Sunday, May 23, 2010

So I guess if I can't actually go to Haiti myself, the next best thing is to help prepare those who will be going.

I'll be teaching a portion of an Arts Relief course hosted by the good folks at BuildaBridge on June 7 at Bryn Mawr College. Following what promises to be a fantastic morning session on psychological first aid, I'll be talking about my experiences in Honduras, Ghana and also about mass trauma work in North Philadelphia post Hurricane Katrina. I knew traveling and volunteering would teach me a lot, I'm glad to have the opportunity to pass it on and help other interested artists and therapists prepare to do similar work.

There's still time to register if you are interested in taking the course. And - I'm not sure how to blog about this without making it seem like a shameless plug, but I'm the proud co-author of a chapter in Music Therapy and Trauma. Check it out through Kudos to Kristen Stewart for editing the book and many thanks to Maria Gonsalves who helped us pull our chapter together.

I'm excited that the field of traumatology is expanding to include music therapy (well, all the creative arts therapies.)

Take care -C

Thursday, January 21, 2010

What can I do in Haiti?

Seeing the devastation in Haiti is heartbreaking. It brings to mind the tremendous loss that the trauma of a natural disaster brings. In response to a local organization recruiting artists and arts therapists I'm considering going in about six weeks to work with children as they begin to process the loss and trauma they have experienced. It is a mixed blessing for me to have direct experience in traumatology and I hope that I can help prepare other therapists for this work using my own experience and research into music therapy in the post-disaster environment.

Check out BuildaBridge International: Visit Artists on Call: International at: They are particularly interested in those who speak French or Creole. I'll post more soon, I promise.

Friday, September 25, 2009

planning the next trip

So, Honduras didn't work out this summer because of the political situation happening there. It's frutrating because I strongly empathize with the kids and the parents and the teachers I've gotten to know over the years and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm currently looking to plan the next trip, probably over the summer of 2010. Where am I going? Suggestions from readers are always welcome!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I love the fall

Well, I've not been as disciplined as I mean to be about writing this blog, but I was touched to read a comment from a prospective music therapy student and that has motivated me to write a little more. Because of the current political situation in Honduras we decided to postpone this summer's trip. The potential exposure to violence was too great, and when the state department issues a warning, it's important to listen. So, I've invested my energy in preparing for the new season and two new interns who arrive for orientation in about an hour. I am always excited to learn from them and hear their ideas as well as teaching and mentoring them through the exciting transformation from student to professional. Perhaps someday I will be able to include an international experience in the internship. (you may send in your donations at any time :) )

I think I have always admired the Jewish religion for celebrating the new year in the fall. I wholeheartedly embrace the season as a time for renewal and a fresh start. I am however, not looking forward to getting stuck in traffic behind school busses again.

Have a great day!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Closure, again.

It's that time of year again. . . time to say goodbye to some clients for the summer, time to say goodbye to interns moving on to bigger and better things and time to say goodbye to the comfortable routine I jumped back into when I returned from Ghana. While I welcome some changes, I'm always stunned at just how much I depend on predictability. I'd like to think I'm a person who can be ultra-flexibile and ready for any adventure, but the older I get the more OCD I become! I think it's time to travel again! I'm much more comfortable going with the flow when almost nothing is under my control and I have the freedom to just react instead of planning every day. So - I booked myself a ticket to Bermuda to visit a friend and am working on another trip to Michigan later in the summer before I go to Honduras. If only I could find a traveling music therapy position . . .

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Like a pebble in a still pond

. . . the effects of my time in Ghana still continue to expand like ripples. I have a visceral reaction when I see water being wasted. I remember how it was a luxury to have enough water to shower, knowing that I would spend my day with people who didn't. I have spent a lot of time processing what I saw and did and I know that this isn't the last time I will travel somewhere that will challenge my sense of what I need. I keep coming back to St. Francis of Assisi, which surprises me, not being Catholic and never spending time studying the saints. But I found a great quote which says, "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching." I haven't used this blog lately because I figured your interest was in my trip and now that the trip is over, there wasn't much more I had to say. But I do enjoy having a place to reflect on my experience, and I would be a fool if I thought my return to the US was the end of this adventure. I'm hoping to raise enough money by producing a High Life concert that the center will be able to move into a new building. I think it's important that it comes from folks in Ghana, to also help educate thoses citizens about the children with Autism living in their own communities. So - say a prayer that this project can get off the ground and I'll keep you updated on the progess. Oh - and by the way, I'm heading back to Honduras in August. Lots to write about there as well when I get back to seeing children I've gotten to know over the years and staying with our friends who have become like family. I guess I should consider changing the title of my blog . . . any suggestions?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Finally figured out how to post pictures and video

After not really having the time or the technology available, I have finally posted some pictures and video of the center and the children. I do have permission to use their images. I added some on previous posts as well if you care to revisit them.

Top left is Y. looking at the camera - hooray for eye contact and then him swinging on the playground. Top right are drums for sale, hand carved with goat skin heads. Very nice!