We went to Haiti to teach but we received so much more than we gave. Our journey began several months ago when we were invited to join a team to teach a music program at TeacHaiti School in Haiti. Its founder, miquette Denie McMahon, started the school as a way to give back to her community. As a young girl, she was sponsored by a family in the US to come to the States to attend school. Returning as a nurse, she found that little had changed-- there was still no public education to speak of, leaving many children without the means to get an education. Miquette found sponsors willing to help deserving children. Her school was one of the first to reopen after the devastating earthquake.
We departed April 28, 2013, our suitcases stuffed with keyboards, ukeleles, rhythm instruments, recorders and teaching aids. Each day, our driver picked us up, loaded up the van and navigated the rocky mostly unpaved roads to TeacHaiti School. We did classroom music with the younger grades, teacher inservices on the instruments, and even taught our interpreters (high school students) during breaks. We helped set up and serve lunch to the children, then relaxed over our own plates of rice and bean juice. After school, we ran a two hour camp for the third thru sixth graders, dividing them into instructional groups of ten and rotating them through six teaching stations.
At the end of the week, the children performed for their parents and teachers. We were so proud of them, and it was hard to say good-bye. Their smiles, hugs, jubilant songs and dance will forever be etched in our hearts.
Since then, The Braeded Chord have returned to Haiti twice, created a music curriculum specifically for TeacHaiti, with songs in Creole, French and English, and trained the teaching staff and music specialist in its use. Perhaps their greatest joy was getting to observe the staff using the curriculum and enjoying the children displaying their musical skills.