Saturday, November 19, 2005
Kenyan I-Pod via Pilgrimage to Self
Have I told you lately that I love you?
Bazungu Bucks are a half-baked idea, but the idea grows out of a very significant idea that one way or another we share, and that is the idea of communities of caring. Okay, maybe you don't call it that, but there is an idea we all share something like that. All of you, my friends: Have I told you lately that I love you? Bonds of affection need frequent minding and mending. In our busy lives it's so easy for me to be remiss.
I saw this wonderful picture posted at Black Looks a blog I really love. The author also runs Afrotecnik. She tells about herself: "An African fem living on the margins of Andalucia Spain." Somewhere along the line I had her name. I lost it and keep looking for it as if it's a prize. That's quite silly really because her blogs are what I know of her. And I know there is so much more to her that's really quite outside my community.
My screen name was chosen quickly and with frustration that all my previous choices were already taken. Some of you know me by my given name and that makes me happy. It also makes me happy to share the Kaunda part of myself; facets and flaws I suppose we're all like that.
Tracking back to A Pilgrimage to Self I was very excited by this post What I Know Now I Wish I Had. The idea is for a shared journal mailed among a community with each member filling a spread, an open two pages of the journal, and then sending it along.
I want to do this too. First of all it's a way for us to strengthen our bonds of community together. And Second of all it might be a way for us in our community to share ourselves with a community in far away Africa.
Another half-baked idea. I can see that some might like the first half, i.e.; sharing a portion of theirself among people they know, but not liking the second half, i.e.; sharing with people they don't know halfway around the world. That second part is hard; it's why it's so hard to think up ways to earn Bazungu Bucks.
I'm going to contact my friend Nathan and see if he might start a similar shared journal where he lives that would be shared with us here. I suspect that the same kinds of misgivings may arise there. But I also imagine that there is something very worthwile we can gain by sharing our communities of caring together.
I do not feel hopeless, but in so many ways I think we as people are screwed. Not very eloquent way of putting it, but how to express the knowledge that we're in a heap of trouble? I saw Kurt Vonegut on TV and his perscription was that people form little groups and love one another. He pointed out that one man and one woman plus 2.2 children is not a survival unit. Well, something like that. I don't know what a survival unit really is, but I feel sure that the "loving one another" part is essential.
Other links on my list: I've got quite a few on camels. I was interested in camel reproduction, in particular the challenges of artificial insemination. What I found out is there is plenty of information out there, free, but only if you're a veterinary health professional. It's just as well, because as it turns out artificial insemination for camels is a tough nut to crack. Nevertheless, if "news of the weird" is one of your guilty pleasures in Internet surfing, I do recommend the subject. Otherwise here is a page, All Camels for some fascinating information about camels.
One of the blogs I saw on Pittsburgh Bloggers was i hate the new yorker. I heart The New Yorker but this blog seems really cool. In this post the author introduces a new widget to the blog, library thing. I love widgets, but I suspect the blog author isn't a native Pittsburgher, else would have called it appropriately a "thingy."
In the most recent The New Yorker is a review of Flashman on the March. The review of George MacDonald Fraser's lastest in the line of The Flashman Papers is by John Updike. That Updike reviews is a little reassuring because Flashman is a guilty pleasure of mine, like camel porn. The latest installment finds Flashman on secret assignment in Abyssinia, what roughly is nowadays Ethiopia. I'll wait for this installment to come out in paperback.
Fraser's window into Empire and imperialism are quite accessible. Flashman reminds that if we're making history we're not making it all up. So many of the really crucial events in history are decided by things nobody ever pays attention to; like how a general got out of bed on the wrong side or digestive upset calling the day. But our baser humaness can also be quite tiresome. After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan I was keen to read Flashman in the Great Game. I almost wished I hadn't by the time I finished; almost because as depressing a view of human nature Flashman reveals, his adventures are entertaining.
Ethiopia is in the news currently. The history of the place is so very interesting. I was unfamiliar with the military campaign there Flashman participated in. So I consulted my copy of The Penguin Atlas of African History by Colin McEvedy. McEvedy has a number of very useful atlases of history, they're all very handy and fairly inexpensive. They are wonderful references for putting historical events into some context. The maps are spare, but easy to understand, and McEvedy's writing is pithy.