Monday, March 27, 2000


It was time for us to head back, Susan was fried. Her face was on fire and the back of her neck had really been burned.

We got back to our room and hooray, there was water for showers. And boy, did that cool water feel good in the open air shower. Susan got a kick out of me when I came out of the shower. "I had a great shower," I said, "And there was even water!" It sounded right at the time!

It was the night to try some of Mr. Gentle's homemade wine and we decided to taste test the grapefruit wine. It is delicious but I think could be even better when poured over ice as it is very sweet, a dessert wine. But that didn't stop us finishing off the bottle, going home for dinner and then going to the drum school.

A young man from the village has developed the school to help keep traditional drumming alive. He not only teaches drumming, but makes the drums as well. As we walked down the sandy lane, moonlight on the water on both sides of the peninsula, Cisco and Leon as companions, we heard the first rhythms faintly on the wind. As we got closer we could feel the vibrations as much as hear them.

The school is a small house on stilts like most of the houses in the village, and like most of the houses the stairs tend to be steep and uneven. Inside, standing at the set of African drums stood Emmeth Young.

Hair in dreads and wearing colorful African influenced clothing, he didn't miss a beat as we came in and sat down on hand-hewn benches. Drums of all sizes and styles lined the walls and his drum making equipment - saws, hammers etc. - were hanging from nails on the walls. Dried animal skins were stashed in the rafters. A naked light bulb lit the place with a harsh light. Another young light-skinned man was seated off to the side, also drumming.

Involuntarily, my feet started tapping, and I could feel my body start swaying. The sounds were hypnotic, and the joy and passion that Emmeth feels for his music was evident on his face. He would break into an enormous grin as he played, his hands moving so fast that they were a blur, all that you could see were his white nails. Cisco joined in and with great skill, Emmeth instructed him on the beat and as he got the hang of it, Emmeth joined in, improvising. The sounds are unforgettable.

That was an experience I will remember forever. To be able to sit there, in that exotic setting, and have the sounds and rhythms literally take you away, is truly a spiritual experience.


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