i keep noticing planes these days, white birds flying diagonally across morning blue cloudless skies, palm trees gently swaying on the horizon, or black birds soaring against orange sunset skies, or winged machines noticeable only by lights gracefully soaring against dark skies dotted with stars. 7 months in east africa has come to a close, i have 4 days until i board the plane that takes me back to the USA where i will begin editing, editing, editing. what a journey it has been… a trip, an adventure, a dream. it is not over. life keeps moving on, moving on. i thank you, everyone who i met as i moved from dar es salaam to arusha, to nairobi, to kampala, to kigali, to mwanza, to tabora, to shirati, to musoma, to butiama, to dodoma, and back to dar es salaam. i can’t put into words a complete culminating statement, my consciousness has shifted too much, words cannot capture the accumulative experience(s) of the last 7 months. all the families who hosted me, took me in as a relative, i felt as a son or a brother to your families. thank you for the dinners every night, for the bed to sleep in, for the hospitality you offered me. thank you for teaching me kiswahili. to the schools i visited, god bless all the students and teachers, i am so thankful for the chance to visit and teach and learn from you. to the streets, i won’t forget you. to the infinite interactions that remain forever ingrained in my memory, i cherish your presence in my conscious mind. to the people of tanzania, i vow to make the best film i can as i edit this footage, and i promise to return with a final product that we can watch together. here are some pictures of the past 4 months, from the kariakoo market in dar es salaam to the border of tanzania and kenya, to the streets of kampala and nairobi and into the intricacies and intimacies of life for G in east africa…
on december 27 i was invited to a massai wedding ceremony, how to describe the experience? there was a christian ceremony and then the warriors started their own ritual, it is a massai tradition. i was found in the circle jumping too at one point, chanting and moving. thank you massai of monduli and to esoto for inviting me.
in dar es salaam, the 3 faces you see most are bob marley, che guevara and jesus christ. sometime when i return to that city i love i will take pictures and upload some photos of these 3 popular people. yesterday i was in a dukani and the girl there said “don’t you like reggae?” yes i said, and she put on a DVD of a bob marley tribute concert that i had never seen. here is a video of one song, erykah badu singing “no more trouble”
my new friend is massai, his family descending from this area called monduli with its mountains and fields and cows and people populating an area nearby olduvai gorge where some of the oldest fossils of homo habilis were found by dr. louis leakey in 1931…the fossils dated back to 1.9 million years ago. homo sapiens bones have been dated to around 17,000 years from this same area. here are some pictures of my new baba (father), mama, kaka (brother), wadada (sisters), and the nyumbani where we live. one morning i woke up and a cow was outside the boma, i chop wood, life is lived, waking up to sounds of birds, hens, chickens, cows and other animals…and the stars are very bright at night.
on christmas eve i packed up my bags and left sinza, dar es salaam where i had lived for 2 months. i am so thankful to paulsen mrina for hosting me and for dar es salaam for taking me in and teaching me, making me feel karibu tanzania. the streets, the people, the sunlight every morning, the rainstorms, the neighborhood in sinza with its dukanis, saloons, bars and residents walking and talking and living. i am thankful to the university of dar es salaam for the students i met there and the professors i got to speak with, i will be returning! dar es salaam will forever have a place in my heart as the first place i lived in africa, tanzania the first country i have come to in this vast continent. but there is much to explore. a connection from USA has now brought me in touch with a new rafiki (friend) named esotho john who has invited me to join him and his family for christmas in monduli, which is a small town northwest of arusha. so, bags packed, i took a bajaji to the airport and soon was in the air, flying north into the northern city of arusha. i looked out the window and saw a city at the base of a mountain, and as i stepped off the plane my first impressions were of the lushness, the green landscape that seemed to stretch for miles as far as the eye could see. this is a new place, new sensations, new experiences, fresh mind. i met esotho in the waiting area and we walked out the door and got on bodabodas (motorcycles) and took a 15 minute ride into arusha town. my mind was adapting to a new place….
i am writing from zanzibar, an island off the mainland of tanzania with a rich and complex history. i am in stone town, at a hostel. i took the ferry today from dar and got here around 2:30pm, saa nane na noosa. the readers of celestine prophecies and alchemists know what i’m talking about: it was written as maktub, symbols and signs appear to the eye(s), intuition arises inside as one follows the waves of interactions in life, a story is told, lessons are learned, we grow old. as we open the door, step into a world of encounters, interactions. here are the pictures from day one, an afternoon spent walking around exploring stone town, zanzibar. i was transported back in time, to another place, zamani (ancient) feeling of buildings, arab and indian architectural influences, cobblestone type streets, african people- muslims, colorful hijabs and kofias, quranic verses in golden print on centuries old wooden doors, tiny motorcycles and bicycles skirting through winding streets, muslims sitting on stone benches making stories, island vibes, i am here on a whim, on my own, with a camera.