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Miami Dade college professor collecting musical instruments for Nicaraguan kids

A Miami Dade college professor is collecting musical instruments for children living in an impoverished Nicaraguan town.

By Rodolfo Roman
Special to the Herald
While visiting Nicaragua on a voluntary mission in 2009, Carlos Gonzalez Morales, a Miami Dade College Kendall campus English professor, was touched when he heard a school teacher play a folk song on a flute recorder.

“It was moving,” said Morales, who said he was also moved to learn how rare it was for the children to play music themselves.

“After chatting with him, he explained how none of the children had any instruments.”

The experience inspired Morales to collect flute recorders and deliver it to school children in Chacraseca, Nicaragua, where children live in poor conditions.

“I figured getting the recorders to the school would open up another opportunity for expression, one we take for granted here but that is so missing in the schools in the area,” he said.

He will be collecting recorder flutes until Aug. 1.

Morales is a member of Imagination Federation Organization, which is a chapter of Friends of Students for 60,000, a non-profit dedicated to assisting the poor. On Aug. 2, he will be traveling to Nicaragua with 10 others including students and fellow professors. The group will stay until Aug. 16.

Morales will purchase 30 flute recorders, a narrow wind instrument made of wood or plastic, and which may be familiar to the many Miami-Dade public school students who learned to play them during elementary school music class.

Morales hopes many more will be donated. The recorders can be purchased online or at local music shops for as little as $5.

“But if we can take 200 in our bag we would be able to give one to each of the students in the school because they have no instruments,” he said.

The donations will be taken to the Chacraseca school Hermandad de Maryknoll. Chacraseca is a rural village of 8,000 people in the northwest portion of the Central American country. Nicaragua is the second-poorest country in the western hemisphere, according to the U.S. Department of State.

The non-profit organization supports school teachers with salaries, which the monies come from donations. On the trip, visitors will also help fine tune the upcoming school year’s curriculum and work along with teachers. They will also speak to the kids’ families.

The school has over 200 kids in elementary, middle and high school. Laura Barrera, a Miami-Dade College alumnus, will be visiting Nicaragua for the first time.

“I cannot even begin to imagine the excitement of the kids and I’m sure the mere fact that they will be brought a surprise will bring smiles to their faces,” she said.

“No one has a clue that we are taking these recorders,” he said. “We wanted to take something that would elevate the kids spirits. I know that it will bring them a lot of joy to the kids.”

Morales said his dream would be to see the children perform with their new instruments.

“The best would be if we would have a concert of the teacher performing with the students and record it,” he said. “It would be awesome.”

To donate flute recorders call 305-403-9542

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