This summer I have had the immense pleasure and opportunity to spend two months in an impoverished area (Collique) in the outskirts of Lima, Peru. I have served alongside the people of Peru through an organization called Operation San Andres (OSA). This organization has created an after-school/additional stimulation program for children in this area that also involves their families in various activities. OSA also takes part in biannual medical campaigns and several public health projects throughout Collique. Through working with the OSA children, families and the organization’s projects, I have experienced how showing and receiving love from others will create wonderful and intimate friendships, regardless of language and cultural differences. And isn’t this the same kind of friendship that binds us together? As members of Tau Beta Sigma, we are challenged to show love but also be willing to receive love from other members of this organization. This is something that I would challenge all of you to be aware of as we approach marching season and a new school year. How can you show love to others who might come from different backgrounds and experiences? And how can you open your heart to receive sisterly love?
Another one of the many things I have learned during my time in Peru is the beautiful ability of music to transcend lingual and cultural barriers. Music has the ability to connect people across continents and centuries. During my time that I have worked with the children and staff at OSA, some of my fondest memories are centered around music. For their special birthday celebration, the children and I enjoyed dancing and singing together. I will not forget the joy on their faces nor their deep-bellied laughter as I encouraged them to leap and spin to the music. I’ve learned Spanish Christian praise music and listened to traditional Peruvian songs, connecting me to a culture I had never experienced. Additionally, I was able to share part of my story by having my Peruvian friends listen to a French horn piece I played in high school. Even though I am not fluent in Spanish, I can express myself through music and what a wonderful gift and blessing that is! As makers and lovers of music, we have been given a wonderful opportunity to express the joy of the soul without words and, in some instances, in ways that could never be expressed through spoken language.
So here we are, sisters of Tau Beta Sigma, at the end of my reflection. Let us not forget the power of music and most importantly the power of genuine, unconditional love to connect us to people we never imagined possible.