How One Instrument Can Change a Life: Africa

One of my friends is a missionary who travels to Africa. He had been telling me about how he always brings his guitar on mission trips, and about how all of the kids from the village love the instrument. They love to learn new chords and songs, and find so much joy from being able to play music. However, they are unable to have any instruments other than the ones they make, and after he leaves they are unable to play a guitar until he returns.

He was explaining this to my father, who suggested we send an instrument with him for the youth of the village to keep. I loved this idea, and so we donated a guitar to him to bring to Africa. He took it, and sent a picture to me of a whole group of kids crowded around the guitar. He told me about how a couple of the youth really took to the instrument, and were learning everything they could about it. Even months after he left, they were still emailing him asking for new chords, songs, or anything else they could learn. It was their first and only guitar, and they were so excited to be able to learn music whenever they want to.

Music is a huge part of every culture and it helps connect everyone. When we hear another person playing a song, we can feel the emotion they put behind it without ever understanding the exact words they are saying. I like to think that just like all words boil down to the same twenty-six letters, all of life’s experiences boil down to the same emotions. If we are able to tell our stories through these emotions, who knows how well we could communicate.

Most people don't think of music as a method of communication, but I believe that it is one of the best methods we have. Through music, we are able to make others feel what we are feeling, and do this in a safe way that promotes understanding. And when words break down, music can help us share what we are feeling.