Saturday, May 30, 2009

treid to post some pictures

but it didn;t work.
tyhat might need to wait until I'm back.
gotta head back to the center now - I am getting hungry and am looking for\ward to whatever delicious Roase has prepared for me today. Plus it's time for my malarai tablets.
aka - the white lady

my flirting with quasi-blackness and cross heritage (completely fabriced, true) doesn't quite work here.
but I still have more then 3 weeks left. My drumming is getting good, my dress is being made and Kobbi is twisting my hait tomorrow.
And my skin loves the sun.

4 days in Ghana

I new it was going to be excting. different. challenging.
but i had bo idea.
almost not worth wrting about. i would need for 4 days of writing to summarize 4 days of living here.
so here is my random, ran-on set of thought and impressions, inno particular order.
on my wa to the internet cafe (yes, there is one in kopeyia. aboiut 25 min walk from dagbe center. haven't yet taken a cab by myself, for no other reasob then wanting to walk, both for excersize and for getting aquainted) - I raub into a sead dog, a dead bird, a dead snake and a dead lizzard.
and several live animals - chickensm, goats, lizzards and bugas are everywhere. rats or mice (can't tell) here and there.
started teaching 2 days ago, only to realize VERY soon, then the teacher need education just as much as the kids. Mora actually, but it is very dificult to jave that approcah with the elderly here.
I teach english, together with 2 other "madames". grammar, reading - writing, literature.
That's what the school headmaster suggested and aproved.
I proposed that I teach and art class, computer music (I have my laptop with loginc here) and the organize the performance project before I leave.
He agreed.
Their teaching style is strict, rigid, by the books.
Some teachers beat the kids. I cried.
Children are nice, polite, on time.
They come to school at 7 am everyday to clean around the school.
But then again, everyione throws garbage in the street and on the roads.
There's water containers and mango pits everywhere.
Noone cleansd that.
Nor will the animal corpses I found on the way.
Of sourse then - bugs and infections everywhere.

It is hot here. about 90 and humid.
Tonight rained heavily. Real tropcal downpour.

One hears reamote drumming andf singing all the time. comes from hearby villages. Carried by open air.
There is a lot of time here. A lot of space.

I asked Paul yesterday - so what do you do when you' are not teaching drums.
Just hanging - he says.
Sometimes, he delovres a message to someone else for a small tip.
Paul is always around me, I can ask him to help me with anything, and I would still muchg rather treat him as friend.
He'd stillmuch rather I treat him as "personal assistent".
And I will not use any othert definition.
Paul is one on 9 children, but 2 died. He doesn't know when and what from.
His fathger was sick for two years before he died.
I asked him what he died from - he said he didn't know. He was just sick and sick and the doctor said he souln't help fim.

Life is cheap here. It is sad.

I am takng drumming lessons with the Dagbe teachers. I would like to brinmg in a group of students to them next year.
Also wil;l try to have loptop donated to start a music tech program.

I undferstand better waht robert was telling me- it is not up to us to build the kopyia ourselves. but to help them realize and understand how they can help themselves.

People are friednly and somehow "muted" hgappy. Noy quite sure how to explain it.
It's just a feeling of one big mute over the village...

But the exists just the same as everywhere.
Care, need, greed, jelousy, competition, rivalry.
Except - losses here can be fatal.....

no time to spell check, figure it out

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

leaving today

cannot sleep. 7 am and I am up.
had an AMAZING benefit dinner party at Kafana last nite. I am so fortunate to have so many such wonderful friends. On this continent.
Now, let's go make some more on another.
I am actually going to take an 8:30 yoga class.
can at 1:30
sweeeeeet carmen is going to the airport w me. what an angel.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Two days before I leave

I am so excited, I can hardly breathe.
I've packed, mostly.
Half of the suitcase - school supplies, half my clothes (really basic), cosmetics and a HUGE amount medical - hygiene supplies.
It makes me feel really stupid and paranoid.
Malaria Tablets
Diarrhea tablets - 2 kinds (mild and strong)
Insects repellent
Wet towelettes
Alcohol pads
Paper tissues
Protective gloves
I can't even remember it all.
WTF - I never even get sick!
Anyhow - it was all listed as DO NOT FORGET!!!
and people keep telling em - be careful
don't be brave
Cool. I will not play with snakes and have unprotected sex.
all I am really scared of is nightmares from the malaria tablets, but I had my share of those once in my teenage days, and they were pretty sever for quite a while. I think I learned how to cope.
And from all my days with experimenting with drugs - I learned to separate "real" feelings from the "chemically caused" ones.

I managed to raise quite a bit of money and even more buzz about this. When I get back, I'll swim right back in, with more people knowing about this and waiting for updates, offering suggestions, etc.

I think I have a really good idea as to what I want to start there. But shhhhh, I will tell when I am ready.

I still need to figure out a few things, how to use the phone there is one of them.
I need to have it unlocked (so I can use it with the Ghanaian local simm card there) but the AT&T are giving me a huge headache about it.

Just so you know, dear reader, if you need to do that - do it a week or so ahead; it takes time.
And be persistent about requesting it done - the representative might want to tell you it's impossible, or that you need to go to a third party dealer and pay money for it.

I need to take care of my subleter, get the ACs up so he's nice and cool here while I am sweating at 90 degrees in Kopeyia, which I don't mind.
I have been taking Bikram Yoga for over 2 months now, and my body is nicely adjusted to the heat. Which I enjoy to begin with.

Allright, that's it for now.

(ps - and of course, life is getting really exciting here in NY for me. if yu know waht i mean. times 3!!! what a nice shift!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

4 days left

this has been the most intense period of my life I ever. at leats as I can remember. aaaaaaaaaaah.
i leave on monday.
haven't packed yet - have a weekend to do that.
I need to do a few more - things:
pick up malaria tablets
get the insect repellent- I can't find any!!!
unlock the phone (so I can use it with a ghanaian simcard there)
get cash out of the bank
cancel netflix
pay all june bills
put up air - conditioners for Jakab who'll be staying at my place
make a "how to"note for him
make an automatic e-mail reply
organize $$$ transfer from kgfs
print Robert's letters
dinner at kafana monday
remind emanuel

what am i forgetting?
and what if I forget something?
it's just a month...

people are saying that malaria tablets have crazy side effects, like making people depressed, paranoid and causing nightmares. I guess I'll know monday.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

BB tonight

benefit #2
crazy tired from having done a show 3 times in he last 3 days.
but no time to feel tired.
just wired.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


hit song from the DJ benefit (which, BTW, was an amazing night!)

a quick break

and shift of focus.
rehearsing all week this week and +, have finals at Juilliard.
busy times.
can't seem to find the right kind of insect repellent in the pharmacies.
or desinfectant.
or barely operated shaver.
must NOT forget malaria tablets next time I go see the doctor (for the final 2 shots. @ $100 each. damn!)
A "surprise" check arrived yesterday - sooooooooo nice.

Friday, May 8, 2009


arrived today!!!!!!!
2nd yoga benefit went really well.
now off to the DJ benefit at Negrita.
Super excited!!!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

challegnes on the way

... of course - there are.
and there will be more - in presume.
there will be people on your path that will want to tag along your hard work for a bit of credit for what you are doing or money that you are or simply to use your (voluntary, heartfelt) work for their own (profitable) benefit.
and even though you're seeing instances of immoral behavior like that EVERY day - all of a sudden, when it applies to your work and your project - you cannot believe it's happening.
well, guess what. believe it.
cause you don't want to get screwed over. it's not about you any more. so you have to NOT let those children get screwed over.
you see it all the time - someone with a little money and charm, a sleek westerner, enters a community, pretending to be visionary. an investor in the future of the community. its betterment.
when in fact they are creating their own little kingdom, most likely a tourist retreat, making native people selling themselves short.
I don't think so!

In other news -
today I got fabulous news form Sonar (Barcelona) that I have been granted (again, second year in a row) a journalist pass. That means I get to see all the Sonar shows for free, and get to write about it after.
The only problem is - it happens on 18.19.20. June 2009.
Right at the end of my Ghana visit. Frustrated for about minute (what do you mean I can't do it ALL!) - I had a brilliant idea, just after my yoga class (and yes, in case you are still in doubt, yoga DOES help. with everything.)
Idea so good - I cannot share it here. An idea that is 3 parts impossible, and one part genius.
Therte a little trick when it come to "impossible" situations - just look it over, think about it, and kick it up a notch. make it a bit MORE impossible. 9 times out of 10, there is a hidden solution, and it is NOT about making the impossible easier, just the contrary.

I went to BB last night to get a sense of the Karaoke benefit in two weeks. Glad I did. Not into Karaoke much myself, but people seem to enjoy it. Discussed it with the owner (thanks Adrianne) and the Karaoke master Bill, and they were both fine with the idea of making it a little more specific (announce my project, choose related set-lists) and flexible - I can do my own tracks, and so can my artist friends - so it can almost be like an open mic event. More appealing to my target audience.

I need to get another shot of Hepatitis Vaccine and it turns out I lost my refill. Hopefully, they will not give me fuss about writing up another prescription (it did take me 2 days to even get Jackie, the secretary, on the phone...).
So an advice - if you're taking your vaccines in NY, and you doctor FORGETS to mention that there is refill written on your prescription - do not throw it out.

I met up with Robert Levin (KPGS founder) today, and he gave me about 1 medium suitcase worth of goodies to take to Kopeyia. Mostly gifts for children - pens, pencils, markers, crayons...
Of course I had 'yes" when he first asked me to bring "several pens" over, but was SHOCKED at the quantity - size.
I thought I'd travel light.....
Ah - he also gave me several CDs of Ghanaian music - which I will be selling at my benefits.
Together with my own.

OK, back to work
make baggies
GOLD - $ 50+, 2 CD, Certificate of donation, invitation to events, signed with a personal thank you note)
SILVER - $30 - $50 1 CD (milica's or Ghana music, Certificate of donation, invitation to events, signed with a personal thank you note)
BASIC - W$30 and below (invitation to events, signed with a personal thank you note)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

if you'd like to support

may 3

yesterday was a crazy day.
in the evening, i re-met and old acquaintance, and guess what - his family is from ghana!
he wants to help. it seems that every day there's something unexpected that opens up in the right direction. i really have a good feeling about this.
invited a bunch of people to the DJ party next friday.
have to figure out my vaccine next week for sure.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Moving along

Friday, May 1, 2009

Today I had my first benefit event at Bikram Yoga East Harlem Studio.

They offer pay-what-you-can one class every week, Fridays 4 4:30 and the proceeds go to various charities.
They most generously decided to give me the ENTIRE may (5 classes) to raise the funds for Give to Grow.
I was beyond touched.
Today was the first one of the series.
I made a little gift bag for everyone - the CD with samples of my "world"-ish music, the flyer with the info, the list of other benefit events.
1 - DJ benefit party at La Negrita, Hosted by DJ Lightbolt, May 8 11PM, 999 Columbus Ave, New York, NY 10025
2 - Karaoke Night Benefit at Billie’s Black – May 19 7PM – midnight, Billie’s Black, 271 West 119th Street, New York, NY 10026
3 - Benefit dinner at Kafana, May 25 7PM - 116 Avenue C
New York, NY 10009
4 - Bikram Benefit - Take "pay what you can" Bikram Yoga class any Friday in May at 4:30 PM at the Yoga - East Harlem Studio, 4 East 116th Street, 2nd Floor, New York, New York 10029)

There were about 10 people in class, and perhaps I was imagining, but I felt that class was my best ever - I was so uplifted.
It rained out and it was hot in - kind of like what I expect the weather to be like in Ghana in June (the rainy season), the air was dense and my insides were smiling.
After the class, Alma introduced herself to me.
Her family is from Ghana, she says.
They live in Accra.
We had a great little chat and will stay in touch.

I'm taking my Friday night easy.