WH Chronicle No. 1.37

May 11, 2011

As we persist in navigating a foreign culture, I notice small changes in our behaviors and perspectives.  I find myself admiring the large, curvy behinds of women (every woman aspires to have a jiggling ‘watermelon’ butt) or even frequently holding on to someone’s hand in order to impart a kind word or show affection.   Daryl and Sam speak Swahili to the other kids and use Tanzanian gestures.   Tom now drives just as maniacally as any resident.  We’re all going to be slightly different when we return, and I’m not just talking about the smell. 

In the west, Sunshine represents ‘hope’ to our culture; but it’s really ‘the rains’ that embody this feeling in Africa.   Well, we’ve had a whole lotta hope lately.   Night after night of a constant drizzle interspersed with heavy downpours.  The weather is cooling down and we’re donning long sleeve shirts and sweaters.

Termites don’t like the rain—they migrate by growing wings, lighting in tasty new locations, shedding their wings, and then beginning their destruction—take for instance, our house.   In just two days they annihilated 5 of our ceiling panels leaving nothing but a sagging layer of paint between us and the attic. 


The nighttime downpour was relentless, setting into motion a small chain of unfortunate events:

The small leak in our roof
Caused the attic bucket to overflow
It crashed through the half-eaten ceiling
And termite poop fell like snow.

In my hair and on our bed
Drenching all in the dark of the night;
The electricity also happened to be out
Creating an utter and total blight.

 The kids told me you can eat termite poop
“It tastes like peanut butter!”-- they know.
So, without warm water for a shower
I decided to have breakfast to-go. 

Our house has been wonderfully full this week; full of workers replacing our ceiling, plus our sweet house guests.  The famous ‘Lizzy’ is here with us from Charleston.  We are also hosting a fellow Fulbrighter from Zanzibar who is doing a photo/video project on spirit possession: “Belief in the Invisible”.  To hear her tell the stories and explain her project halts everyone with fascination.    So, our house is normal—full of fantastic people sharing their lives with us. 

The next few weeks are dedicated to the research portion of our mission.   Eleven composers from East Africa have responded to my invitation and taken a stab at writing their music for western wind instruments.   We’ll have a woodwind quintet on campus for a week performing multiple collaborative concerts followed by a tour of the Serengeti.   Our house is beginning to vibrate with all the preparations and excitement. 

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”  ~Author Unknown

“Noah was a brave man to sail in a wooden boat with two termites.” Unknown

Designing a new hair conditioner/breakfast food, "Gee, You Hair Tastes Like Termite Poop",

Sam lost something besides his marbles....
Lizzy and kids.
Susanna's here, too!
Tom's happy to have more family here!
Nathan and Sam with a friend.
Double horned chameleon that Sam spotted.

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