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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Stay Tuned – A universal language

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This past June, I was lucky enough to find myself in Africa with an incredible crew of people from Global Rescue Project, an organization dedicated to ending child trafficking on the shores of Lake Volta. And I got the chance to spend 10 days with the 90 children they have rescued thus far.

It’s very easy to imagine a trip of this caliber. One probably imagines it like a UNICEF commercial, equipped with pleading eyes full of anguish and Sarah McLachlan providing a melancholy soundtrack. But our time in the village of Kete Krachi, Ghana, was not like the movies nor was it like those alienating commercials you see on TV.

It was the most alive I’ve ever felt. To experience the unconditional love of these kids and to witness the power of action is something that will remain sacred to me. Although we grew up in completely different worlds, our crew formed an instant bond with the kids who were a lot like us in a myriad of ways, one of them being a similar taste in music.

Whether dancing in the street when we were stranded for eight hours or sharing my earbuds on 14-hour bus rides with Joseph, a 16-year-old budding artist, music seemed to follow us wherever we went. The kids were especially overjoyed when we were familiar with ‘Bibia Be Ye Ye’, an Ed Sheeran song written in Twi, a regional language of Ghana, with Ghanian artist Fuse ODG.

It’s easy to say that music is a universal language, but it takes on a whole new meaning when you actually experience the transfer of music across cultures. I remember my cousin turning to me one night and saying, “These kids are just like us.”

And they were. With music, we were one.

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Caitlyn Vandevelde
Caitlyn Vandevelde
Caitlyn Vandevelde is a senior at Neuqua Valley High School.
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