I. Have. Not. Written. In. a. very.
Why is that? Well, because life is moving so fast and I’m amazed each day as I’m lying in bed and recognize that yet another day has come and passed. Of course I feel like I’ve been back in Tanzania for several months, and yet it’s only been about a month and a half. What has happened? I’ve gotten back into teaching all my private lessons and group classes at our Umoja ensemble schools, I’ve organized a successful fundraiser for Meru Animal Welfare Organization, I’ve made some new friends, I’ve gotten much closer to old friends here, we’ve had our first student recital of the year, I’ve thought about a lot of people in the US and Brazil and everywhere else in the world that I miss a lot, I’ve composed the music for my collaborative project in Tunisia with Colette, I’ve been shopping to buy a car, I’m organizing a recording session for our Umoja Ensemble kids to record a song I wrote for a heart disease foundation here, and tonight… I partook in a barn dance.
Yes, my roommate Millie helped plan a barn dance/hoe down at her church and tonight it happened. Oh my gosh, I don’t know when I have laughed and had so much fun here in Arusha! The pictures show it all- basically, there was a band of musician friends playing and one who called out the moves of what to do “swing your partner, line moves in, ladies to the center, men to the center, strip the willow!” haha oh man it was a great deal of fun.
We were a foster-home for a wonderful little puppy for a week!
All of us very tired after the dancing!
Life is moving fast. But there are cycles in life- sometimes I feel very inspired to compose and to write blogs and journals, and other times it’s as if life itself were demanding all of my time and energy- no time to reflect, no time to sit and ponder the meaning of everything. But that time will come again. I leave in NINE days for Tunisia and Morocco and I couldn’t be more excited. I have no doubt that as I stare over the sands of the Sahara Desert some sense of inspiration will hit me. I’m going first to Tunisia where I will hear the premier of a piece I composed with Colette. Very honored and excited to have the chance to work with her again- also to hear how this music sounds, as it was all inspired by ‘arabian’ sounding music… well, I don’t have the energy to discuss all of the kinds of music I had to take into consideration for this ‘middle-eastern’ musical drama that Colette and I created.
I’m feeling more comfortable in Tanzania than ever. It really takes a year to feel at home in a place and it’s certainly what I feel here now. Today and yesterday I snapped at some of the drivers of the dala dalas I was on. Yesterday it was because they were talking about me ‘mzungu’ (white person) and making kissy noises at me and laughing. I shouted, “ndiyo, cheka, cheka!” which is like, “yeah go ahead- laugh! Laugh!” and they usually shut up a bit when they realize I know some Swahili. Today there was a homeless man who came across the street to either ask the dala dala for some money or try to get a ride in it. The driver said, “toka!” which is basically like “shoo!” and the command of ‘go’ people say to dogs. I couldn’t help myself, I told the driver in Swahili “you know, he is not a dog! Why don’t you say ‘pole’, not ‘toka’!” We had a bit of an argument, of which I stood very little as the driver spoke back in fast Swahili. But, maybe he got my point. All that to say that I’m feeling comfortable; I’m feeling it is my community here. I’m feeling more of an outsider and insider all at once as I learn the kinds of people I can and cannot trust all because of the color of my skin. It is a true coming of age- losing some of that idealism and starry-eyed naiveté one often has as a young 20-something year old first going to live in Africa.