Carla Van Dusen Bluntschli was born in Philadelphia in 1953. She studied violin and viola at a music conservatory in Philadelphia from 1971-1975. Married in 1976 to Ron Bluntschli, they moved nine years later with 3 young daughters, to Haiti, where they served as volunteers with the Mennonite Central Committee, a development organization from 1985-1993. Ron worked with community fascilitators in reforestation and community development and Carla learned through cultivating friendships, about the culture and language and homeschooled the children for part of the time.
From 1992 to 2009 Carla co-founded a not-for-profit organization that hosted visiting short-term groups and long-term volunteers in cultural and historical experiences based in Port-au-Prince that included learning tours to all corners of Haiti during the 17 years this organization existed. At the time during very intense political times, the work was founded on playing the role as a living bridge for visitors to Haiti, especially those envisioning peace and justice by providing cultural and historical (re)orientations, Creole language instruction and cultural immersion programs for diverse groups such as universities, churches or individuals. Translation and “fixing” for foreign researchers, international media companies and documentary producers such as NPR, CBC and BBC was also a part of the work.
In 2000, she co-founded the not-for-profit N a Sonje (“We Will Remember”) Foundation. In 2009 when the original not-for-profit, folded for personal reasons, 17 years of experience and expertise working with visiting groups transferred automatically to the foundation where she continues the same work with an expanded staff (9 local young men and women who are organized under the name MJRAV, translated meaning “Youth Movement for Relationships between Ayiti and Visitors” and AFSAKA, translated meaning “Association of Women in Solidarity for the Advancement of the Haitian Culture”).
Carla was also a radio personality (along with her husband and 2 other associates) on the “Chimen Memwa” radio show for a year and a half (Aug 2003-Dec 2004) on a Port-au-Prince radio station “Planet Kreyòl” (106.5 fm) that involved historical research on European, American, Haitian, African, Native American and early church history that was intertwined with culturally and subject appropriate music. The show included a moment for paying hommage to the country and people by sharing true stories of heroism and Carla made a weekly short presentation of an oral translation of Christopher Columbus’s 1492 journal of that historic yet disastrous crossing in Creole.
Since 2004 Carla has been a violinist/vocalist with the “2 Rasin” music group whose name implies the combination of American finger-picking guitar style, led by her husband with her classical violin sound performing original Haitian music by lead vocalist, guitarist and composer Mona Augustin together with bassist “Najee” and percussionist “Welele”. In October 2010 Mona’s song “Fanm” performed by the group won first place in a song competition on the theme of violence against women sponsored by the UN radio station in Port-au-Prince.