Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What is Survival?

When is it that we quit fighting with spirit and accept the flow of things? I have always wanted to return to Africa to live amongst its people sharing and learning about their existence. For as long as I can remember I have had a romance with Africa, is it the desire for the unknown, a longing to return to the birth place of humanity, a wish to live the simple life, to learn to survive. One of the main reasons I came to Africa was to learn how to survive as that is what life is here, as my mother said to me the other day, this is a young soul country, a country where people are born to learn to survive and make the most of what is available to them. But it is not the kind of survival I envisioned. It is not the way of the hunter gatherer who lives in connection with the land. It is a twisted version of survival, trying to survive in a world that is not your own, a world that you have learned about through foreigners, colonialists, tv and advertising. It is a new form of colonialism that we are all subject to, that permeates everything that happens here. But I do not believe this is the answer. We must find a new way to live a very old existence before humans began to think that we are the end all and be all that this is all ours and we can do with it as we please. So where does an old soul like me fit into all of this. No one can be saved as many volunteers and missionaries come here to try to do, but of their own volition people can find the right connections, teachers, guides to live their paths and learn their lessons for this life time. I feel that somewhere in this I have a role to play, but I do not yet know what that is.

As an incredibly sensitive soul I find the daily existence here overwhelming. People’s emotions are visible everywhere, the daily struggle to find money and feed their children is ever present as is the following of a path that is not of the people here. Though it is different than the struggles we have in the West it is the same. I thought it would some how be different but I was wrong. At present is people do happen to make it beyond this basic struggle to survive in a made up system they will not look back though they are no more satisfied with life and they will build great walls around their family to protect this illusion of survival.  I do not wish to live behind brick walls so I can feel safe, but I must also be aware that I am exhausted mentally and physically. I must listen to my body which after being continually sick and unable to go out for more than a few hours is sending me some very clear signs. I wish to admit that I am not yet prepared to protect myself from being swallowed whole by the attempts of people to find a way to survive here. In these turbulent times it is so much more challenging and I know as I said on my last post we must be open to changing our plans and being flexible.

I have asked Spirit for guidance. I do not wish to save these people. I wish to help empower those who are prepared to evolve but without pushing some sort of religious view and/or trying to take the resources that exist here. I wish to hold them all in compassion including myself. I remember when I read the book Ishmael it particularly resonated with me when Ishmael spoke of the natural order of things. It is natural for a famine to occur and many to die this has happened since the dawning of time and interfering with it only causes greater hunger, more famines and over population of any already over populate earth. I know I want to help the earth and live an existence that supports her and all of her children. This journey has been a powerful learning experience as always.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Dreams in Dar

I have officially been in Tanzania for just over one month now and We are well into the new year. The year reported to be of drastic changes to all of us, a shift in everything we know. Well I can certainly say it has been much like that for me so far. The plans that I came here with are still strong and yet they have changed significantly as well. The power path forecast for January is all about destabilization where we will all experience being thrown off balance like we were experiencing an earthquake and that we must use this energy to create something new instead of holding on to the old. I highly recommend you read it

Well I have been trying to use this feeling of destabilization to create and under the beautiful full moon high in the African sky I sat down and wrote out all that I wished to manifest. A beautiful home in a peaceful area near the ocean that is salama kabisa (completely safe and peaceful) with Mazingira Mazuri (beautiful surroundings) where I can grow a garden and rest at ease after my many interactions of the day. I also have dreamed of creating a centre here that will be a place to gather, learn, share and heal ourselves and the environment using sustainable building techniques, organic farming and plant medicines. While I was in Europe with Ashley one of the amazing couchsurfers who took us in showed us the Garbage Warrior which I had heard much about but had not seen yet. After watching this film and reading about the work the earthship team has been doing in Haiti, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, etc I felt inspired especially when you see the amount of rubbish that is all over the streets here, The plastic bottles that are burned releasing deadly toxins into the air and the poor living conditions here (over 80% of people in Dar live in what would be classified as slums). So I wrote them an email about my vision and I just heard back from them. They said they would be very interested in the project and gave me a run down on costs and materials needed. Now to look for land and write some grant proposals and do lots of fundraising. If you haven’t heard of earthships before check ‘em out, they are super cool So I have gone from wanting to wwoof on a site like this to wanting to build one.

Slum-like living and burning garbage are definitely not the only problems people have here. After chatting with some young women who live at the Jeshi over the past few weeks I finally got there story from the chief social worker here. These girls aged 13-18 come from all parts of Tanzania and through the death of a family member or extreme poverty in their region they were brought to Dar, either by an aunt or cousin or by a seemingly good woman who appeared in the village right around the time of a funeral. These women bring the girls to Dar with promises of educating them or giving them a good job in their shop, house, etc but in reality they bring these girls to Dar dress them up in tiny tight clothes and give them to men for 3 or 5 or 10 dollars to as they please. The girls can do nothing and are scared and if they manage to run away they usually end up at the ferry terminal or train station living on the streets and selling themselves to men for food. This is where the folks from the Jeshi find them and bring them here to be trained in a trade or return to school for 6 months while they receive counselling and then they return to their families. I was totally flabbergasted to here this about these girls at first as they all seem like just any other girl, friendly and happy with dreams to be teachers or sewers, business women and mothers. The Jeshi also has another centre for younger girls who have been brought to Dar to beg while their owners sit behind the scenes and seeing every shilling they receive so the child gets none of it. They have a program in the villages teaching people about what is going on and how to stop this trade in humans as well. It is no wonder everyone you talk to declares Maisha Migumu (life is hard)