Deysi has been part of the music therapy program “Musicamento” from the beginning. She works as a hairdresser and make-up artist, but besides making a living she always finds time to assist “Musicamento”. You will never see her without a big smile on her face; she loves using her happiness to animate groups. Together with Bladys, she runs the “Nurtac” group, which works with people with special needs. She gets her motivation from the participants of the group – in her own words: “It fills me with joy to know that they feel good.” Her aim is to gain more knowledge about therapies in order to expand the project and bring joy to more people.
Like Deysi, Bladys has been part of the project from the beginning. A kindergarten teacher in real life, Bladys loves working with children. She says, “I never thought that I would be able to help people with special needs in the community. We give them a space in which they can develop – and in return, they show me what life is really all about.”
For the spiritually-minded Bladys, “Musicamento” is both a welcome distraction from her everyday work and a way to support her community by bringing them joy. Bladys loves using educational music to teach the children new songs or instruments.
Like the others, Aurora (the good soul of the team) has been participating in the project from the beginning. Being very religious, she has kept herself busy volunteering for the community, especially in church. She considers herself lucky to have found “Musicamento”: “I thank God and the movement “Mi Cometa”; they have supported me a lot and now, I can help them in return. This makes me happy and I feel personally enriched and needed in my community.”
Aurora always has an open ear, offering consolation to those who need it. In groups, she likes to speak blessings.
Marjorie is the heart and soul of the team and the driving force behind the project. Without her, “Musicamento” would just not be the same! She ensures that the project never loses momentum, not even in the rainy season. Most importantly, she keeps everybody informed. When she sees an opportunity for music therapy to have a positive impact on someone’s life, she takes the other women to visit the affected families/people (welches dir besser passt) and offers help.
For decades, Marjorie has been an active member of “Mi Cometa” and head of the health department Furthermore, she has attended advanced training sessions in psychology and communication.
According to Marjorie, “The project is groundbreaking and original; it gives people with special needs room to be themselves and to be a part of something, to create things. I learn from every one of them and their families; together, we face the challenges that life throws at us.”
Lena Klein is the founder of the “Musicamento”. She had actually never planned to run a project like this, so “Musicamento” came into being more or less by coincidence. Lena first came to Ecuador and the Guasmo in 2015 with “Musicians without Borders” and instantly fell in love with the country – so much so that, after finishing her thesis, she decided to visit again. Casually, she told an Ecuadorian friend that apart from being a musician, she is also a music therapist. Following this, he took her to see a twelve-year-old girl who, due to great psychological stress, couldn’t speak or walk anymore. Lena introduced the girl to music therapy and slowly, the girl started to regain her abilities. Today (three years later), she is a teenager, no different from others her age. The story of the girl’s successful healing process awakened the interest of some of the women in the community. They wondered what Lena actually did to help the girl recover. And so “Musicamento” had found its beginnings – without a room, without instruments, without any funding. Since then, Lena has been working systematically to make the project the success it is today.
Having recently finished her studies, Barbara found her way to Ecuador through an email sent by Lena, in which she looked for volunteers to support the project. She arrived in 2016 as a stranger to Ecuadorian culture and saw time and time again that because of the major cultural differences between Germany and South America, German music therapy methods were not necessarily suited to an Ecuadorian context. After a lot of thought, Lena and Barbara started to work on a concept which would adapt music therapy methods to Latin culture. For Barbara, working in the Guasmo was a challenge, but she is very happy to have been there: “I learned to adapt my therapy methods to my individual clients rather than insisting on doing everything by the book. Integrating music therapy into a culture that is different from my own has allowed me to appreciate the many different facets of music therapy away from the context of university.”
Vanessa heard about the project in 2016 and was excited about it immediately. She contacted Lena and told her so, then quickly decided to take three weeks off and visit the project herself. When there, she helped where she could, observing Lena’s therapy sessions as well as delivering her own. Since then, Vanessa has returned to the Guasmo twice, each time with a suitcase filled with instruments. She has also found her own way to support the project from a distance by raising funds. She says, “As much as life and experiences differ between Germany and Ecuador: music touches our hearts and lets us feel. These feelings make no difference between big and small, the rich and the poor.”