Composite Acoustics and Raincatchers Bring Guitars to Haiti

by Acoustic Nation
Posted Jun 16, 2014 at 7:58pm

When Chad Dohring went to his gig that night, he had no idea that his chance meeting with Bob Keesee would change his life.

For the better, and in a very deep way!

Chad, a guitarist in the Detroit metro area, explains, “I was in a bar playing, trying to make a living, and in walked this 6 foot kind of hippy looking guy and he said ‘Hey, would you like to play a benefit for my non-profit.’ And of course I was looking for a free meal, so I said sure!”

That non-profit was Raincatchers, an organization dedicated to healing communities in Haiti by providing clean water using affordable and sustainable solutions.

What does that mean in real terms? Raincatchers teaches members of local communities in towns like Seguin, Haiti, to collect rainwater and provide fresh, clean water on a daily basis.

This is something that most of us take for granted, but it is a real issue for over one billion people throughout the world.

Chad experienced this first hand when he accompanied Bob to Haiti several years ago. Chad shares, “Bob said to me, ‘You have to come see the difference between a country where there’s hope and a country where there is no hope.’ I’m not a crazy emotional guy, but I was broken by what I saw there. Port a Prince is absolutely hell on earth. It’s hot. It just stinks. It’s terrible.”

After a long drive, Chad and members of Raincatchers arrived at Seguin. There he discovered that currently girls in the village walked 2 ½ hours each way, every day up a mountain in order to bring back five gallon buckets of water from a watering hole that he says, “I wouldn’t even let my dog drink out of! That’s five hours a day just getting water. It grabbed my heart.”

He continues, “What Raincatchers does is just build a glorified gutter system that catches rainwater. It only costs about $200 to create. We’ve since built a clinic, a school and a church there, too.”

How does music fit into this story? Being an avid guitar player, Chad brought his guitar with him. And he made an amazing discovery. Many of the residents in Haiti had never seen or heard a guitar before! He shares, “The climate is just so humid in the area, that guitars simply literally fall apart. They just burst apart. The longest I’ve had a guitar be able to last there has been a month.”

But the townspeople and especially the children were amazed and delighted by the instrument, and so Chad set about finding a way to secure an instrument that could withstand the elements. Enter Composite Acoustics.

“We play music with the kids there. They have a natural born rhythm. I thought, there’s got to be a way for us to get this to them. I started searching for a solution and I came across Composite Acoustics. I wrote to the company and they said, yes, we have the guitar for you.”

Watch a video Chad made about his amazing experience here:

Composite Acoustic guitars are made of carbon fiber. Their bodies are built in one solid piece and they are impervious to the elements. Their necks never need adjusting. Ever. Yet they sound and feel simply gorgeous. Composite Acoustics’ unique production process combines extensive hand-crafting with cutting edge technology such as CAD design and CNC machining, resulting in an innovative, consistent, brilliant-sounding and highly durable guitar.

Chad got his hands on a Composite Acoustics Cargo guitar, and started teaching music at the new school in the village. “The hope that is filled on their faces when they play and sing and make music is amazing. Music brings hope. It really does.”

In addition to the lessons that Chad oversees, the Composite Acoustics Cargo guitar is left there for students to use on a regular basis. “It is unscathed. It has made a huge impact!”

So what’s next? “I sponsor kids in the village, and it’s made a huge difference. And we’ve gotten them many other sponsors. We have 15 kids now going to school to be doctors, lawyers, and pastors. The change we’ve seen happen has been so profound.”

Find out more about Composite Acoustics at www.compositeacoustics.com, and learn more about Raincatchers at www.raincatchers.org, where you can sponsor a child or donate to the cause.