Last October, Carol Puchalski acquired two Freenotes Amadindas to travel on a journey back to their original motherland in Uganda. Carol is a Developmental Psychology Consultant at Anchor Center for blind children in Denver, Colorado. She was asked to work with the children at Martin Nkoyoyo Inclusive School in Mukono, Uganda by the founder of the school and retired Archbishop, Livingstone Nkoyoyo.Martin Nykoyoyo Inclusive School is supported in part by Friends of the Chain foundation (chainfoundation.org), a Christian organization with aspirations to provide a healthy environment for children The Foundation also has an office located in Denver.
Carol said, I had seen some Freenotes instruments in an outdoor park near Denver– small sized and made out of light weight material — I knew they could easily be transported.
Out of all the possible instruments, Carol chose two of our Amadindas which are native to Ugandan culture. These percussion instruments contain musical bars made of tropical hardwood, Ipe and Purpleheart.
After purchasing the set of these unique instruments, the Amadindas were repackaged to fit travel size requirements, and then flown Mukono. Fortunately the instruments survived the trip without any damage.
When we first got there, we had them in different places around Livingstones house. It was so fun to hear the instruments played while in another room, not knowing who had walked by and picked up the mallets to try them, said Carol.
The school consists of 289 children, ranging from 5-16 years old. Almost 100 of them are orphaned and live at the school, and out of those, 38 are blind. According to Carol, several of children already know how to play the instruments fairly well as a result of hearing them being played while they were growing up.
ìWe didn’t have a long enough stay to see what is going to happen with the children and the instruments long term, however while we were there the level of excitement was intense and they were so happy. Carol said, The instruments were really familiar to them, and you could tell they were having a lot of fun.
Every musical instrument in Uganda plays an important role in their society: they have a huge impact in reinforcing their spiritual, social and cultural heritage. Carol explained, Music is not only a Part of their daily life, but it is important for building a community in the school. I believe having more than just the use of their voices, that having actual instruments to play will really enhance their music.