WH Chronicle No. 12.3

Aug 10, 2012

 ("Huh?" You say.  Keep reading and you'll still have no idea.)

Welcome back!  After a long, dark, hiatus, your Whaleherdienda correspondent is finally able to construct run-on sentences without spewing anti-consumerism vitriol; but still happily reports with surprisingly little objectivity.   

While we were away the world kept turning so the following is a synopsis to bring you up to date. 

In order of increasing interest:
1.     Daryl had to trim her toenails a few weeks ago.  They were getting a bit too long and starting to poke through her socks (We’re starting at the bottom of the 'interest barrel' in order to lower your expectations). 

1.5  Jamilly is doing great.  She has decided that boys are a waste of time.  She reports that girls are better and more likely to be sober at 20 years of age.
2.     Both kids are now Camp Veterans.  Despite daily letters to us claiming severe homesickness, they report having had a great time especially after facing the boredom of home.
Daryl (with busted lip) and Sam at Brother/Sister Picnic

3.     Our friend Gary is home from teaching in Tanzania and brought a little kitty stowaway.  His blog is another beautiful view of Makumira and the music world we enjoyed. 
Gary's Tanzanian Kitty acculturating with his American Kitty

4.     Our friend Jacque and her family will be leaving in September to teach at Makumira.  Randy and crew are looking forward to having them.  I’m sure they’ll have a great time.

5.     We sent our beautiful Norwegian Princess back to the Viking Motherland.  We miss her.  She kept a lovely blog while she was here with us.  You can find it at:  Hilde's Blog 
Hilde swimming in the sunshine.

6.     New members to the clan:
a.     “Broke Beak” Louise
Louise, the broke-beak chicken, urr, I mean, cockatiel taking a bath in the fish tank.

b.     Posey the Pooch
We missed the kids so much while they were at camp that we got a dog.  True.
Posey--there's nothing unusual about her, yet.  She's just cute.

7.     We’ll be searching for a new place to hang our hat.  We’ve been back in our house long enough for the shower curtain to get moldy so it is time to move on to a new domicile.  Lord only knows where we’ll end up, but it will probably be closer to you than Tanzania (unless your last name is Stubbs).
A house is where you hang your hat and it is time for the next hat rack!

8.     Speaking of Tanzania, our new family member has arrived!!

Someone should rescue this poor man from our evil clutches!

Meet Kaghondi (Ka-goan-dee).  He is a graduate of Makumira University and has been accepted to The University of Texas’ Butler School of Music in the Music and Human Learning Master’s Program (cue:  ooooohhhh, aaahhh).   The program is two years long and will insure him a faculty position at Makumira University Music Department upon his return with a master's degree. 

Needless to say, he is up against a steep learning curve on American culture shock.  While driving to the airport Tom and I were looking through our ‘African eyes’ wondering what it will be like for him.   I kept questioning what bits of advice to offer.  Seriously, where do you start and how far do you go?  We’ll all live if there are elbows on the table while eating, but what about wearing a hoodie at night while walking down the street?  Or explaining not to follow too closely behind a nervous white lady?  And who's going to disclose the N-word?  And then there's high fructose corn syrup.  Oy, good thing we have two years to iron this out.  

Driving home from the airport Kaghondi points out the car window to the miles of consumerville along the interstate highway.  We happened to be passing a Home Depot and 20 of its closest box-store friends.  “Is that a government building?” he asks.  
“Nope, just a place where we buy things.”   I stopped there, as you all can imagine how hard that was for me. 

We offered him a wristwatch as a welcome gift.   I also refrained from diatribing about how often schedules and deadlines take priority over people and situations.

We ate at a Mamacitas on the way home.  They brought out his plate of carne guisada  and he asks, “Is all of this for one person?”   Of course, this is after the shock of free chips, salsa and tortillas.  He was full before his plate arrived, so imagine his concern when we requested a 'doggie bag'. 

Of course, Americans are extremely friendly even though very busy and distracted.   I just hope Kaghondi sees the truths and detects the distortions.   Money, technology, spray tans, and dog sweaters are only tools and not solutions.  But just to make sure, we've already taken him to  Target, Taco Cabana and Dave and Buster's Video Arcade within his first 24 hours.  We have earmarked Six Flags Theme Park and Costco for the next 24. 

How do these cultural differences affect someone?  We will all watch from the other side of the mirror this time.  

"I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed.  I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible.  But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any."  Mahatma Gandhi

"But in the Kalahari, it's always Tuesday, or Thursday if you like, or Sunday. No clocks or calendars tell you to do this or that."  Gods Must Be Crazy, 1980

"So, what games do ya'll play in Africa?  Chase the Monkey?"  Coming to America, 1988

Until my calendar says we meet again,


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