BoPH Students Help Bring Music to a School in Zambia

Mr. Jannack Mahachi playing his new guitar which was purchased with donations raised by Mr. Ken Buescher’s fourth grade “Bridges of Peace and Hope” class at Stadley Rough Elementary School in Danbury, CT in the U.S.A.

A wonderful “Bridge” of music and love was constructed when students from the American International School of Lusaka delivered a new guitar to a blind music teacher at Prince Takamado School in Lusaka, Zambia. The guitar was purchased with funds earned by students in Mr. Ken Buescher’s class in America.
Mr. Buescher’s students learned about Prince Takamado School and the blind teacher and musician, Mr. Jannack Mahachi, while reading John Farrell’s blog. (editor’s note: John’s blog is now included in this website)

After Mr. Buescher read the blog entry, which tells about a blind music teacher at a school of over 2000 students in Zambia, one of Mr. Buescher’s students said, “Let’s buy a guitar for that teacher.” The blog entry had explained that the school didn’t have any musical instruments except a few traditional drums. Prince Takamado Basic School has an average class size of over 70 students. Mr. Mahachi is a teacher there and directs a music club at the school. He loves to play the guitar and piano but did not have either. He once owned a guitar but had to sell it. There are no music or art classes taught at the school.

Mr. Buescher told his students that the gift of the guitar would be most meaningful if the students worked to earn the money rather than asking their parents or others for donations. The class agreed. They did jobs like raking leaves, babysitting, and helping with chores around their houses. In less than a week they had raised over $200, enough to purchase the guitar.

Using email and Skype teleconferencing, BoPH founder John Farrell worked with Kate Bidder, a Grade 1 teacher at the American International School of Lusaka (AISL). Kate is doing a BoPH PenPal project with Cheryl Arnett’s Class in Colorado in the USA. Kate and John had met when Kate helped organize music workshops that John did while visiting their school. Kate and her husband Kerry run a summer music camp in Zambia and are strong supporters of music, building bridges and community service projects. They were the perfect connection for this project.

With Kate and Kerry’s help and the funds from Mr. Buescher’s Class a shiny new guitar was purchased and delivered to Prince Takamado School.

The photo below shows some of the students from AISL teaching the sign language to Carol Johnson’s song “Love Grows One By One.”

When the AISL delegation started to sing “We Are Walking a Bridge of Peace,” all the the students from PT School joined in with them immediately. They had learned the song when John Farrell did a concert at the school in October. Kate said both groups were thrilled to see that they knew the same song and that the music had definitely built a bridge. Unfortunately the program was cut short when the heavens opened up and heavy rainfall came down.

We hope that the presentation of the guitar is just one phase of an ongoing partnership between Prince Takamado School, the American International School of Lusaka, and other Bridges of Peace and Hope Classrooms in the U.S. Several packages of Pen Pal letters were delivered to the school in October and we are awaiting return letters now. Thanks to the Bidder Family, Mr. Buescher’s Class, Richard Lungu, Madame Mwanza, Mr. Mahachi and all who helped make this possible.

When head teacher Madame Mwanza learned that a Bridges of Peace and Hope delegation from the American International School of Lusaka (AISL) would be coming to present Mr. Jannack Mahachi with a guitar she began making preparations to mark the occasion. She called the local television station, got out a special white table covering, and had some of the students prepared to do performances to thank the group from the school. Picture below is Madame Mwanza and her students receiving pen pal letters from America, delivered by John Farrell.

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