19 September 2008

Swear-in Photo

Meditations: ultraLOVE

UltraLOVE


Amassing the cool of this evening’s breeze
You exist of me
Half fearful
Wholly certain
That our ultraLOVE distracts my reality
Rains sweet pepper and cinnamon from my hands to my mind’s oasis
Blurs the brown of my skin
Leaves us suspended at the edge of the earth
broke
Incredibly divine…
Wandering-forthcoming-and spent
Our world!
bewildered
selfishly content
where our thoughts beam the color of marvelous sapphire

-Ryan Forbes Morris

Bass Heavy Dub Beats: The Cure for Incurable Lackluster

Bass Heavy Dub Beats: the cure for incurable lackluster

It’s the eighties baby…
So pick a dub.
And watch the werewolf scientist
Slowly disassemble your unmiraculous comportment to stay loose.
You instinctively pronounced that your dreary mediocrity was indestructible?
Alas,
Don’t sweat the technique…and watch Him resurrect the iLLest love to forcefully intrude your misery
Where /FLY /nineteen sixty seven[1967] neon blue rushes the tape deck-
Drips from baobab leaves
And burns chocolate AFRObeat to the concrete.
Let the DUBmaster reverberate your soul to the tipping point
engage your swift inattention…
profoundly transforming your sad sorrows
to champion’s requiem.
It’s the eighties baby…where on January 32nd you’ll no longer inhabit suspicious gravity as drifter...
or beg the skies for generous reprieve
because you will feel the ground tremble
and realize that your paradise resides with the silk city dubalicious sense of things.

-Ryan Forbes Morris

18 September 2008

Community Sketches: Hi-DEF Nigerien Feats

When deliciously cool nights hit these urban streets, the whisking motorcycles and cars pay reverence to the evening’s coal black, star studded attire. In the evening, this neighborhood lacks dimension. In its vastness, in its intangible being, soft, gentle voices move through the streets where greetings and salutations inundate this floating night world. “Salaam aleikuum” they say, swaying to the rhythm of prayer beads that swing in their hands, passionately engaging each street-side city dweller with a human warmth that sends chills down my spine. This floating world of evening blankets the moving figures of men and women that sit beneath the stars, and release the flavors of green tea leaves and sugar to adjacent city walls, where conversation is easy and endless. Two nights have passed, and I am slowly settling into my house and this community. City life is dramatically different from life at the training site, but I love it here. There is vibrant warmth in this city that is so intriguing. My neighbors are very friendly, and each night after dinner, I sit outside with them to practice speaking Hausa and French. Last night, a neighbor and I had a really interesting conversation about the mixing of culture with globalization. We talked a little bit about the idea of integration into a community but also the idea of culture. He told me that when he first learned about the United States, he thought that everyone just had one dominant over-arching culture. He didn’t know that there were myriad cultures in the United States that all contribute to the distinctness of our country. I admitted to him that before coming to Niger, I knew nothing of the different ethnic groups and national practices of Niger. He wasn’t surprised, and told me that he has to often remind people that there is a country called Niger north of Nigeria. As it became later, my neighbor began to ask me about how Africa is perceived in the world. This is probably one of the most difficult questions to answer because I could never speak for anyone but myself. I told him that countries in Africa and in other parts of the developing world are too closely linked with their statistics. For instance, when students in the developed world are asked about the continent of Africa, oftentimes they are only able to regurgitate statistics about the prevalence of certain maladies or the level of poverty. But, these statistics do not speak to the beauty of the cultures and traditions that exist in these nations. While I was in college, each student was required to take a course called “Cultures and Traditions” in which we had a module on “Africa.” Now that I’ve been living in Niger for over two months, I realize how ridiculous something like that sounds. You could spend an entire semester studying the eight ethnic groups of Niger, their traditions, their languages, and the literature of Niger. I live in Niger, and I’m still learning (and will be learning for two years) about the reality of living in a Muslim country and surrounded by cultures that are not my own. Sitting and talking with my neighbors has really expanded my perspective, and I think it has also really affected their view of the United States.
I will begin work next week. I’m going to start out working with the Parent-Student-Teacher organizations that are in charge of finding funding for school supplies and regulating the quality of teaching in the classrooms. All of my coworkers are back from vacation and they seem very ready to begin work. We’ve been instructed to not conduct any large projects for the first three months, and to try to work on our language skills and integrate into our communities. Just in case you were wondering, acquisition of local language = integration. One of the officials that works at the Bureau told us that it generally takes volunteers about 10 months to really get a good grasp of the language, so I guess I have a lot of work to do!

12 September 2008

It's the eighties baby...SO PICK A DUB

Training is done today! Tonight, we will be officially sworn in at the Ambassador's residence. Today is the beginning of a very excited journey in Niger. I'll be moving to my post on Sunday, and I'll have time to get my life in order and start my "integration" into the community. Wish me luck! Big UPs to the other trainees swearing-in tonight!