Tug-of-War, Our Mad World

(Nov 2014)

Many hours are spent in a haze, feeling somewhere between lonesomeness and curiosity. The labyrinth of Tanzanian activity, the swell of the young,  the maze of enterprising pursuits, the discrepancy of social structures collide in mushrooming town centers, organic developments, split commercialism and precarious opportunities in contrast to realities. A wave of bleakness clouds my spirit as I try to process our world’s framework of justice and freedoms relative to different societies and social/political systems, the tug-of-war of power and position, the age old quest of humankind.

I force myself out of my hotel room, sit at the bar and become social with a young Tanzanian lady; I’d say early 30’s. I know I am in a funk but I am a realist, so using my manners I politely make an introduction. Our worlds are different, I know this, but I believe people do better when they are present, when they engage, listen and learn from one another instead of judge. If you’re literate, you can read and absorb facts and figures and stats of the world but to gain insight of circumstances and perspectives of experience one must step out of their brain and surrender “what we think we know.”

With my approach, I have been fortunate to experience some local life in Tanzania with new found friends and work partners, providing insight into everyday life of good people trying to make their way just as anywhere in the world. In contrast, I have also been the foreigner, the minority and the visitor who has spent hours on end questioning the unfamiliar and processing shared human concerns correlating with motives inherent to environmental circumstances. I pick up the local papers and read topics spanning from murderous witchcraft targeting Tanzanian Albinos to tedious adoption regulations making it next to impossible to take-in one of the 3 million orphans in Kenya to staggering food and security scarcities in the slums.

The thread for my continued commitments in Tanzania has been professional creative pursuits, but the fabric itself is made of fibers that are much more personal, the shared human kind. While I have objectives, goals and action items that are centric for the success of the creative venture, I also feel I have a responsibility to take the experiences quite seriously and create bridges where possible.

I am not the first, nor will I be the last to feel overwhelming frustrations of our mad world and I hope to continue to unveil what is underneath the blinding absurdity which is potential, talent, creativity and hope.

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