Sunday, September 4, 2011


If, by chance, you find yourself working for an NGO in Africa, trying to convince people to join your organization, you may be presented with the concept of the wonderful, the splendid, the ever dazzling and resplendent, MUSIC TRUCK!!!!!!

If you are not familiar with this so called music truck, it is an aptly named vehicle, or truck rather, that drives through the villages blaring popular music from speakers that are clearly too big for the truck, and appears only to be meant for warfare scenarios in which one desires to deafen their enemies. Nonetheless, this “music truck” moves through these areas much in the way of a magical pied piper. As it jostles about the rocky and degraded roads, it’s cacophony of notes entices people, somehow saying to them, “come one, come all, and merely listen to the people who have brought this magnificent phenomenon to your village.”

While I had not seen any Music Trucks in my adult life, in my childhood I became well aware of the concept and its magnetic results. Thus, when presented with the idea, how could I pass it up? Our goal was to get our farmers excited about the upcoming season and see if we could not get everyone in the surrounding areas to learn of our organization’s greatness, and that surely they would love nothing better than to join us and VUNA ZAIDI – harvest more!

The two directors in my district and myself set about making the arrangements to cause this brilliant idea to come to life. Surely all we would have to do was get the Music Truck and multitudes would flock to see what wonderful things might ensue. But then it struck us, what do we do with these people we've called forth from their quotidian lives and activities? What will we show them to make them excited? We were fresh out of bearded ladies and I don’t think my manager (president of his juggling club in college) would have volunteered to be the main attraction – although I can tell you white people (mzungu) are a draw enough, and a juggling mzungu could pretty much make people’s list for the craziest thing they’d seen that year.

We decided on the RAFFLE: a common form of entertainment for hordes of people that extends a tantalizing aura of excitement and anticipation to its spectators. Who will win the car? Will I win a trip to Asia? Those were the questions that immediately popped up in my mind – I was sorely mistaken. The prizes we landed on were not my first pick, but I was assured would be exciting. For third place, wait for it, a bar of soap. Not a special bar of soap, not a bar of soap that would last a year, but a regular bar of soap. Second place got a something bit more rousing; a chicken would be the prize of these lucky winners. And for our grand prize, our big finale, two goats would be bestowed upon two favored grand-prize winning farmers.

The weeks endeavors began in what could only be classified as a total and utter….failure. The music truck was late, there were no speakers ready to coax even a small rabble to the raffle, our employees were nowhere to be seen. Oh, how splendid an idea the Music Truck was. But, it was only 8am or, 2am Kenya time – I don’t mean from the different time zones, but time in Kenya starts at 6am, so 7am is actually 1 in the morning. Anyway, there was yet to be a thrilling day ahead of us…..

1 comment:

  1. I've been composing for the wrong medium this whole time!