Thursday, April 22, 2010

Did You Come to the OKGO concert?

It was AMAZING. 400 fans from 3 generations came out to an all ages booze free show at Earth House last night. Sponsored by My Old Kentucky Blog, Earth House proved that it can be a premiere venue for national touring acts. So now what???

Come to our concert May 1st called "Resonance", and be a part of effort to raise money so that we can purchase our own system. When this happens, we will be able to have shows like OKGO on a regular basis!

If everyone who loves Earth House invites 5 friends to this event we can make a dent in this quest for new gear. Check the website for the lineup of stellar musicians, dancers, and performance artists performing at "Resonance"

Did you take pictures at the OKGO show?? Email them to us!

You make Earth House possible. Thank you.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Post from Mat Davis in Senegal

I work on a on a small-scale farm in Gorom 2. The owner of the farm is named Pate Diop. He was a policemen for 32 years and then began cultivating his father’s farm. Pate has a huge family. Polygamy exists in Senegal, so Pate supports two wives and I don’t know how many kids all by what gets produced at the farm. There is no other form of income. There is an African tradition of family farming, and one day Pate wants his entire family to work on the farm. Pate told me he saw a lot of things while he was a policemen and he wants in particular young people in his family to use agriculture to stay out of trouble. He wants to use his family land as a community center of sorts.

Your browser may not support display of this image. I have been using urban gardening for young people in my community in the same way for the last four years, so when he said that it really resonated with me. Pate always talks about his hopes and dreams and goals and sometimes I forget he is 57. Not everyday do you meet people that age talk about their hope and dream. Let alone someone who is 57 and working in the developing world. That is one thing that I really admire about Pate.

That’s why I have no problem waking up every Wednesday and Thursday morning (sometimes everyday of the week) at 7am while even the sun is still asleep to go watering 500 tomatoes 200 peppers, onions, mint, and bissap (indigenous fruit) all by hand. The equipment we use to water is constructed from: the tops and bottom of plastic gasoline containers to hold water and a stick in the middle nailed to the container to carry it. Each one filled with water weight about 7 kilos which is around 15 pounds. After two weeks my shoulders got huge! I work with pate’s family and we’ve all become close. Daouda, Moussa, Manjaay: without this them I wouldn’t have perfected my plant watering skills. A lot of things run through my head while I lug around 30 pounds water over and over. I think a lot about development. I think about how much more we could grow if Pate had an irrigation system instead of gas containers. And how agriculture is the base for development in not only Senegal but most of Africa.

Senegal is 70% rural, which means 70% are farmers but in Senegal’s Sahelian climate there is no water and only 2% of cultivators here can afford a pump. Pate has saved up large sums of his money in order to buy two and still he doesn’t get desired result! I have learned that most African governments promise subsidies for agriculture which in turn promises development only to win votes. This has continued a perpetual cycle of self-interest started by the French during colonization and carried through independence and into today via African bureaucracy. Agricultural development in Africa has had a very stark history and it will take an end of self-interest and a long-term vision along with political action to develop it.

Pate is one of the first people to talk to me about the politics and realities of agriculture in Africa. Pate says, “I have the vision and ambition to develop my farm but I don’t have the materials and finding markets are hard.” Another thing I admire about him is that he works hard and he is humble. He favorite saying is “petit par petit,” or little by little.

Recently, to explore the questions I’ve encountered working with Pate, I set up a meeting with USAID in Dakar and they said that anything I want to know I can ask and they want me to work with them to so it’s a win-win for everyone. I sent in my questions to them so it will be interesting to see what comes of that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Blog post from Mat Davis, on assignment in Africa

The Geechi.

The words African and American have never carried so much weight as they did while I was on Goree Island. When I was in Dakar, I went to Goree alone because I knew that it would be a special experience for me and I knew that the fellows would respect that. I took a ferry to the island and when I was sitting on the boat I couldn’t stop thinking about my family and our history.

My father’s side of family has knowledge of our origins in America. A lot was retained orally. I know the slave port where my family comes from. It’s called Paris Island. Paris Island is a tiny port outside the Carolinas. The slaves on Paris Island were annexed to the mainland in the 20’s and it’s now a US Marines base. Paris Island like most slave ports carried over a lot of African culture despite enslavement. The culture and language that comes from Paris Island is called Geechi. Almost all of my family down south is Geechi and can some of the language. I take pride in being a fifth generation Geechi and in knowing the history of not only my family but my people in general. Earlier this year I did some research on Paris Island and found that the slaves from that port originated from Mali, Senegal, Guinea and possibly Benin. Once I heard that GCY was sending me to Senegal I knew that it was going to be much more significant than just another “cross cultural” experience.

When the ferry was approaching the island I kept staring at it as a means for mediation trying to clear my head of all pre-conceived notions and expectations. The ferry docked and I got off and completely stunned by the beauty of the Goree. I found a guide and who was a friend of a friend. His name was Babacar he took me on a tour around the island. I learned many facts about Goree on the island. We had lunch and we talked about the challenges in Senegal and in Africa in general. After lunch we went to the “Maison des Esclaves” (house of slaves). I had read so many books about the conditions and treatment slaves but to actually be at one of the main ports where my ancestors were held was surreal. While I was there I walked through the holding cells and the “Door of No Return”.

That visit was huge for me it was the first time I ever felt African and American at the same time. Usually since I’m Black and live in America, I have to constantly be aware of race and, contrary to popular belief, racism isn’t over. We won’t eradicate racism until we deal with the realities that slavery is not far removed and the practices have taken on different forms in today’s world. Goree for me represents the birthplace of the duality of Black America that’s why the visit was so impactful for me. Every question and every answer was right there.

The rest of the day I walked around the island and talked to the locals (not the tourists) and was taken back by all positive energy on the island. I was humble in many ways on Goree. But more than anything I was humbled by our human capacity to come to peace with reality and find ways to heal.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Movie Night - April 29th, 7:00 pm @ Earth House!

Indianapolis based production company Venogram, LLC will creeen a quartet of short works, including the premiere of thier latest film "Thank You For Calling Information Dynamics", on Thursday, April 29th at the Earth House - 237 N. East St. Indianapolis IN, 46204. Tickets will be available the night of the event at the Earth House for $5. Additional entertainment will be provided by A-squared Industries.

The mundaneness of everyday existence dominate the lives of a spread of character working for a govenment bureau charged with executing and covering up assassinations in "Thank You For Calling Information Dynamics", a darkly comic thriller produced in 2009. Also showing are the award winning "Red Harvest", "An Everyday Occurance", and the premiere of 'Singer/Tastemaker" video by We are Hex.