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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 5

Chronicle #1

June 26, 2016

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They Grow Things Big in Africa – This Was Here at our Guesthouse for a Couple Weeks When We Arrived!

 

Greetings Everyone,

 

Another year in Tanzania is well underway. To my loyal readers, an apology: this summer got off to a rather rough start (I’ll explain later), and then there were some VERY exciting events in the past two weeks and bottom line … things have been very busy with very little time to post a Chronicle – please accept my apology. But … better late than never, so let’s begin:

 

I left for Moshi, Tanzania on May 16th and after a long journey went straight to the Korongoni Secondary School where we do our teaching – only to find most of our clarinets in horrible disrepair … in other words = they didn’t work. We had a repair kit at the school but through a miscommunication with a colleague, it was at the local Police Academy and not accessible. I only had one screwdriver with me and I was unable to fix anything. At the time I was the only clarinet teacher here, however there were several string teachers and they got their program off to a great start with the many string instruments they brought with them. To spare you the details, it was a very frustrating start to this summer’s version of Clarinets for Conservation. But … we manage = in Africa you learn to work with what you have, even if it’s very little. Here is a photo of my beginning clarinet class – we only had 3 working (barely working!) clarinets at the time:

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Great Kids!

 

With our string teachers and Vic Chavez (a new clarinet teacher who joined us in Tanzania during the second week – Vic took my place at UT when I retired!), we did a Mpingo Tree planting at a local secondary school where we had planted in previous years. The previously planted trees are doing GREAT!

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This Mpingo Tree Was Planted a Couple Years Ago as Just a Twig – Look at How Thick it is Now!

 

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Some More Mpingo Trees Planted a Couple Years Ago at the Same School!

 

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Photo of Us Teachers With Some Tanzanian Teachers at the Planting

 

I’ve tried in the past to describe some of the schools in these Chronicles. The classroom where we did our concert / presentation for the students of this school had a few ‘ditches’ running through the classroom. I asked about them and was told during the rainy season, the classroom floods and with these ditches, the rain water can just flow through the room and out the other side!

 

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Flood Control

 

 

Our first very exciting event for the summer happened last weekend – and it was in the planning stages for nearly a year! I was asked to perform the Mozart Clarinet Concerto with the Nairobi (Kenya) Orchestra on June 18th and 19th. Before I tell you the cool thing we did, I have to say what an honor it was to play this in Kenya with the Nairobi Orchestra. One of my all time favorite movies is Out of Africa – the story took place in Kenya and also was filmed there. An important part of the musical soundtrack was … the Mozart Clarinet Concerto! To play this piece in Kenya was quite the wonderful experience. Both performances went very well but at the Saturday night performance we had some very special guests: our clarinet and string students from the Korongoni Secondary School! In April, with the help of several friends, I hosted a fundraiser at my condo in Knoxville to raise money to take our Tanzanian students on their first ever trip outside of Tanzania and for many, their first trip out of Moshi! Thanks to the many generous people in Knoxville, we raised $3700.00, enough to bus 31 music students and teachers from the Korongoni Secondary School to Nairobi, give them wonderful meals, put them up in a nice Bed and Breakfast, pay for their concert tickets and on the following Sunday morning, pay for a unique visit to a baby elephant orphanage / rescue facility just out side of Nairobi before their long journey home. Many thanks to all those generous people who made this trip a reality!

 

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The Students and Teachers Enjoying a Good Dinner at the Bed and Breakfast Before the Concert

 

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The Mozart Clarinet Concerto With the Nairobi Orchestra

 

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The Korongoni Students, Teachers and Me Following the Concert

 

 

Well … I have always enjoyed posting photos from safaris in these Chronicles and an interesting opportunity came about during my stay in Nairobi. The former principal oboe player in the Nairobi Orchestra along with her husband now operate a high-end safari company – way out of my price range! But since I was a soloist with the orchestra, she offered me a 4-day, 3 night fly-in safari at a hugely discounted rate that I could not refuse! So last Monday morning I boarded a single engine plane and was flown out to the Masai Mara – way out there! I have never been this remote in Africa before! I stayed in a tent camp – but these tents were quite luxurious and the food – 3 meals a day (I usually only eat 2) were exquisite!

 

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My Home for Four Wonderful Days!

 

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This is Where We Ate Our Meals – Not Too Bad!

 

 

It rained quite a lot but that didn’t dampen spirits. We did two game drives each day, one in the very early morning and one in late afternoon. I took nearly 500 photos – here are a few of my favorites:

 

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Rhino – Up Close and Personal!

 

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Baby Rhino Up Close and Personal!

 

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These are just a few of many – in the next Chronicles I’ll include some additional photos from this amazing trip!

 

Hope everyone is well. Again, sorry for the long delay in getting this Chronicle posted.

 

Until next time … Salama,

 

Gary

 

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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 4

 

Chronicle #5

Hello!

Hello!

 

July 12, 2015

Habari za Leo (Tanzanian greeting!)

Is it possible that it’s almost time to leave Tanzania? We have been here 7 weeks and only one more week to go – my flight leaves on July 20th … but the adventure has a long way to go before heading home. From here, a few of us will be flying to Madrid, Spain. Madrid is hosting the International Clarinet Association Conference (called ClarinetFest) and four of us teachers from Clarinets for Conservation will be giving a presentation on C4C at the conference. In addition to spreading the word on our work here in East Africa, we will also be performing some pieces that have been written for us during the past couple years. Then, following Madrid, for me it’s off to California for the Bear Valley Music Festival – a festival I have playing in since 1986. The Bear Valley Music Festival is 2 weeks long and is often my favorite 2 weeks of the year – a chance to get together with great, long time friends and make some wonderful music together. After the Music Festival I will stay in California for a week and do some sightseeing. Ultimately I will end up in Las Vegas where I will finally fly back to Knoxville. After a few days in Knoxville, it will be jump in the car time and drive to Wisconsin for a couple days and visit my 94 year old dad! After this … home sweet home!! (and time for the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra season to begin!)

Well, let’s catch up on Tanzanian C4C happenings during the past couple weeks:

Two weeks ago, we took a field trip with our students to Materuni Waterfalls – about a one hour drive from Moshi. It was a great trip, the students learned a lot about their environment and … it was raining!! Oh well – it’s only water but it did make for a very muddy hike back to the waterfall. No one minded the rain or mud at all – the waterfall was worth it!

On the Way to the Falls

On the Way to the Falls

Materuni Falls

Materuni Falls

That's Me in There Somewhere!

That’s Me in There Somewhere!

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Yes - It Was Muddy!!

Yes – It Was Muddy!!

After the falls, we ended up at a coffee plantation where the students learned how coffee is grown and roasted. They prepared some on the spot for us and we all had an amazing cup of FRESH coffee following the hike.

On the way home from the falls, I captured a couple more interesting photos:

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There is a wonderful organization home based in The Netherlands called Musicians Without Borders. Their mission has many similarities to our own. Musicians Without Borders just had a week-long training program for Tanzanian community leaders and they invited Clarinets for Conservation to participate in their final training event. It was a nice opportunity for our students to perform for a new audience. As many of you have gathered from these Chronicles, I enjoy photography here in Tanzania – especially Tanzanian wildlife and the Tanzanian kids. This event with Musicians Without Borders presented an opportunity to photograph some more kids – hope you enjoy:

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Last Friday night we had a program with the students at a venue not far from Moshi that actually had a stage – quite a rarity in Tanzania! Before the concert, my class of beginners was warming up outside. My duties included being a music stand!

Inexpensive Music Stand!

Inexpensive Music Stand!

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Our Serious Class Photo

Our Serious Class Photo

And ... The Kids Being Normal!

And … The Kids Being Normal!

And finally … 2 photos not related to anything = the first – this fuzzy little critter showed up on our doorstep a couple weeks ago:

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Yikes!

And … an interesting photo of how many Africans bathe = in a small stream ….

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Clarinets for Conservation had a great year here in Tanzania with several volunteers who helped create new programs for the students. We certainly appreciate all the volunteers as well as all those who have donated money and supplies to the success of C4C.

We have one more performance with our students next Saturday and then we’ll be packing up for Spain. I certainly hope you have enjoyed this summer’s Chronicles – there will be more in the future for sure!

Until the next adventure …

Salama,

Gary

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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 4

 

Chronicle #4

 

June 24, 2015

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Greetings to All!

Very few words and lots of photos today! Last Saturday, Sunday and Monday we were on SAFARI! So what is safari? Well … the Swahili word safari literally translates to to travel or journey but to most people it means visiting the National Parks and seeing animals.

There are rules out on safari – the main rule being you must stay in your vehicle – but … trust me = you wouldn’t want to get out of your vehicle (obvious reasons!). A safari vehicle is rugged and the roof can be raised so you can stand and look out to photograph animals:

Safari Vehicle

Safari Vehicle

Our 3-day safari took us to 3 different National Parks: Saturday was at Tarangire National Park, Sunday was at Ngorongoro Crater and Monday was at Lake Manyara National Park = 3 great experiences!

Enough words – Hope you ENJOY:

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Impala

Impala

Hyena

Hyena

Hippo Getting His Teeth Cleaned!

Hippo Getting His Teeth Cleaned!

Jackel

Jackel

Young Baboon Just Hanging Out!

Young Baboon Just Hanging Out!

Baby Baboon: Our Guide Said It Was Likely Two Days Old!

Baby Baboon: Our Guide Said It Was Likely Two Days Old!

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Family of Hippos

Family of Hippos

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Family of Giraffe

Family of Giraffe

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A side note: on Monday I turned 65 – I can’t think of a better way to spend a birthday than being on Safari with great friends = a great day!

Me, Jordyn, Holly and Tyler = Great Safari Companions. Notice the Hippo in the Water Off to the Right!

Me, Jordyn, Holly and Tyler = Great Safari Companions. Notice the Hippo in the Water Off to the Right!

Until next time …

Salama,

Gary

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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 4

 

Chronicle #3

 

June 18, 2015

Hi!

Hello!

Habari za Asubuhi (means ‘Good Morning’ in Swahili = sort of!),

Another busy week here in Moshi including a tree planting at an orphanage, an ‘open mic night’ concert at a local coffee shop, private teaching at the Police Academy, a trip to Lake Chala, normal teaching at Krongoni Secondary School ….. and more!

A couple weeks ago, a regular reader of these Chronicles sent a comment asking how fast the Mpingo trees grow that we plant each year. My thought was – photos are worth a thousand words:

The first plantings took place in 2010 at Korongoni Secondary School. This one was planted in 2010:

Planted 2010

Planted 2010

Brad Rodriguez (pictured in photos) is one of Clarinets for Conservation’s conservationists and photographers.

There were no plantings in 2011. This Mpingo was planted in 2012:

Planted 2012

Planted 2012

This one was planted in 2013:

Planted 2013

Planted 2013

This one planted in 2014. 2014 trees really surprised all of us as to how well they grew – almost as tall as the trees planted in 2013:

Planted 2014

Planted Last Summer = 2014

And this was planted just a couple weeks ago.

Just Planted = 2015!

Just Planted = 2015!

All of these trees are in the compound of Korongoni Secondary School.

And yes – unfortunately there are natural predators to the Mpingo trees:

Mpingo Predator!!

Mpingo Predator!!

Caught in the Act = Goats Like to Eat Too!

Caught in the Act = Goats Like to Eat Too!

Often times, protective sticks are put around the newly planted seedlings to discourage the goats from eating the trees!

Tanzanian Equivalent to the Wire Mesh Fence

Tanzanian Equivalent to the Wire Mesh Fence

Mpingo trees need about 60-70 years (or more) before they can be harvested for use as woodwind instruments. Hope these photos help with understanding the Mpingo tree just a little more. Brad and another conservationist will be visiting all of the planting sites from the past few years and doing a more in-depth study of the tree’s growth. If any readers would like to hear of these more detailed, specific growth rates, please send me an email / message and I will include some more technical info in a future Chronicle.

As I have written about in past Chronicles, Clarinets for Conservation visits area schools and orphanages on a regular basis to plant Mpingo trees – and we play little concerts for the kids at these plantings. This week we visited a local orphanage here in Moshi – here are a few photos from that event:

Part of C4C's New String Program = String Teachers Performing at the Orphanage

Part of C4C’s New String Program = String Teachers Performing at the Orphanage

Enjoying the Concert!

Enjoying the Concert!

Jordyn Having Fun With One of the Special Kids

Jordyn Having Fun With One of the Special Kids

Jordyn and the Kids Planting a Mpingo Tree

Jordyn and the Kids Planting a Mpingo Tree

Guess what happens in two more days??? SAFARI!!! We leave on Saturday for a three day (two night) camping safari so …. the next posting of this Chronicle will hopefully be filled with lots of cool animal photos! As you may have guessed, I really enjoy photography – so safaris are always fun!

All for today – hope everyone is enjoying the summer! And before leaving … a few additional photos:

One of Our New Cello Students

One of Our New Cello Students

A Little Arm Wrestling But = A Nice Statement ...

A Little Arm Wrestling But = A Nice Statement …

Salama,

Gary

The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 4

 Chronicle #2

 June 11, 2015

Greetings from Moshi, Tanzania;

A busy time since the last chronicle – lots of events and things to report on = with lots of photos today:

New teachers are arriving to volunteer with Clarinets for Conservation. One of the new teachers this year is Jordyn Bidwell – Jordyn was a music education student of mine at The University of Tennessee a few years ago. After recently receiving her Master’s Degree in Special Education from UT, she is now the Special Education teacher at Pond Gap Elementary School in Knoxville. We’re happy to have her here in Tanzania – she will be with us until June 23rd!

Jordyn with the Beginner Class of Clarinet Students

Jordyn with the Beginner Class of Clarinet Students

Clarinets for Conservation is always grateful to volunteers and the donations we receive from the many people who want to help. This year we were given so many instruments for our students – including violins, violas, cellos and we also received our first ever bass clarinet! The students ALL wanted to play it but we had to narrow it down to just two – and they share it!

Love that Bass!

Love that Bass!

New event in Moshi last weekend – there was a first-ever ‘Kili Fair’ = not to different from a community fair in the U.S. We went on Saturday and had a good time! (‘Kili’ is short for Kilimanjaro).

Kili Fair

Kili Fair

A while back, someone was asking me about Tanzanian food – so … here is what many of us had for lunch at the fair:

Interesting: Goat and Cooked Banana = Very Tasty!

Interesting: Goat and Cooked Banana = Very Tasty!

The meat was goat and – yes = that is a cooked banana – kind of like a potato! And the drink …. well = what can I say!

On Sunday we took our students to Tumaini University Makumira for the Music Department’s end of the semester traditional concert. This is the University where I taught in 2011-2012 = some followers of these Chronicles may remember photos from past concerts that I have posted. Our C4C students LOVED this year’s concert – especially the traditional tribal African dances:

African Dance

African Dance

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Is This Photo Upside Down??

Is This Photo Upside Down??

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Earlier this week we had a couple of tree plantings at area schools. These plantings are always fun – the students are always happy to see us wazungu (white folks!) at their schools.

Mpingo Planting at Majengo Primary School

Mpingo Planting at Majengo Primary School

And … I always enjoy taking pictures of the kids! They love it too because they like seeing their picture immediately on the little camera screen:

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After the planting, we play a little concert (outside of course!) for the students – and they love this too!

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Enjoying the Concert!

Enjoying the Concert!

When the concert is done – they treat us like rock stars!

Top Rock Stars of 2015: Jordan and Julia!!!

Top Rock Stars of 2015: Jordan and Julia!!!

Plantings are always fun. A week ago, I had a question about how quickly these Mpingo trees grow – in the next Chronicle, I will post photos of a newly planted Mpingo tree and then trees that we planted one, two and three years ago = interesting photos – stay tuned!

And yesterday … we took the students on a fantastic field trip to Kilimanjaro Animal C.R.E.W. (Center for Rescue, Education & Wildlife) – a non profit organization dedicated to taking care of animals and educating people on the important role animals play in the ecosystem. This is a farm where injured animals are taken for rehab and hopefully returned to the wild. If an animal is unable to be returned to the wild, it can stay at the farm indefinitely. Their presentation was great and our students learned a lot about how to treat animals and how all things – people, plants, and animals are dependent on each other. Here are some of my favorite animal photos from yesterday:

Serval Cat = Not Your Average House Cat!

Serval Cat = Not Your Average House Cat!  (This Particular Serval Cat Only Has 3 Legs and Will be at the Farm Permanently)

Secretary Bird ... Well - Let's Get It Right: Administrative Assistant Bird!

Secretary Bird … Well – Let’s Get It Right: Administrative Assistant Bird! (Has a Broken Wing and Can’t Fly – Will be at the Farm Indefinitely)

Check Out Those Eyelashes!

Check Out Those Eyelashes

A major part of C4C’s mission is conservation and educating our students about environmental issues – so these trips are very valuable. We have at least one field trip planned for the students each week that we are here – trips that are both fun and educational for them (and us too!).

Okay – all for now. I do appreciate feedback on these Chronicles so if you have any comments or questions – or anything in particular you would like me to cover, please send me a message or email and I’ll do my best!

Until the next Chronicle

Salama,

Gary

Am I Checking This Guy Out or is He Checking Me Out??

So … Am I Checking This Guy Out or is He Checking Me Out??

The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 4, Chronicle #1

June 2, 2015

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Greetings to all from Tanzania and welcome back to The Tanzanian Experience!

Back in Tanzania for the 7th time!

Greetings on June 2nd, 2015 – the beginning of Clarinets for Conservation’s 5th year!

For me – 7 times in Tanzania = maybe a little review of all these trips is in line:

The journey began in 2007 when a friend (Dan Wing) and I came to Tanzania as tourists – to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro (successfully!) and then embark on a week-long safari in the Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater.

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Mt. Kilimanjaro

Literally as the wheels of the plane left the ground after that incredible trip I was thinking, when and how can I come back!

In 2010 I had some very dear friends, Tom and Daris Hale (and their family) who were on a Fulbright Scholarship teaching at Tumaini University Makumira in Tanzania – how envious I was! An email came from Daris at Thanksgiving time (2010) asking if I would be interested in taking their place at Makumira when their year finished = well … I never responded to an email quite so fast with one word: YES!!! And it all worked out. I was given a sabbatical leave from The University of Tennessee and a leave of absence from the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra for the 2011 / 2012 academic year. In the summer of 2011, I came to Makumira for a 3-week period of concerts with Tom and Daris (before they left) and this same period served as an orientation for me at Makumira. I came back to Makumira in September of 2011 and began my year-long tenure at Tumaini University Makumira – the best year of my life! Near the end of that year – in June of 2012, I was beginning to feel sad that soon I would have to leave Tanzania = and then I received an email from some Tanzanian friends with a notice about a CLARINET recital in Moshi – a town about 50 miles away. Okay … Tanzanians do not know what a clarinet is – so this naturally grabbed my attention! So these friends and I went to this recital – it was given my two young Americans and several young Tanzanian students.

Photo taken in June 2012

Photo taken in June 2012

After the recital I introduced myself to the clarinetists and asked what they were doing. The young lady – Michele Von Haugg – explained to me about her very new organization called Clarinets for Conservation. Once she described the mission of the non-profit organization, I was hooked but better yet, her next words were … “and we are looking for teachers”! And … the rest is history. The summer of 2015 is now my 4th trip to Moshi, Tanzania to teach and plant trees for Clarinets for Conservation (C4C).

The mission of C4C is multi-faceted but in a nutshell we teach music to young Tanzanian secondary students and also teach them the value of a very unique resource found in Tanzania – the Mpingo tree = the tree clarinets are made from. We have some Tanzanian conservationists that work with us to teach the students the value of this resource. We all teach that if properly managed, the tree can be a sustainable source of jobs and income for this least developed country – as well as teaching the environmental benefits of trees. Each summer, with the students, we plant over 500 little Mpimgo seedlings!

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So here we are ready to start the 2015 version of Clarinets for Conservation with some exciting new things happening! C4C is completely dependent on volunteers and donations to operate. We are all volunteers here at our own expense. As people show interest in volunteering for C4C and offer ideas as to how they would like to help, we of course listen very carefully. Last year (2014) we had a violin donated. Okay … we’ll take it – but what are a bunch of clarinetists going to do with a violin??? About this same time a lovely young violist offered to come and teach one violin student in the summer of 2014!

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Hillary Herndon teaching Joanlisa – Summer 2014

During this past year, the same young lady – Hillary Herndon (viola professor at The University of Tennessee) on her own initiative got 7 violins, 3 violas and 3 cellos donated to C4C ! Not only this, she recruited 3 string music education majors from The University of Tennessee to volunteer to come to Tanzania to teach these instruments – so … this summer (2015) in addition to the clarinet program, we will be starting a small string program! Amazing how things work!

In the coming weeks I will try to do a posting on this blog each week including photos of all we are doing. I hope you will find them interesting, fun to read and informative – and hopefully entertaining too! There will be lots of teaching going on, weekly field trips with the kids to various places, and later in the summer, my favorite thing: SAFARI!

Some photos already taken this summer:

Some of our Students

Some of our Students

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Michele and Lina

Kids are the Same Everywhere!

Kids are the Same Everywhere!

Michele and I Performing for a Graduation at St. Jude's Secondary School Last Week

Michele and I Performing for a Graduation at St. Jude’s Secondary School Last Week

Michele and I Teaching on the First Day

Michele and I Teaching on the First Day

Teaching the Beginner Class = Great Kids!

Teaching the Beginner Class = Great Kids!

I hope you’ll keep up with us this summer = 2015!

Salama,

Gary

A Local Friend!

A Local Friend!

The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 3

 Chronicle # 9

 July 23, 2014

 

Greetings to All from Somewhere Over the Sahara Desert!

Where has the summer gone? I’m now on a flight from Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) to Washington DC – a very long flight and an ideal time to finish Chapter 3 of The Tanzanian Experience = Summer 2014. The last posting told of the Clarinets for Conservation teacher’s ordeal with the stolen clarinet, which was thankfully returned. But during that time and up to the present, we still had some concerts, plantings and field trips with our students. The field trips with the students included journeys to the home of the African Blackwood Conservation Project and a trip to the Rau Forest just outside of Moshi. The students learn a lot from these trips from our Tanzanian Conservationists with whom we collaborate.

But perhaps the most interesting day for us C4C teachers was the day we spent at the Police Academy. It began with a planting:

 

Michele Addressing the Police Academy Recruits

Michele Addressing the Police Academy Recruits

The Commandant Listening Carefully!

The Commandant Listening Carefully!

The Commandant of the Academy planted the first Mpingo Tree. As you can see, he likes the mission of Clarinets for Conservation and he is definitely not afraid to get his hands dirty!

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He's Not Afraid of Hard Work!

He’s Not Afraid of Hard Work!

After his first tree was in the ground, several of the Academy recruits had their turn to dirty their hands:

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And Here Is Me Trying To Get Good Photos of the Planting!

And Here Is Me Trying To Get Good Photos of the Planting!

 

Following the planting we were suppose to have a dress rehearsal with the Police Academy Band for a concert that evening but … the dress rehearsal didn’t happen – that’s okay, we’ll sight read the concert! Us teachers were scheduled to perform with the band – something we did last year and all enjoyed a lot! So in place of the rehearsal, we went to Korongoni and taught for just a short while and then loaded our students up in the Police Academy bus, which they provided for us and off we all went to the Police Academy:

The Kids Liked the Ride in the Police Bus!

The Kids Liked the Ride in the Police Bus!

Our Students Were Even Seated in the VIP Section!

Our Students Were Even Seated in the VIP Section!

We played with the concert with the Police Academy band, starting with the national anthems of Tanzania and the US – and Michele conducted the Star Spangle Banner. She also conducted another work on the program, but the fact that she’d be conducting at all, well … that was news to her – but she did a great job!

Maestra Michele Von Haugg!

Maestra Michele Von Haugg!

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Playing The Tanzanian National Anthem

What can we say – spontaneity is a good thing! It was a fantastic experience performing with the Police Academy Band – I hope this will be an annual event!

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Last night – well, Tuesday night (I’m not sure what day or night it is right now!) – we had our final concert with the students at Korongoni. There were a lot of parents and the students played very well. We had the students talk about the C4C program and also had them introduce each piece that was played. Here are some photo highlights of the concert:

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The Students Decorate the Blackboard For These Concerts. How Can You Not Love Them??

The Students Decorate the Blackboard For These Concerts. How Can You Not Love Them??

 

This ended the summer’s lessons for many of the students but for a few, another event: a recording! Some of our older students will accompany the C4C teachers to Tumaini University Makumira to start a two-year project of recording Tanzanian music for clarinets. They will be recording on Thursday and Friday of this week at Makumira. I could not stay for this because I have to return to the US for a former student’s wedding this Saturday and on Sunday, I leave for California and the Bear Valley Music Festival. The rest of the C4C teachers return to the US next Tuesday.

Despite some extraordinary challenges, Clarinets for Conservation had a great summer! We have more students than we’ve ever had, there are more teachers, we have more and better instruments than ever before, and we even have REAL music stands now! Things move slowly in Tanzania (pole-pole as they say in Swahili), but they are moving forward!

Before ending this chapter of The Tanzanian Experience, I wanted to put in a little plug for Clarinets for Conservation and I confess, I’m a little uncomfortable using my blog to ask for help. C4C is an absolutely terrific organization. Is it changing the world? In the grand scheme of things, maybe not much – but it is changing it a little and every little bit helps! As you can imagine, it is expensive to operate this organization and all of us teachers are investing our own money into this project. We are all volunteers, meaning we pay our own airfare and most other expenses as well. The donations we receive on the C4C website are so greatly appreciated, but they cover only a small portion of the total costs – and the rest comes out of our pockets. If anyone feels they would like to help towards the 2015 C4C program, please visit our website – http://www.clarinetsforconservation.org – and any contribution will be greatly appreciated (and it would be a tax deductible contribution!). Also, if anyone would like some of us Clarinets for Conservation Teachers to perform in your homes as a fund raising party for C4C we would LOVE to do that! There are fund raising tours planned for the remainder of 2014 and the first part of 2015 and I’m sure we could include your home no matter where you live. If you are interested, please contact me or Michele Von Haugg (michelevonhaugg@hotmail.com) and we will make it happen!

 

I have been so fortunate to travel the world and experience different peoples and their cultures. There are many differences, but there are so many more similarities. One common factor in ALL cultures is the love of music! No matter where you go, people love their music! I am going to end this chapter with a thought that a good friend (Linda Brannen) had shared with me a couple months ago. She said: “… wouldn’t it be great if the leaders of the world at the United Nations decided to spend one day and not speak a single word to each other … but instead, spent the day listening to music …. together” What a thought!

 

Until the next adventure begins ….

 

Salama,

 

Gary

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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 3

 Chronicle # 8

 July 20, 2014

 

Greetings to All,

 

In the three years that I have been posting blogs on The Tanzanian Experience, I have tried to share as accurately as I can the experiences, and emotions of living in East Africa. My regular readers will know that most of the time the experiences have been uplifting, rewarding, challenging but very positive – the reasons I return regularly to work in Africa. However, this past week was an extended period of sadness, helplessness and frustration. I mentioned in last week’s Chronicle that on Friday night (July 11) as all of us Clarinets for Conservation teachers slept, our house was creatively (unbelievably!) broken into and among the things stolen was a top-of–the line Buffet Clarinet belonging to Katie Palmer. Several of our C4C students came to our house to see if there was anything they could do to help – little did they know just their being there helped a lot. Other students walked around town just looking for any signs of the clarinet.

Fraterine - One of Our C4C Students Serenading Us At Our House After the Theft

Fraterine – One of Our C4C Students Serenading Us At Our House After the Theft

Several of us gave statements to the Police and were hopeful that they could do something to help in its return. As the days went by nothing seemed to be happening and we were not being told anything. So a few days ago we decided to take things into our own hands. Michele and Katie made a poster offering a TSH 500,000 (about $320.00 = close to a year’s salary for many Tanzanians). Here is a photo of the poster:

10562603_10154338914200702_5427904041123919658_oI took these into town and – not terribly exaggerated – infiltrated the ‘Moshi Mob’ (I will not disclose my sources!) and spread word of this very large reward while handing out these posters. Needless to say, the reward got the attention of this segment of Moshi society. Unfortunately this also attracted some characters that approached us saying they new where the clarinet was but needed money to buy it back. We gave them some money and the next day they said they needed more money and we quickly realized it was just a scam. But then yesterday morning (Saturday) – on the eighth day since the clarinet’s disappearance … a guy came to our door saying he saw the backpack and he identified some of the things that were in it – and this boosted our spirits, especially Katie’s. He also needed money in order to ‘buy’ it back. This was taking a chance, but we felt it was worth the risk – especially since Grace, our house lady, thought he was trustworthy. I sat with Katie for 3 very long hours while the others went to school to teach. I was sitting on the front porch and I admit, I was beginning to get disheartened. All of a sudden, this same guy appeared carrying a familiar looking backpack. I hollered to Katie and when she came to the porch and saw her backpack, she broke down sobbing. The guy opened the backpack and pulled out a plastic bag and inside was ….. KATIE’S CLARINET ….. ON the Eighth Day! I quickly got his reward money, gave it to him, and in a short time, he was gone. We got the clarinet back! Yes – we are all ecstatic. We bought champagne to celebrate and even I (who doesn’t drink very much) had a couple of something similar to Bailey’s and what can I say – today (Sunday) = I have a headache! No complaints though!

Katie and Her Clarinet = Happy Girl!

Katie and Her Clarinet = Happy Girl!

 

Even the lead investigator from the police came over to our house to celebrate. Katie let him try her clarinet:

Isaac - The Lead Investigator. Not Quite a Benny Goodman!

Isaac – The Lead Investigator. Not Quite a Benny Goodman!

Well …. If he practiced, maybe he could be in our beginner’s class next year!

Isaac and Katie

Isaac and Katie

The story ended well … on the eighth day!

 

I leave Tanzania on Wednesday to return to the US. I was beginning to fear I’d be leaving with a bad taste in my mouth this year, but fortunately that won’t happen. I’m predicting as soon as the wheels of the plane leave the ground, I’ll start counting the days until I can come back.

I’ll post one last Chronicle before ending this chapter of The Tanzanian Experience.

 

Until then – I hope everyone is well = we are certainly great here!

 

Salama,

 

Gary

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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 3

 Chronicle # 7

 July 13, 2014

 

Greetings from Tanzania,

In a blog posting long ago I mentioned an American Doctor who has been working in Tanzania for over 30 years. He said what he and his wife liked about living in Tanzania was that every day something incredibly wonderful would happen and on the same day there would be something equally NOT wonderful that would take place and that these extremes were addicting. Well … this week we experienced those extremes. The three day safari was incredible – hard to imagine how beautiful the scenery and how interesting and stunning the animal life was. Here is a taste of photos to come:

Photo Taken in Lake Manyara National Park

Photo Taken in Lake Manyara National Park

 

But … before more photos, I have to report about an unfortunate event – the other extreme – that affected all of us: Friday night while we were all sleeping, our house was broken into and a 2 year old Buffet top-of-the-line clarinet was stolen from one of our teachers, Katie Palmer, along with a few smaller items. We have many connections in Moshi – not to mention the Commandant of the Police Academy – who are working hard to find and return the clarinet. We are all hopeful it will be found and returned but we are all realistic about the reality. In the meantime needless to say, Katie and the rest of us are very sad by this intrusion. I will keep you posted on updates – hopefully I can report some good news in the next couple days.

On a much brighter note = it was SAFARI week! The C4C teachers and staff went in two different groups on different days so we could keep our teaching going. There were four of us on my safari and we were out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. We visited Tarangire, Ngorongoro, and Lake Manyara National Parks. Since pictures can say more than words, let’s get right to the good stuff!  Here are some highlights:

The Scenery in Tarangire National Park is Breathtaking!

The Scenery in Tarangire National Park is Breathtaking!

Tembo (Swahili for Elephant)

Tembo (Swahili for Elephant)

My Favorites - the Cheetahs

My Favorites – the Cheetahs

Ngiri (Warthog) or for Lion King Fans: Pumbaa

Ngiri (Warthog) or for Lion King Fans: Pumbaa

Mbuni (Ostrich)

Mbuni (Ostrich)

This Very Large Owl Was Way Off in the Distance - Imagine It's Wingspan!

This Very Large Owl Was Way Off in the Distance – Imagine It’s Wingspan!

Impala - (Not the Car!)

Impala – (Not the Car!)

Nyani (Baboon)

Nyani (Baboon)

Kiboko (Hippo) Pool

Kiboko (Hippo) Pool

Hippos Rolling Over Like a Dog - Playing???

Hippos Rolling Over Like a Dog – Are They Playing???

Fisi (Hyena)

Fisi (Hyena)

Blue Monkey

Blue Monkey

Twiga (Giraffe)

Twiga (Giraffe)

Dik Dik - Cute Little Deer Like Animals = Fully Grown Stand About 18" High

Dik Dik – Cute Little Deer Like Animals = Fully Grown Stand About 18″ High

Some Kind of Stork!

Some Kind of Stork!

Baby Baboon (Hungry Baby Baboon!)

Baby Baboon (Hungry Baby Baboon!)

Forgot What This is Called = Sorry!

Forgot What This is Called = Sorry!

Nyumbu (African Buffalo)

Nyumbu (African Buffalo)

This Ornery Tembo Would Not Let Us Pass On Our Way Out. When We Tried to Sneak Past Him, He Turned and Charged - Never a Dull Moment!

This Ornery Tembo Would Not Let Us Pass On Our Way Out. When We Tried to Sneak Past Him, He Turned and Charged – Never a Dull Moment!

And Finally .... Our Safari Group:

And Finally …. Our Safari Group: Me, Dana, the Safari Cook, Michele, Lewis (Our Safari Guide) Hillary and a Safari Guide Apprentice

 

My word count says I should be writing more, but I think I’ll just let the photos do the talking this week. Hope I didn’t overdo it with too many photos!

Only 10 more days before returning to the US – can’t believe how fast the time here in Tanzania has gone! There will be at least one more Chronicle posting – and possibly two before leaving.

 

I hope you enjoyed the photo tour of  Tanzania’s Tarangire, Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara National Parks. Until next week ….

 

Salama,

Gary

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The Tanzanian Experience – Chapter 3

 Chronicle # 6

 July 7, 2014

 

Greetings from Tanzania!

 

Don’t worry (Hakuna Matata!) – A Ride in a Police Car – it really happened = but it was a good thing! More on that later….

Another busy week for Clarinets for Conservation – I can’t believe how fast the weeks are going by. Two weeks from this coming Wednesday I leave for the US – 2 days later I go to a wedding and the next day = off to California for the Bear Valley Music Festival. Time flies when you’re having fun they say!

In last week’s posting, I promised some interesting photos of caterpillars! Here’s the deal: we were leaving Lake Chala last Sunday and came across a string of caterpillars crossing the road – nose to tail stretching all the way across the dirt road:

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Has anyone seen anything like this in the US?? Maybe only in Africa? Anyway = very interesting!

On Monday we performed a program at a Primary School here in Moshi. I wish I could post a video on this blog but … I will try to post it on YouTube. My limited computer skills may or may not allow me to do this but I’ll try. It’s a video of the Clarinets for Conservation teachers playing and the students singing the Tanzanian National Anthem – pretty cool! Hope this works – you’ll enjoy it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXQ76upoI5E&feature=youtu.be

Later on Monday after our teaching at Korongoni we had a serious problem ….. just before leaving we discovered that someone had tied their goat too close to one of our Mpingo trees. The goat decided instead of eating the grass and weeds surrounding the tree to eat the leaves and branches of our dearly beloved Mpingo tree. Debbie had a few words with the goat:

Don't Even Think About Eating Our Mpingo Tree!

Don’t Even Think About Eating Our Mpingo Tree!

 

Wednesday was a special day for C4C. We had a meeting / ceremony with the Commandant at the Police Academy in the morning. We were given some music from the US Air Force Band to give to the Moshi Police Academy Band. We also were given 5 clarinets to pass on to the band. The Commandant was very gracious –we all met in his small office and gave him these gifts. We also played for him the Tanzanian National Anthem and an Adagio by Mozart. He liked the Mozart so much (who doesn’t like Mozart?) he asked us to play it a second time for him! When we finished, we were scheduled to plant some more trees at the Academy but …. it was raining outside. Our driver had already left so the Commandant supplied us with Police cars and drivers to take us home – therefore the title of this Chronicle! Sorry – I imagine you were expecting some exciting story behind that title but in reality = I just wanted to grab your attention!

The Commandant of the Moshi Police Academy

The Commandant of the Moshi Police Academy

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Playing Mozart for the Commandant

Playing Mozart for the Commandant

 

And I must add … as high as the Commandant is in stature in Tanzania, alongside Mark and Ian = maybe not so high!

Mark,                            Ian             Commandant,

Mark, Commandant and Ian

 

Thursday was another field trip with our students – this time to Marangu Falls, a beautiful waterfall on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Our new conservationist – Tara – taught the students about the importance and relationship between water and trees. And as always when we are out with our students, I get a little nutty with my camera! Here are some highlights:

Tara Talking to the Students

Tara Talking to the Students

Statue at the Top of the Waterfall

Statue Carved from Stone at the Top of the Waterfall

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A Favorite Photo

A Favorite Photo

Another Favorite!

Another Favorite!

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Now … following the field trip, Tara insisted we stop and taste some local ‘banana beer’. I’m not much of a beer drinker anyway but … when in Africa …. and everyone else is trying it ….. Okay – the final verdict on banana beer:

!@#$%^&*(*&^%$#@!

!@#$%^&*(*&^%$#@!

 

Friday night after teaching C4C sponsored an Open Mic night at a local café (Union Coffee Shop). Since it was the 4th of July we started with both the Tanzanian and the US National Anthem:

The Star Spangle Banner on the 4th of July - Appropriate Even in Tanzania!

The Star Spangle Banner on the 4th of July – Appropriate Even in Tanzania!

 

A very cool and fun evening with lots of good music!

 

Saturday was our weekly performance and amazing lunch at Melindas’ and SUNDAY = wow – another field trip with the kids to Tumaini University Makumira for their big concert of the year! When I was teaching for a year at Makumira, I wrote a lot about these programs. Today’s concert was great and one of the cute moments happened when a small Tanzanian girl decided to wander across the stage while a Beethoven Violin Sonata was being exquisitely performed! Here are a couple highlights from today’s performance:

African Traditional Dance

African Traditional Dance

I Want to Hear This Up Close!

I Just Want to Hear This Beautiful Music Up Close!

Is it My Turn to Sing Yet? Why is the Mic So High?

Is it My Turn to Sing Yet? Why is the Mic So High?

 

So what happens next? This Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday = Safari!!! Chances are quite good there will be some cool pictures in next weeks blog – don’t miss it!

All for now – hope everyone had a good 4th of July!

Salama,

Gary

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