If you can walk, you can dance.
If you can talk, you can sing.
— Saying from Zimbabwe


    I had no idea how lucky I was.

    I stared dreamily out the window toward the tops of the African Mahogany and Umbrella trees in the morning sun, sometimes singing along, sometimes just staring. A great surge of human voices enveloped me in an ocean of sweet harmonies.

    Nobody in that group was afraid to sing…

    And after church my family and several others would get together for a home cooked dinner—and no one in that group was afraid of home cookin’ either.

    In fact, there was no such thing as “going out” unless you were invited to someone’s home which was often. So it never really occurred to you that you might be missing out on anything yummy. And you weren’t.

Pounding Rice  

Pounding Rice in DR Congo, Africa


    The concept of “fast food” didn’t yet exist, let alone the concept of eating—or doing most anything very fast, for that matter.

    And there was no turning on the radio to get music. That also you made yourself.

    It was a time when, after eating dinner by lamplight, you could fall asleep to handmade polyrhythmic drumbeats in the distance. It was a time when mourners at a funeral could loudly wail out their grief without thought of embarrassment. Or dancers at a ritual could shake their fannies uninhibited. And, especially as it was the only way it could be done, mothers could breast feed their babies without having to cover up.

    It was a time when most people still believed more in magic than they did in money.

    The spring from which we drew our water still bubbled up sweetly from the clean sand of the forest floor before passing the Kola tree, who occasionally dropped her fruit into her before she wended her way into the mysterious depths of the forest which was still there too, until she joined the Lolua, eventually added her volume to the home of the crocodiles in the Ituri and then finally joined the mighty Congo river before becoming part of the South Atlantic.

    It was also a time when a forest-dwelling nomad might cover her eyes for dizziness on her first car ride or stand stock still in front of the church, in vast bewilderment at the concept of a door.

    They say that every dark cloud has a silver lining. And for myself too, not even music anymore is persuasion to darken the doorway of a fundamentalist church. But all the same, I do still agree with one or two things from scripture such as, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    And I still think that taking your time to enjoy what you do is a good thing; that homegrown food and cooking is the best; that everyone should dance as well as sing… And in addition to laughing, wailing out your grief should be nothing to be ashamed of either…

    My reminiscence of the cool rainy season relief from sultry jungle heat with the arrival of billowing storm clouds and of my time in Africa is expressed in this song.


      Mawingu (Clouds):

Mawingu (cloud)

Cloud over DR Congo, Africa 

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I'm writing on behalf of the South Fraser Gogos ( to thank you so much for your fantastic contribution to our Potluck Evening. You made the Grandmothers welcome quite spectacular and one I'm sure they will remember.

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