Friday, February 08, 2008

Animal Sounds

I met this guy in the Jungle....actually in the most densely populated monkey Jungle in the they say. The Jungle also was home to Forest Elephants and Leopards that lurked in the trees. This man knew the medicine of the trees. Did you know that Monkeys self medicate? They do. When they have stomach problems the go to the the warbegia tree and know to eat its bark...AMAZING! This guy, as you can see, knew how to talk with the primates so he had all the inside info...who was dating who, who had flees etc...

got S.O.U.P?

BIG NEWS! We started an NGO in Uganda...And your all involved. Its being registered as we speak. I think were calling it the Sustainable Ugandan Orphan Project or S.O.U.P for short...Got Soup? Now ya do.

Problem; Aids, Malaria, Ebola and war has wiped out a huge chunk of Ugandan Middle aged population, the parent population, thus leaving behind a ridiculous number of parentless kids. Most of them just run their own homes with the eldest child being in charge or they go to live with their Aunti. No parents, no food, no money, no education...School costs money and is considered a luxury.

WE GOT LAND IN UGANDA! 3 Acres. And we're building a heady farm where were going to grow chickens goats pigs and corn. The farm can be looked at like a bank (or just a farm if you like). The extra female animals and seeds (or interest) will be distributed to the kids and their family. They aren't allowed to to eat the animal immediately, rather they will procreate the animals, thus providing the family with a business opportunity. The first female offspring they must pass on to someone else needy in they're village and then they must do the it forward kinda thing... On the village level this will be overseen by community councils we will set up ahead of time in the villages.

Thats the basic basic gist. Theres a lot more to it that I didnt write up.
We're putting together a constitution this week. Our Ugandan counterparts are two amazing men. Ones my friend, the musician I wrote about before, who happens to also be a card carrying certified/bonafide prince in the kingdom of Toro (home to the youngest king in the world....who is 15 yrs old). Our other partners name is David and he already is running a wonderful NGO on the other side of the country and is running for parliament in two years.

So far in the last two weeks, without verbally asking, someone kicked down an office in Kampala Uganda, an old computer and a bit of money has already come in!

We're looking for co-dreamers and eventually we'll be having a big oll work party to get the farm built...Your all invited.

Wish list for right now is a decent lab-top computer and someone to throw together a web page in the next couple months...

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Oseh Shalom

Abayudaya Jews of Uganda

We Jews come in every shape and color of the rainbow. In the eastern part of Uganda, along the slopes of Mt Elgon, live 5 comunities of some of the most beautiful jews I've ever met. They're called the Abayudaya. They study Torah, they observe the Sabbath, they love to sing and dance, and they were heavily persecuted during the Eda Amin Era. Theres a San Fransisco organization thats trying to help this comunity by funding a clinic and a guest house that would generate income.

African Lulabye

Side walk song session with a new friend in Uganda

Kenyas burning Kenyans Dancing

Could you open the window please

After a song session with the kids at the Kenyan Refugee camp I sat and met with the elders. I listened. They were eager to tell me their stories. One guy, Peter, who was about my age, told me through his swollen eyes about how he'd be lynched by a mob and then had to watch as his home and all of the things he'd spent his life collecting went up in smoke. I promised him I would tell his story. So here I am. I cant imagine having something so terrible happen to you and to feel like theres no one to tell it to. It happens all the time. They had all suffered.....they had no homes....little food.....they'd seen death...yet they knew how to dance and celebrate the gift that is the moment. Amazing.
The problems in this corner of the world are completely out of control and can be overwhelming, often to the point of paralysis. Millions of refugees, Sudan Genocide, 5.4 Million dead in the last ten years in Congo! I barely even knew there was anything happening in Congo. Kenyas burning, 28% of pregnant women in South Africa have AIDS. We're bombarded and theres no way that our ability to act/react can keep up with our levels of awareness. Internet, CNN, BBC, barraging my eyes and my conscious constantly.
Somehow though I believe that there is enough. That we weren't dumped on this planet without enough resources to feed ourselves and all live descent lives. Sounds crazy and so far off. When I pray, I pray that we get out of our own way. We're blessed with a suns that is constantly showering and recharging a super fertile
planet that just wants to give and give. There is enough. Theres enough space. Theres enough food. Theres enough energy. Theres enough money. Theres enough. It is we who poison the earth and hoard her resources. Then we fight trillion dollar wars over these resources so then theres no money for medicine or education for the basic and the obvious. Had we not gone to war with Iraq and invested the Trillions of dollars elsewhere, we could have crossed off one of the big ones...AIDs or Cancer maybe...World hunger for sure...vaccinations for all..Sustainable energy...probably several of these. We could collectively choose such a reality, but we get stuck in our patterns, in the same old same old. You know when you get on the back of a grey-hound bus and it smells like piss and you cant stand the smell but after a few minutes you get used to the smell and it seems like it goes away. it doesn't.
Ill tell you Its been wonderfully startling for me the last few weeks.
One night I was in Uganda, the next morning in a Cafe in Amsterdam, Cuddle puddle that night in New York City and then San Salvador by noon the next day. Head spinning, reality shifting on a dime. Amsterdam and her sterility and straight lines with the mud huts of Uganda still fresh in my eye. Thousands die each day from diarrhea. Rehydration salts cost 3 dollars a packet. So Im stuck asking myself how do I buy anything I dont need.
I read recently that every 110 hours a million more humans arrive on the planet then die into it. Every seventh person on the planet is a Chinese peasant. Humans drink over a billion cups of tea a day. The insects outway us and the chickens outnumber us four to one. We're tiny...You and Everyone you know make up a sampling error on any global census, yet your it. The dust of the earth whom this world was created for.