WH Chronicle 1.45

August 2, 2011
Tom and kids are in California.   I’ve spoken with them only once since July 20th, though we've texted frequently.  Right before they left, we teased Tom about waiting at the airport days in advance of their flight.   Regardless of how early they arrived before their departure, they landed safely and happily in the U.S. with little hassles.  Sam shed a few tears over missing his buddy, Nathan.   When I asked Daryl, “Do you miss anything in Africa?”  She replied, “You!” and began crying.  But now they are surrounded with American comforts, friends, and families.
As for me, I’m missing them, too.    It will be wonderful to hug on them, again. 

I’m currently doing everything there is to do in Dodoma; including having a great time with Ed and Debra.   This is the last night before I step off into my deep country travels.  And, possibly the last Chronicle from Africa, as I’m not too sure about future access to items like running water, electricity, or even necessities like internet.  Toilet paper is a luxury long forgotten.

While writing the last Chronicle before our Makumira tour departure, I couldn’t have imagined the amazing experiences to be shared by our musicians.  We performed 8 concerts in 5 days—all with incredible receptions and responses.  We enjoyed ‘rock star’ status and I beamed with pride over my students and fellow colleagues.  Several times, in both Dar es Salaam and Dodoma, people continued to recognize a few of us as the “Makumira musicians”.  We were even asked judge a music competition (already in progress) while we were simply entering the music venue for a soda.   We politely declined the honor by claiming that we had dinner engagements at the U.S. Embassy.   This was actually true, but stating it made us snicker like school children.

My writing ability doesn’t yet offer justice to the experiences I had at Makumira.  I was always surrounded by love and music.  The last few days of the their company provided me with a volatile whirlwind of emotions.  Extreme happiness and joy laced with the bitterness of a looming goodbye.   All I could think was ‘had it not been so good, it wouldn’t be so painful’.   When it was time for their bus to leave me behind,  I waved a sniffley goodbye that quickly began melting into something messier. One of my sweet students pushed me inside the building while compassionately saying, “You don’t need to watch them leave.”  I appreciated it.  All of the students hated to see me cry.  Normally they were always chuckling at my jokes; so to see me in a less than cheerful state really bothered them.  They coached each other on the words to avoid when talking with me because it might trigger an undesired response.  The last night of the tour, two of the ladies even slept in bed with me.  I guess this would be really weird anywhere else in the world, but in Tanzania—it’s what you do.
Shortly after the departure of my Makumira family, my two admirable escorts (music students/ body guards/translators) took me on a bike ride around an artsy village on the coast, then to the beach, and then hired motorcycles to ride through the country to another beautiful beach where we lay in the sand staring at the stars.  It was a nice way to ease the pain.  
Since that time, we’ve been to music festivals, monuments, museums, public schools, universities, concerts, dinners, the national fair, on and on….  Tomorrow we ride a slow train across the country—sometimes this train makes it in a few days, but sometimes it doesn’t.   Either way is fine with me and that’s a good feeling.   My last obligation here is to board a flight to the U.S. on August 16th, just so Tom doesn’t have to come and get me.

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”  ~Albert Einstein

“There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.” ~Mahatma Gandhi

A million miles away from it all,

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