WH Chronicle No. 1.41

June 17, 2011

I think about you all a lot. Sometimes I marvel at the beautiful skies and the huge moons and I wonder if you witness the same cosmic sensations on the other side of the world.   East Africa experienced a full lunar eclipse last Wednesday night.  We heard about it the next morning.   

Regarding sensations: I had VIOLENT diarrhea last week.   To borrow Dave Barry’s description, “the toilet needed a seatbelt “….and “NASA should have been notified for liftoff”.   I had just finished a recording session and barely made it to a safe zone before the explosion.  36 hours in bed.  And, since anything but snot is a symptom of malaria, I requested Tom to perform a home malaria test.  Now Tom is not a scientist, nor does he play one on TV, so he had to perform the test three times;  Three Bears style.   Ow!!  Not enough blood... OW!! Too much blood.... OWW!!!..just right.  It was negative and I'm back to normal.  This is the only sickness that I've had while being here; but  I can't help but wonder what rare tropical malady I would have contracted had I stayed home.

The students discovered that I was sick and made pilgrimages to our house.   They recited the advice we often give them, “drink plenty of fluids like water and juice”.  Then one student apologetically says, “I would buy you some juice, if I had any money.”    He can't even afford one $0.75 meal a day. 

Baldy found his way in through an open door to see me while sick.   He clucked in a sympathetic way, pecked the crap out of my hand and then proceeded to have hot and heavy chicken sex with a towel lying on the floor.   When he finished, he fluffed his feathers and proudly marched out, Tom shook his head and said, “That chicken ain’t right.” 

Apparently the wild dogs think this about Baldy, too.    We left the chicken coop door open and all the residents were devoured except for Baldy; the retarded chicken.   Perhaps he tried to mate with the dog and it ran off in self defense.    Since this event, Baldy has been attacking Sam and Daryl, so we decided to re-home him before he creates any mutant offspring.  His new caretakers promised not to make masala out of him, then laughed. 

A fellow Fulbrighter, studying chameleons in northeast Tanzania, ventured through our territory and bunked up at our house.   The kids still talk about the amazing nighttime adventure they had with him through the swamps of Makumira looking for creepy, crawly, scaly things to photograph.  When they arrived home 3 hours later they had a long list of creatures (genus, species) they encountered.  It was at least 2 years worth of biology all crammed into an exciting herpetological stroll. 
Photo from our cool science guy, Phillip Shirk.

Takes a special person to hide out in the wilderness and photograph these critters like supermodels. 

We put Gary on a plane home to settle his affairs before returning in September.   

So currently, no guests, no chickens, and only one cat….Daryl and Sam better mind their manners.

More seriously, our previous guests communicate to us often about how much they enjoyed Tanzania, the beauty of its culture, and how visiting here has changed their world view.  Of course, it is also an honor for us to show off our University life and introduce our friends to all the talented Tanzanian musicians.   

Speaking of talent: footage of the Collaborative Concert is now posted on a simple website for everyone to sample our efforts.   There are photos and audio files from this live concert. 
 Here’s the site:  

And if you remember my comment about emergency vehicles—well, I stand corrected.  You can clearly hear sirens during one piece, perhaps it is as Ian always warns me, “the intonation police are on their way.”

“People are very busy working in America.  Life is programmed.  There are no tea breaks.”  from a Tanzanian music student currently pursuing graduate work in the U.S. 

“I’m so poor I can’t even pay attention.” Ron Kittle, 1987

Hide not your talents. They for use were made. What's a sundial in the shade?” Benjamin Franklin

Shopping for soft toilet paper,


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