Mbira travels

Heard from Erica in Zimbabwe

Received an e-mail from Erica saying that all systems were a go on her end for us to come to Zimtreat. She confirmed what Patience said that some places want dollars that are dated 2000 or sooner, not all places. She said to bring new money.

Those of us arriving early will be able to sight see with Erica and Fradreck. We are to bring long skirts and not wear an scented lotions or makeup for a visit with spirit medium of ancient ancestors. This is good news as the all night ceremony with 100 musicians at the end was suspended because of the danger of cholera.

Starting the count down now.

Mbira travels

Getting it together

Today is going to be a day of getting it together, emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  I have one week before heading to Portland to board the plane for Zimbabwe.

This last week and 1/2 have been very difficult and sad as my dad broke his hip in the night a week ago Thursday a.m. He has had a very painful and confused recovery.  The doctors said that no matter what a person of that age goes into the hospital for, surgery or illness, they will become confused. Dad started getting confused when early Thursday morning and has been intermittenly confused since.  I believe it is getting worse where he is.  I fear that he won’t survive the time until I get back but all the family is encouraging me to get out of here for a while. I am going.

I picked up my Malarone malaria pills at Costco on Friday.  They were $197.00 for a 32 day supply.  I wish I would have talked to Joseph first as he used doxycyline at a fraction of the cost.  I still need to get cipro, Zithromax (Cholera) , and Doxycyline (for African Tick Bite Fever).

I have only played a little this week.  I would play for dad but he isn’t that much for the mbira.  My mom loves it.

I heard from Patience in Zimbabwe that we need to bring money that is dated 2000 or more.  In Zimbabwe currency expires so many feel that any currency will expire.

More later..  I am packing many things for storage as there will be many people through the house here while I am gone.

Mbira travels


Today is about listing and relisting things to be done and articles to be accumulated before leaving for Erica’s Zimtreat at Bushbaby lodge in Arcturus, Zimbabwe.  The retreat actually starts on February 14th with a team of mbira teachers coming one day and then the next day we practice what we learned with Erica and on our own or in small groups.  Instead of an all night bira which was planned for February 28 ending on March 1st (Sunday morning), Erica hopes to take us to see at least one spirit medium of an ancient ancestor.  She is working with Patience to set this up. The threat of cholera has made a large group celebration (100 musicians) difficult.

While I would have loved a bira, the idea of seeing a smaller ceremony with a spirit medium is very interesting to me.  Patience own mother is a nganga healer and works with the spirit of the mermaids. More connection with ceremony around the ancestors and Patience’s deep understanding of the healing aspects of the mbira will be a most welcomed part of the trip.

My friend, Joseph Stevenson, traveled to the last Zimtreat in 2006 and was deeply moved and connected by the experience of working directly with the Zimbabwe teachers and settling down on the soil of the earth of Zimbabwe. His recording on a Zoom H4 of Forward singing low bass notes that vibrate in your whole body and descriptions of working with Luken Pasipamere and Newton Gwara (with a trip into Harare to listen at a local hot spot) also Patience and Endiby (her brother) carry the energy of the music as one would only hope one could experience.  He inspired me to go for this trip even though the news from Zimbabwe is dismal.

I still need a prescription for Cipro, Doxycycline (for African tick bite fever), and a dose of Zithromax (Cholera related).  I do have my prescription for Malarone to take for Malaria though we are cautioned to use mosquito repellent and long sleeves to avoid a mosquito bite.  While there are reports of ticks because the cattle are not being treated for ticks as they were, the mosquito population isn’t reported to be a problem where we are going.

I am looking for a Solio charger for my cell phone.  This will have to be purchased on directly from Solio or through Amazon as Target or Batteries Plus in Southern Oregon do not carry the product as Solio lists on their web site.  We can text message in Zimbabwe with a plan for $9.99 for 100 messages.  I assume my phone will cooperate and be willing to be recharged via a couple of options.  Electricity is sketchy so we must find other ways to use our modern conveniences.  A head lamp is recommended for evening practice if one would like to see their fingers.  Not always necessary but good to have and leave behind.

Somewhere in the blog, I will list all the travel support items that are recommended to take..  I am sure others could add to the list.

I invite anyone who is reading to comment on anything I have written or any suggestions you might have for travel to Zimbabwe.  We will be picked up at the Harare airport.  This thought is very comforting.

I will e-mail this installment to my blog, thanks to Nicholas’ good directions and help setting up the blog.  If I have any e-mail ability at all in Zimbabwe, I will post to the blog via e-mail or perhaps text message (will have to try this).  Thanks for reading.

Mbira travels

Old friend wants to travel

My Charles Ruhukwa mbira in workshop pitch (nyamaropa) wishes to travel back to Zimbabwe.

Nyamaropa workshop pitched

Mbira travels

Mbira’s seeking travel to Zimbabwe

Mbiras quizzed about desire to travel to Zimbabwe

Mbira travels

I have ingested dose three of four oral typhoid vaccine capsules

Have ingested dose three of four oral typhoid vaccine capsules. Feel
really unsettled later in the day. Next time I am going for the shot.

Two mbira are requesting that I take them to the homeland. One made by Charles Ruhukwa and one by Tute Chigamba. Perhaps an odd question for mbira but the were quite receptive. I have always left my
Chigamba mavembe mbira in charge when I go somewhere. Now I will have to ask for another volunteer.

My newest Bvure (Cosmas pitched) wanted to go home with my niece who learned Karigamombe this weekend. She played all the way back to Southern California, teaching my brother, Greg, the new song at a rest stop. She is a natural and at 16 already knows that part of her
destiny is to travel to Africa. The next generation is so inspiring.

A New York Times article highlighting the deteriorating situation in
Zimbabwe was posted Saturday on Dandemutande. I once again panicked about traveling there. Fortunately Marilyn K from Eugene responded with calm and encouragement.

I have been lucky to get encouragement from veteran players like
Rosalie who have been there and can verify what is needed for travel.
Also to help ground free floating fear.

Thank you, Marilyn. Thank you, Rosalie!

Sent from my iPhone

Mbira travels

This is my first blog day

This is my first blog day. There are three weeks before boarding the
plane. I’m feeling a little challenged by having my flight to
Amsterdam chopped in two. It would have been nonstop but northwestern stopped direct flights on Mondays.

My first dose of typhoid has found it’s way into my system. Three to
go.  I need an additional hepatitis B shot before going.

Sent from my iPhone