and a stand had fallen in after him and lay strewn to the side. I quickly checked the other two kids; when I found only scratches, I went back to the first. Within the next thirty minutes, I found myself in a school van, on the way to the nearest hospital. His mom had been contacted and she would meet us there.
Long story short: his arm is fine. No fractures; just some scrapes, bruises and jammed fingers. The other kids also got away with minor scratches. How we didn’t have any concussions still amazes me, but I’m thankful. The equipment didn’t fare so well – the chair and stand both broke, and one trumpet bell is pretty crunched. The other two trumpets were slightly dented and several tuning slides had fallen out.
One benefit of the experience: I had my first Nairobi hospital experience. Not only do I know where it is, but I have an idea of what to do and expect. One of those things that you want to know, but don’t want to have to use that often.
I made it back to campus five minutes before the kids played for the parents. They played wonderfully – it was loud and dissonant and youthful in all the right ways. An excellent beginning-of-the-year performance. They were also glad to know that their friend was alive and well. I’m sure he’ll be the talk of the middle school on Monday.
My thoughts at the end of the day: first-aid training might be a good investment. Work much with kids and it’s sure to come in handy.