The most challenging of trips to date, and the most extensive.
20 concerts in 12 days throughout Manila, Cebu, Tacloban and Bohol.
Although life for people on the streets is unbearably difficult, I have never met more spirited, kind people in my travels. The concert at Payatas - the worlds largest inhabited rubbish dump - was a turning point in my life. The delight in the faces of the children brought me so much joy.
A thousand cheering local schoolchildren bearing welcome signs they had made for me in Tacloban gave me goosebumps. I was the first international musician to visit and I felt the love! In Manila, ChildHope (one of many foundations GPT worked with) brought homeless children to the shelter for showers, clothes and food prior to the concert.
One of the toughest moments of my life as a human, a mother and an artist was knowing that these children would then return to their lives on the street.
The highlight of a concert on the beach for elderly citizens in Cebu was the remark by one ancient fellow with a toothless grin "I always dreamed to hear a piano, and now my dream is true!".
This extraordinary country, with its huge-hearted people, struck a chord with me that continues to resonate.
Performing Debussy to eager, wide-eyed children in an orphanage; communicating, in my broken Russian, with cheeky, smiling teenagers at a youth shelter; playing Liszt for the residents of a mental asylum in a remote forest beyond Minsk; quietly playing Chopin to some very sick little children in a disabled orphanage.
This trip filled my heart with both unimaginable delight and sorrow.
This is one place I must return to.
The energy of this land fascinated me, and its compete lack of tourists was both surprising and wonderful. It was enthralling playing music on a piano knowing it was highly likely there had never been a piano in this part of the world before!
My first stop was a school with almost 1000 children. The classroom was absolutely packed with children crammed up against the glass free windows holding the bars and peering in with fascination. The response was a rowdy and happy one!
On my second trip to Timor Leste I would travel in the back of a Ute, with the locals gleefully yelling out 'Malae, Malae!", the local word for foreigner. I donated several keyboards I had been sponsored to local schools in Dili so the kids could pursue any musical interests they had.
The enthusiasm and energetic responses of the children at each concert I gave was thrilling, as were the Capoeira presentations they gave for me!
A five hour drive in the back of a muggy truck - heavy traffic - stifling heat.
Relief in the joyous sound of children singing to welcome us at the Pattaya Orphanage.
Sharing music, smiles, local food and laughter is what Girl Piano Truck is all about.
Deaf children didn't miss the fun: they lay on the ground listening to the vibrations from the keyboard through the floor.
The elephant strolling through the courtyard during the concert was an unexpected listener!
My first ever Girl Piano Truck!
Travelling to a country of more than 1.3 billion with nothing but a suitcase, a trolley and a keyboard - what a daunting experience!
It didn't take long to be swept away with the unique and hypnotic wave - the magic of India. A concert on the beach in Goa; a workshop for teachers in Mumbai; a performance at an orphanage in New Delhi.
Without any doubt, it was clear to me - Girl Piano Truck is my passion, my mission.