“Thank you for helping me believe that noise can be turned into a melody” is what I could read from the sofa in the living room written on the wall of a residential house for children in my hometown.
I need to give you some context, I know. Residential houses are centers for Peruvian children and teenagers found unprotected or in high risk due to domestic battery, psychological abuse or other serious circumstances. And this year we celebrate the 25 years this center has been fighting against violence.
A group of volunteers from South Dakota (USA) invited me to be part of their program in June this year to draft a project. The aim is to create a program that provides tools like music as a means to contribute to children’s comprehensive development. We will be meeting again in 2023.
But why am I writing you today? The director of this center is my aunt. In my last day during this visit, she and my cousin told me how proud they were of who I have become. I, however, do not take any pride in it. I just told them I finally understood why I like this shelter.
I said I put classical music to study or work, to accompany me during a bus ride or to keep my focus when I run. And I run and swim. I am actively involved in sports.
When I read the phrase in the wall, when my legs are numb during a run, when I can hear the moves of my arms against the water in the pool and see the air bubbles surface, when I want to throw my guts out of my mouth when I work out, then I remember.
What I remember is what I tell my aunt: “this place has taught me, it has reminded me through the arms of these little children that I have been there too.”
I played volleyball, I sang, I danced, I cleaned, I had lunch with them, I laughed with them. I hugged them. They hugged me. I learnt from them -like Alicia Keys wrote- that it started as a whisper that turned into a scream, but it has made a beautiful noise and now I have a voice.
I have a voice.