WH Chronicle No. 1.46

August 21, 2011

We’re back!  Many of you have already seen us in Austin, but until now I haven’t been awake or lucid enough to create even a marginally coherent Chronicle.

Since our last chat from the heart of Tanzania, I’ve returned from an exquisite adventure while Tom and the kids have arrived safely home from Bear Valley, CA.
From our field reporter (or the man out standing in his field), Tom:

“The kids proved to be travel veterans enduring the 36 hour trip from Africa to Albuquerque. Daryl only threatened to get sick once when we were landing in Washington because she forgot to go to the bathroom on the 8 hour plane ride. Santa Fe was the perfect landing zone to reacclimatize to the United States.  Lots of love from Grandma and family, good Mexican food and comfortable beds in which to sleep made our reentry most pleasant.  Following this was a warm embrace from friends in Stockton, California, and then the Bear Valley Music Festival.  Playing in the festival reminded me about my questionable career choice and how difficult it can be—especially after a year off.  Getting back into shape for Shostakovich 5 was not an easy endeavor.   Luckily, a few Giant Burgers and hikes through the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains made everything worthwhile.“
Kinney Lakes

Rope Swing

Sam's back with his girlfriend.

Meet the competition for 'said' girlfriend.

 Back to Daris in the studio:

I missed Tom and the kids after we separated in July, but had a phenomenal adventure across Tanzania.  Even though I had been living in Tanzania for 10 months, I finally stepped out of our American bubble and experienced real Africa; first evident by the fact that I lived mostly without running water and electricity for the better part of a month.  I ate things that I didn’t know were edible and swam in places I didn’t know were infested with crocodiles.   But undeniably, it was an inspired voyage as our trip unfolded in an incredibly divine manner.  My travel partners and I witnessed so much on this pilgrimage that I’ll be chronicling the whole event in installments over the next few weeks.  Here are a few teasers pictures:
Simba Rock in Dodoma


Lake Tanganika

 The only small one that wasn't scared of my white skin.

Back stage before a performance of Wagogo traditional dance.

The caterers have arrived. 

Yes, it's true--no joke and a worthy cause.

Food court outside of the train.  The train was established in 1919 by the Germans and appears to not have been updated since that time.

Only half full at this point.  
Beautiful sunsets in western Tanzania. 

Tom trots around the house unpacking suitcases while whistling a little tune or humming a cheerful melody.  I receive random unexplained hugs and answer him with a mild grunt.  Tom drinks tap water for the fun of it and is in constant search of uninterrupted football. 
Me…well…it’s not such a pretty picture, as most of you readers (dear friends and loved ones) can imagine.  Tom spoke frequently of dreading my company upon reentry; and many of you even expressed concern over whether or not I’d even be on the homebound plane.  Then, of course, all are curious about how I’d fare while adjusting to our Americanisms again.   

Well, after all that traveling, my first groggy thought each morning is still about which village I’m awakening in--then I realize I’m at home (it was the lack of termites that gave it away), heave a big sigh, roll over, and try to dream about the mud hut where I’d rather be.  Most of the day, I’m either teary or hostile.  Maybe these are the predictable stages of grief; because leaving my post at Makumira was as fun as a funeral. Leaving those people, their passions, their extreme dedication and our combined sense of purpose makes my face shrivel up in not a pretty way.   Try to imagine being so passionate about your mission that payment (salary) is irrelevant and raising funds to continue your work is warmly embraced.  Communal endeavors and this altruistic sense of purpose are definitely not common American fare.

But now that I’m home, I sigh a lot and sniff sometimes.  Then I get pissed off about living in a consumer orgy.  It’s obscene really—and I doubt anyone would disagree with me.  Even myself, I think I’ve already been to Target twice in only 4 days of being home.  I want to respond, “Don’t mind me—I’m bored and I’m going to go masturbate with a credit card.”
I just feel shame for our country. We fight for our rights and ignore our obligations. The only consolation is that 2/3 of the world’s population doesn’t understand or know how pitifully we behave with our disposable income (something unfathomable to them).   Yes, we’ve forgotten about those who are hungry because we are interminably distracted by our own need for new (72” Flat screen HD) TV.     “You deserve it”—or so the advertisement states.   So what do my friends in Tanzania deserve?  To go hungry? 

And for those who will state, “There’s nothing I can do—I’m just one person”
Awake their imaginations.  Some of the most amazing progress in the history of our world was initiated by just one person.  In case they are not that one person—there’s a chance they could be the sponsor to that one person through the child sponsorship programs that are available online.
This is Rose.  She is my sponsored child since 2004.  She loves music and wants to go to University.  Her family lives on less than $1 a day.

And for those shaking their heads saying, “Daris needs to get over this.”
I’d like to suggest that that is the problem with us Americans.  We’ve all fallen asleep on our little island; our bellies are full and are minds are entertained.  We are properly distracted, obedient and complacent. 

So, with that all said, who wants to sit in on my ‘Introduction to Fine Arts’ class this fall?  I’ve been voted most likely to lose my shit at any time with all the entitled, hung-over, and indignant college students.

Driving in Tanzania has liberated me from driving on the right side of the road.  Anyone want to carpool?

Tom has a baby in Tanzania named after him. He wanted me to add that it wasn’t his baby, and that he is very honored by this gesture.   Tom is an amazing guy.  At Makumira he helped with brass ensemble, choir, men’s voice, music theory class, and private tutoring.  The students loved him—as do I.

Hilde (pronounced ‘Hilda’) is here.  She is from Norway and will be with us through May.  She’s a real sweetheart despite being a French horn player.

“You can never get enough of what you don't need to make you happy.”  ~Eric Hoffer

“Be glad that  you're greedy; the national economy would collapse if you weren't.”  ~Mignon McLaughlin,The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966

“The poverty of our century is unlike that of any other.  It is not, as poverty was before, the result of natural scarcity, but of a set of priorities imposed upon the rest of the world by the rich.  Consequently, the modern poor are not pitied... but written off as trash.  The twentieth-century consumer economy has produced the first culture for which a beggar is a reminder of nothing.”  ~John Berger

“The gap in our economy is between what we have and what we think we ought to have - and that is a moral problem, not an economic one.”  ~Paul Heyne

“What do I think of western civilization?  I think would be a very good idea.”  M. Gandhi 

Grumpy about clean, fresh towels,

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