Saturday, October 8, 2011

happy happy days

I just came in the house tonight and said to myself “wow. What an incredible weekend.” It’s official- this place is my home. Yes, ok, I have my homes at home in Georgia and Tennessee too, but I there are days where I just love this place. I wish I had so many photos to share, but alas, these memories remain only in my mind. I’ll try to offer some of the best moments though.

Last Thursday we had our first song writer’s night! We had 7 song writers (including myself) come out and perform for a packed house! Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, although the venue was a bit noisy. Next time we’ll have more microphones, quiet spaces, and hopefully even more songwriters! I performed two songs on guitar/voice, one of which Alison graciously and beautifully accompanied me on violin! We met some great new people through the event as well. Will have photos soon!

Friday morning was an especially memorable day. Each Friday we go to two schools to teach Tanzanian kids drumming, singing, and dance. It’s always SUCH a fulfilling experience and this Friday proved to be just the same. We left in the morning under a grey sheet of rain. When we reached the dirt road that leads us to the first school though, the rain suddenly stopped and there before us was one of the brightest and closest rainbows I’ve yet seen. We were filled with joy to see such an incredible sight, with the clouds moving away and a gold-silver light stretching out across the dimly green hills surrounding us. It was incredible. We arrived at the school and were greeted, as always, with bright smiling faces. We started our lesson with our 9 students and were soon jumping around, dancing, drumming, and singing with joy like we do each Friday morning. I then got the chance to teach them their first lesson on Jazz and music notation! It’s quite an incredible thing for these young kids to already be learning some notation. Of course it will go slowly and steadily, but we are very happy to be teaching them this already. We want to empower them with the knowledge that they can compose and create. Then, after the lesson we had the most delicious chai with a teacher there, Wilson, as we do each week. I leave that place in the happiest of spirits. If I could find a way to just work there for a year I totally would.

Friday night was the first student recital for many of our piano, voice, guitar, and violin students. I was in charge of organizing this first concert but had a lot of great help. We had 38 students perform without problems at all! I was glad to have our first concert all finished.

This week Alison and I started taking dala-dalas (public transport buses) on our own… finally! I even took one (don’t get mad, family) by myself today. Of course, I’m very careful everywhere I go. I’ve been able to navigate to roads a lot easier now and taking daladalas saves us ooooodles of money verus taxis everywhere!

Today was a wonderful day, but a bit sad as well. Our Swahili teacher and very dear friend, Mike, is leaving us to go back to university in Dar Es Salaam. He and I hung out a lot this afternoon and I realized how much I’m going to miss him! At any rate, I’m so glad we got to know him and learn so much from him.

Tonight was particularly special! Our taxi driver and dear friend, Jimmy, invited us his friends’ wedding reception! It was quite a colorful experience. Everything was VERY bubblegum pink and the party included bursting champagne bottles, African acrobats (?!), and an entire (dead) goat on a platter. The goat was a bit shocking to me when they first rolled it out, but I guess I shouldn’t have been all that surprised. What would the Tanzanians think if I had a wedding here and made it all vegetarian?? Haha. Big roasting chunk of tofu on a stake, right? Mmm!!! At the wedding, Jimmy introduced us to two volunteers who he’s hosting at his home! They were such awesome girls, just finished college, from Canada and have just arrived to volunteer for 2 months. I went back to Jimmy’s home with them after the wedding where I finally got to meet Jimmy’s family. Of course they were all incredibly kind, had food and chai ready for us when we arrived. His children are beautiful and SO adorable. I told him my mom was coming to visit in November, arriving on her birthday, and he was so excited and said, “Please can you have her come to our house? We would like to celebrate for her!” He’s such a wonderful person and I can’t wait for him to meet mom!

I’ve arrived home so happy and content. There are days like today when I feel like I could call this place my home for a long time. Oh.. and awesome news is that we leave for Zanzibar in one week!! Beach vacation, here I come!!

Sending lots of love.


  1. Sweetie, so glad the Songwriters' Night went well, sounds as if you are growing musically in unexpected directions! Wonderful that you are able to experience the daily life and occasional ceremonies too. You are very adaptable to have to deal with dead animal carcasses in front of you that well. You will have to some day do similar lovely work in Southern India, where everyone is vegetarian. Love your boundless energy and enthusiasm, and carry some protection with you on the public transport, ok, even if it's only a fork! I'll hope to hear your voice around my birthday on Skype, perhaps next weekend, if that's possible. Love you sweetest, Daddio

  2. Can you imagine a taxi driver here in the U.S. inviting you to a friends reception? That would not be cool, but when in Africa. Yeah, I doubt the tofu on a stick would go over quite so well there. I'm grateful that you are so happy there and if you can find a way to do what you love - DO IT! Proud, proud, proud of you. Love you tons Pod and can't wait to celebrate with Jimmy.