i love music. i love shows. i miss vancouver so much sometimes for the simple act of putting on some cute boots, a fun little dress, and walking on down to the railway to listen to whoever is on stage, dancing until they close the bar, and they kindly ask us (again) to leave.
i miss having a friend call me up and dragging me out to see someone they know i'll love. i miss the canadian music scene full of girls on guitars and funny boys on keyboards.
but the music keeps on in my head.
the other night while standing in the darkened driveway of our office, surrounded by buckets, blankets and cooking pots (not to mention the soap, candles, and piles of other goods) i found the funniest songs started playing in my head. as the assembly line assembled the hygiene and cooking kits, as i bent down to place the candles in the bucket, then the matches, each time lifting my head to see the imposing number of goods still stacked up against the walls, shed, trees, parked cars; tracy chapman's 'mountains o' things' started to swirl through my head. and it was a good thing - i mean, i knew these mountains of things had a point, and would mean a lot to people who had lost their basic supplies in the cyclone. these mountains o' things meant survival, not accumulation of wealth... so again, a good thing. but on the other hand, the mountain's part meant we still had hours of work to get everything sorted into individual 20 litre jute bags...
as the evening progressed, the piles slowly got smaller, but it started to dawn just how much there was. and my second wind came accompanied by dire straights... 'we got to move these, refridgerators' (or in our case 'we got to move these, fleecy blankets). and that kept me going for another few hours.
the trucks from our supplier had shown up at 10PM. (6 hours late). we finished loading the last truck with completed kits at 3:30AM. (surprisingly, only 4.5 hours late... we were speedy little line workers). the thanks goes to the team of workers hired from the neighbourhood and the staff members who stayed until it was done. our cook is a rock star, and refused to leave until the last kit was finished.
and so those are the songs i thought of while working. i found it amusing, so thought one of your might too. in related news this morning i passed a small girl with a huge bundle of firewood balanced on her head, and she gave me the toothiest grin. and i thought about the mp3 player i had with me, that cost more than she will earn in a year (and there is no doubt in my mind she is a wage earner for her family, and could quite possibly be the sole wager earner for younger siblings if they are without parents...)
and i thought of how much cash i'll drop the first night i'm back in vancouver on my holidays in 3 weeks. similar thoughts to those i have every time a woman knocks on my car window asking 'madam, baksheesh'.
i don't know if i could work here if not in the capacity as an aid worker. it's simply too much. at least now i assuage my guilt by telling myself the 12 hour days, being away from my home, somehow these sacrifices are as good as taking the woman into the grocery store and buying bread for her and her family. and that my contribution helps more people then i could afford to help one by one on the street.
oh, rambly thoughts.
for now, i end with a small thanks, to the hometown musician who sent me a copy of one of my favorite songs of hers that has been stuck in my head for two weeks. and a thanks to my friends and my family who leave me small notes in emails and phone calls. and a thanks to the ridiculously overpriced mp3 player that means i can play any leonard cohen cover i get stuck in my head. for now, i try to be satisfied with what i can do.