Thursday, August 13, 2009


album cover by nick
Throughout my time in Arusha, Andrew and I taught a "music class" of sort, which I've mentioned in previous posts. It turned out to be more lyric composition/attempts to imitate instruments with the voice/trying to encourage students to rap. Of course, it didn't turn out the way we expected, but the result was nonetheless awesome. We ended up putting together a CD, complete with 16 tracks! The image above is the album art (graciously designed by Nick). On our second to last day in Arusha, I took the students to the nearest laptop (we had to search for this one) and ended up in a woman's living room, about 25 students crammed into this tiny space, listening to our melodies and beats one by one. . .

Attached are links to hear select tracks. I'll let the music speak for itself. :)

"In the Jungle" (Everyone, featuring Humphrey Mrema)
"Drumbeat Poetry" (Jackline, Herriet, & Munira)

and my personal FAVORITE,
"LA VIE EN ROSE" (Everyone, featuring Louis Armstrong *wink*)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Swifty SCOO

My first video upload. Possibly my happiest memories of Tanzania captured right here. Filmed on my last morning in Arusha, to be written about in detail soon!

a good moment.

The happiest I've felt since I got home (after seeing my family of course) is when I got into a taxicab. The driver's name was Ali, and at once I exclaimed something about Ali back in Arusha, Tanzania. My favorite taxi driver in all of Arusha was by far Ali. He spoke close to no English, so I learned much of my Kiswahili from talking to him. He was always teaching me new words and always good-natured and fun to drive with. One time, I was in a rush since I had made him wait outside, so I hurried into the car, shutting the door on my skirt and it was just this hilarious moment because he looked sincerely perplexed as to why I was hurrying and getting my skirt all caught and said "Ooooh, pole pole!" (Slowly, slowly!) --- Wow, I get so sidetracked. Always! Anywho, after ranting about the name Ali, I asked him where he was from and he said Somalia. . . WHERE MOHAMED'S FAMILY IS FROM! I about died, spat out the two phrases I know in Somali and he was floored. He also told me he had lived in Kenya, at which point I about flew out of the car with the ecstatic realization that he spoke Kiswahili "UNASEMAJE KISWAHILI!?!" AND WE HAD A CONVERSATION. My entire face was a smile as we chattered, and I asked him if he could pick me up in a couple hours since I wasn't familiar with the city. When I called him, I used some Kiswahili as well and it was just like I was back in Arusha :)

card for ali
My thank you note to Ali + signature cartoons. ^__^

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

i miss this.
asleep on a sunbeam
pole pole .

Haraka haraka haina baracka

Back in the states. Let's talk about culture shock. Not because I particularly love the phrase, but because this is much more of a "culture shock" to return than it was to arrive in Tanzania.

The cars go so fast.
So many traffic lights. (There was only ONE in all of Arusha.)
I feel naked wearing a dress that comes to my knees.
I can eat ice? and lettuce?
I can use sink water to brush my teeth?
A bottle of water costs HOW much???
How is everything so clean? Why is everything so clean?
Are you really in that much of a hurry?
Pennies are so small and skinny. The dollar looks weird to me.
Money is just paper. Where does it get its value? Why do people lust for it?

Here, Life is no longer LIVING; it is a game that can only be won if you have money.

August 1, 2009
10:04 a.m.

I am sitting in the Amsterdam Schiphol airport, totally alone. Talk about "culture shock" ... where is all the dirt on the walls? the toothpicks? the pole pole? "Everyone is so haracka here!" We just wanted to wander. Everything is so sterile and clean and EVERYTHING HAS A LABEL. "Lounge" "Perfume" "Chocolates" "McDonalds" ... whaaaaaat is going on. So much to look at, so much to buy... it's utterly overwhelming. Walking home at the end of the day, the only things you could buy were mahindi or machungwa ...

There are so many people I didn't get to say goodbye to... I can't think about it or I'll cry. And the people I did say goodbye to, those I will miss so much. Warda, Frida, Agatha, Lucky, Bless, Ibrahim, Levina, Fauzia, Noor, Zahir, dear dear Lashma... and so many others. You are all so very precious to me and have taught me so much. You are all truly so kind and welcoming. Your smiles are my smile.


Haraka haraka haina baraka.
Haste haste has no blessings.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

( s h a d o w s )

b o k e h
I enjoy watching shadows. Shadows, cast from light. There can be no shadow without light, no? Playing with shadows... bigger, smaller, this shape, that shape. Playing with the shadow is less dangerous than the real thing. . . like fire. And people. . . Sometimes I just need to be alone ~ space ~ where I can be still, speaking no words, to just sit, stand, walk, think, breathe, look, see, imagine.
Today I was thinking about constellations. *** I was standing there underneath the bright breaths of light, just looking... captivated. Not grouping or identifying any clusters, just looking, seeing, gazing . . . I was asking myself why we must always try to define forms, shapes, make sense of things...dissect parts from the whole!! I have always had a real fascination for the sky, especially at night, but for some reason whenever I open up a star-gazing book or astronomy text, I get bored. I get bored of looking at all the maps and graphs of the sky... so flat and static... so plain and emotionless. When I behold the true sky above me, sometimes I tremble, my heart beats a breeze faster, my breathing slows down and wakes me from passive existence, the slumber of everyday life. . . I feel the same way about maps... geography... perfect lines indicating borders. This is California, this is Michigan. This is Tanzania, this is Ethiopia. This is Europe, this is Asia ... when it comes down to it, it's all just land. Beautiful land, people, cultures . . . we are all so different, but oh how similar we all are .

"Behind the Scenes"


1) film canisters containing negatives from swifts
2) mini pink portable canon printer for printing 4x6's