By: Katie Kaplan | WCTV Eyewitness News
February 6, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- Preparations for a performance by the 'Watoto Children's Choir' were underway inside Trinity United Methodist Church on Wednesday afternoon.
"Music is a way of expressing themselves and sharing their stories," said David Atukunda. "They are all passionate. They love to sing and dance."
Atukunda is the team leader for Choir 98, a group of 17 children from Africa.
"It's a wonderful way to have them share their story," senior pastor Wayne Wiatt said.
The majority of children in the choir are orphans who live in a childcare organization called Watoto Child Care Ministry, part of Watato Church. The choir's travel expenses are mostly funded through the Uganda-based church.
However, the choir members are fed and hosted overnight by members of the churches they perform at during the tour. After each performance, the respective congregation is asked to donate to the choir's cause.
"I do not know who my parents are," said one young girl named Shamita, who shared her story. "I was brought to Watoto malnourished and in need of medical care."
Atukunda said each child has a unique story, but has found a stable life within the organization. Several different choir groups travel the world to raise awareness and money for their loved ones back home.
"When we sing is where we get money to support our brothers in the villages," said a choir member named Sam.
The choir will be touring for six months and still has one performance left in the Panhandle. On Sunday, February 10, they will perform in De Funiak Springs at the Baptist Church at 6:30 p.m. The address is 216 Live Oak Avenue East Defuniak Springs.
For a complete choir tour schedule, click here.