the wisdom that abounds at the grays of your temples
and the strength of your idealistic heart
pack up your infinite curiosity
etch that impish smile
in the stubborn crease of your inquisitive eyes
bind your gypsy soul
with precious dreams
wait no more
Its been a month of connecting, waiting, traveling, introspecting, reminiscing from 21 years to 86 lifetimes.
In the last month, I have concluded that reincarnation seems like fiction and Karma seems like non-fiction- an oxymoron indeed- for those who know the 3 kinds of Karma… and that I should not be eating salads in Kenya (read a typhoid misdiagnosis scare)
As for village matters, for everyone who has heard my incessant talks about solar energy in the last couple years, here's an update: In an effort to find the perfect lamp for sardine fishing, I met the 4 major players in the solar space in Africa in Nairobi and identified a particular product that might have worked well. Armed with a life vest (to venture out in the Lake at night again!), a handheld weighing scale, that "particular" solar lamp and plenty of patience, I arrived in the village only to find these efforts were, well, a bit redundant :) OSRAM, who I have been in contact for 2 years now, decided to build a we-hub in "my" village :) So, in a couple months, there will be a computer center and solar lamps specially made for night fishing! well, more time to fish for me :)
My plans of teaching yoga and teaching at the orphanage have been thwarted by frequent trips to Kisumu to network with NGOs or to shop for upcoming projects (like right now). Every few days, though, I do get a chance to learn basic Swahili and teach basic English to about a dozen children, who show up at the house, and sit patiently through the 1-2 hour class. Sometimes, we follow it up by a skipping lesson outside :)
Lakeland Youth group is just as active as ever- responsible and hard-working youth who really want to break the cycle of poverty. I have been able to connect them to Safe Water and Aids Prevention, Yes Youth Can! Nyanza and to Americans Friends of Kenya- AFK. - SWAP is collaborating with them to make things like water purification tablets, mosquito repellent jelly, detergent, diapers, mosquito nets more accessible to the community. The youth group is dipping their feet into entrepreneurship- by reselling these items that they get at a discount, at retail price. - Joram, the president of YYC Nyanza visited them last week and promised to connect them to local youth leaders for training and access to funds reserved for IGAs for youth groups. - and maybe, maybe- one day there will be a library at Honge beach- just as the one in Siaya with the assistance of AFK.
The most exciting development of all, however, is the beginning of a conversation with Small and Micro Enterprise Programme (SMEP). On Monday, we will explore entrepreneurship a bit further- tilapia fishing, poultry farming, bee keeping etc. We have Reinhard from SMEP visiting Uhundha to talk about microloans for a small enterprise and we already have a number of youth ready to sign up. On to bigger and better things…
for the first time in years, we had a meal together. m1 talked about perseverance, m2 demonstrated it. I sipped on my ginger root mojito in the mid-afternoon, closed my eyes momentarily and experienced bliss- warm, familiar, comfortable.
six degrees of separation. i believe its less than that... with the advent of social networking sites, sometimes i gasp when I find friends i made in opposite corners of the world as being mutual friends of friends a mile away. the earth seems to be becoming smaller, yet a small village in Kenya or a small town in Missouri seems far away, maybe distance is measured in MB these days and data plans
"I am in heaven(zanzibar) at the moment", I wrote to a friend the morning of September 10, 2011.
The day before, Tim asked me if I could upload a photo story by the weekend in preparation for the Open Show Retrospective to be held on October 20 at Rayko Center in San Francisco. One of my photos has been selected to be exhibited.
Truth be told, my story on Joseph was (and is) incomplete. I never got that shot of him with his family -they loved the camera and I could never get a candid shot or that "last" shot I had thought of with a view of the lake. So I looked for a photo story in my next destination, Zanzibar. On the morning of 10th, I went to the hotel reception for help just like I had the day before. But this time I found one and it was hell.
MV Spice Islander I, capsized in the Indian Ocean off Zanzibar at around 1 AM that morning. 579 people were rescued, 189 are confirmed dead and as of today, scores are still missing.
I was one of the very few photographers at Nungwi Beach, where the ferry capsized and where the victims were brought to shore.
I was also one of the very few who made it into the tents where the victims were wrapped, numbered and their belongings were placed on top of them.
I was one of the three who was given 5 minutes to take pictures in the identification tent right before the friends and family were allowed in.
sometimes, I discovered, you don't need press credentials to get close to the action, you just need a little compassion, respect and guardian angels who help and comfort you, when you need it most.