Monday, January 23, 2012

Out of Africa! gorillas, festivals, rain and blessings


The trip to Rwanda just materialized. I had heard about the Genocide Memorial years ago from Catriona and had felt a pull to go and offer a Music Meditation there but Africa seemed so far away, so many shots and immunizations to take….. When I heard that the first folk festival in Kigali (the capital of Rwanda) was being planned and if I played there I could combine that event with a Music Meditation at the Memorial, I figured I could go to Africa on the way to Ireland! Luckily I decided in my heart that I was meant to go before I checked on a map and saw that it was a bit further then I had anticipated.

Rwanda was totally unexpected for me - this is really surprising but it reminded me of Japan in so many ways. The people are very kind and reserved;
their demeanour is very much like the Japanese. 
The aesthetic is also often similar; sometimes I would see a garden and feel like I was in Japan.

Some of the beautiful countryside was also similar to the Japanese landscape.
And of course both peoples have experienced huge grief and managed to carry on and rebuild.

Playing at the Genocide Memorial was one of the most powerful Music Meditations of my life. It wasn't painful, it felt peaceful but also with huge energy moving through me at the same time. Again, similar to during the trip to Japan, I felt a multitude of souls but this time all arrayed behind me and part of the energy that was coming through with the music.
It was profound and beautiful and I am so glad I went to Africa and offered this Music Meditation. 2011 was the year to do it for sure and it was also the year for me to experience this connection between Japan and Rwanda.

Now the BEST thing ever.

I climbed a mountain, went into the jungle and hung out with gorillas!!!!!!!!
It was truly one of the neatest things I have ever done. I had no idea how fantastic it would be.
The gorillas are just incredible, their eyes are so soulful. I loved every minute of being with them, we were just a few feet away and of course I had a fun encounter. I had my cute little pink camera and I was getting fabulous footage of the 500 pound silverback male (big) gorilla walking towards me.  Then suddenly my camera is all juggled around as the guide picks me up by the shoulders and moves me over - 
I was in the gorilla's favourite spot 
I guess! The big guy flopped down
on his back with a huge sigh of relaxation. Wow.   
Then one by one all the other gorillas, including the cutest little
babies, came and cuddled together. 

I loved their hands and fingers.
Folks have asked me if I was scared and I wasn't in the least.
The only unnerving thing were the 'gorilla calming noises' the main guide made, weird grunting sounds, so that the gorillas would know where we were at all times. The really good thing about this gorilla visiting program is that they are now protected at all times and no longer killed by poachers.
As we left a group of armed guards were there to keep the gorilla family safe.

some of the incredible video footage from Rwanda:

The Kigali Up Folk Festival was great!
Congratulations to The Mighty Popo for arranging this wonderful event.
We had a wee bit of rain (actually it poured buckets)  and I played for groups of folks huddled under the tents. Everyone was so excited to hear my flute and to listen to my talks about Healing Music. Rwanda is a country on the upswing, lots of new construction,
lots of new events and lots of positive, healing energy among the people.

- copyright debbie danbrook - an excerpt from the 2011 healing music memoirs

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