WH Chronicle No. 1.44

July 17, 2011

We are submitting the last official Chronicle from Makumira University campus in Arusha, Tanzania.  In less than 12 hours, Daris departs for Dar es Salaam to perform with the music department then off touring Tanzania; while Tom and the kids travel to California (via Santa Fe) for the Bear Valley Music Festival.  The family will reunite August 17th in Austin, Texas, at which point you will receive a Chronicle update from the new (old?) headquarters. 

The last few days have been full of farewells and best wishes.  We are constantly stammering for the right words to describe our gratitude.  But even if I have any words—I can barely squeak them out via cracky voice and rhythmic sniffing.  As I continue to type, I jeopardize my computer warranty with water damage.

Dr. Suess says, “Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.”  So I dust off the stoic smile I found in adulthood.  Luckily, I don’t need it often. 
And sometimes I try to convince myself that it really is the best time to depart…before the clock strikes midnight causing me to ride home atop a pumpkin.  

It has been an incredible honor to participate in a program that can produce such a powerful and meaningful change in people and a community; and to work with those who believe so strongly in their purpose that they are willing to forfeit any personal gain for the sake of their mission.   The students still remain an inspiration as their daily sacrifices for education are beyond any westerner’s imagination.   Teaching at Makumira has been an amazing experience. 

As we disband the troops and prepare for demobilization, Tom sums it up in an email to his mother preparing her for their visit:
Just watching the kids lately and figured I should preempt any reentry difficulties. We haven't started ladling the beans onto the floor [aka Steinbeck’s Tortilla Flats], although that would be a logical next step. We are trying to curb their burping and other gaseous discharges, at least at the table. Napkins don't exist here and forks and spoons are always optional. You might think this would be a kid paradise, but a Miss Manners nightmare. We have mentioned that eating without disclosing the contents of one's mouth is preferable, as is waiting to wax poetic while shoving the third spoonful into one's mouth. I'm afraid Andy will want to relegate us to the back porch to eat and your choices of restaurants will downgrade to McDonalds et al.

I have little will to say, “Goodbye”, but rather enthusiasm for “See you later”.   I am anxious to follow or even participate in the continuation of our friends’ life journeys.    Peoples' lives in Tanzania are not pre-programmed as they frequently are in the US.  Every day is “Anything Can Happen Day”, which makes this departure feel distinctly like the end of only a chapter tucked inside a wonderfully epic novel.   

Lastly, we want you all back home to know that you are also a major part of our conflicting emotions as the excitement mounts for coming home and seeing everyone again!  We love you each dearly and hope you are looking forward to the long, creepy, smelly, hugs as much as we are!  I'll probably try to hold your hand while talking to you--just jerk it away if it's weird. 

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.  ~Garrison Keillor

Promise me you'll never forget me because if I thought you would I'd never leave.  ~A.A. Milne

Packing my glass slippers,

 At the Knocker's house for a wonderful time.

Bassoon duets in Tanzania--at the Knocker's house--who'da thunk it?

Ndugu's house for sodas.

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