In the fall of 2013, students from the Multicultural Music Program at Morgantown Learning Academy (MLA) in West Virginia, led by their teacher Jen-Osha Buysse, reached halfway around the world to our students in the Udayapur Music Program in Tintale Village, Nepal. The Nepali children were thrilled to receive a hearty “Namaste” from their new American friends through the letters, pictures and songs that they sent. The Tintale kids responded through art, proudly presenting their school by drawing pictures of it to send back to the kids in West Virginia.

The beautiful connection between Morgantown and Tintale Village continues in 2014 as the MLA students in America have sent their own artwork and homemade prayer flags to the students in Nepal. The MLA kids also have a new surprise: a recording of their version of Matisyahu’s “One Day” to share. In their recording, they translated the chorus into the languages represented in their class: Spanish, English, Hungarian, Russian, Hebrew and Arabic!

The students at MLA are very proud to be the first school called a Playing For Change Sister School. Pictures of their Nepali friends hang in the Multicultural Music room at their school. They are hard at work on their next set of letters and photographs, as well as organizing their own Playing For Change concert.

Below: MLA recording “One Day” in new shirts from Playing For Change! The signs show the different languages represented in their class.

Right: Posing in their new shirts after finishing the recording.

The simple acts of sharing images, songs and drawings of their own cultures, and seeing examples from another culture, have made a tremendous impact on these young lives. Differences are celebrated and communication is fostered by the simple act of saying “Hello” and “Namaste.” We are grateful to the students of Morgantown and Tintale for showing us that through creative expression anything is possible.

Jen-Osh Buysse and Thea Karki