WH Chronicle No. 1.19

Nov 20, 2010
The beautiful flowers, the tents, the music, the dancing, and all the finely dressed people of today’s graduation ceremonies are now delegated to a mere memory (well except for those Youtube clips).  We graduated, congratulated, orated, and celebrated for 5.5 hours.  The music department shares a sigh of relief after providing all the entertainment and technical support.   

“Entertainment?” you ask?  We sang, we danced, we drummed, we led the parade, we provided hymns, anthems, fanfares, and anything else dictated by the person holding the microphone. All of that without the aid of a French horn or bassoon!

Tom leading the brass processional. 

African Drumming--Call to Ceremony

That's in front of 2000 people. 

 I sigh with wonder as I observe the students here.   This week one music student’s brother passed away.   His roommate announced this sad news in class, at which point each of the students emptied their pockets of any spare change.  For most of them that meant forgoing lunch and dinner, and they don’t even eat breakfast.  I bring bananas to class as often as possible.  It’s not unusual for a student to go several days without food because funds are so tight.   

The students here also speak to me about the problems of Tanzania.  They desperately want to be part of what they refer to as “the global village”.  They worry about being seen as ‘backwards’ or as ‘living museum’.   They are passionate about music and education.  When they speak in such a heartfelt way about these issues, I respond that I can only point the way or spark the ideas, but the true change will rely on them.  They know and comment that ‘knowledge is power’, but I offer the gentle reminder that ‘with that power comes responsibility’ (I heard that line in a Spiderman movie once).  Perhaps that will help them be part of the solution they desire—as I have few answers, but plenty of encouragement.

Daryl was a big help today during graduation.  She was our official runner and videographer, but unfortunately she enthusiastically engaged the dirt with both of these ventures.  Her videos include more feet than faces, and her poor little hamburgered knees now harbor tiny Tanzanian pebbles.   Bandaids and Neosporin! 

Sam spent all 5.5 hours stomping termites and playing Uno with some local kids.  No common language needed for Uno.

Both kids are doing well with homeschool.  It offers a lot of freedom and they work diligently to conquer their tasks each day before launching into play time. 

We’re driving 10 hours to Dar es Salaam tomorrow in our new car.   Driving is such a seriously scary thing—but riding in a bus is not any safer.  It just helps to remind yourself that you’re not cosmically entitled to life and limb, or to that of those you love.  It’s all a gift to be cherished during the brief time it is available.  Then you take a deep breath, stomp the accelerator and ‘keepey lefty’. 

  The kids are staying in Arusha and are looking forward to their slumber party. 

Available for parties and Bar mitzvahs (not too many of those here),

He loves the rear view mirror and frequently tries to rip it off.  

dragonbec  – (November 22, 2010 at 1:53 PM)  

I haven't been commenting too much, but I want you guys to know I LOVE this blog! It is an incredible glimpse into a culture and society so very different from our own. Daris you do such a wonderful job of capturing the feelings and realities of the things around you. I actually had comments on some of the past subjects I will go back to when I get a chance.

I hope you guys are all doing well.

--Becky Hall

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