Day 15: And so the trip ended, the journey continuing in heart and mind

In our first big group discussion that took place in Zambia, we were tasked with discovering our own personal answer to what our purpose was here in Zambia and Zimbabwe. I allowed myself to reflect on this question internally. I quickly discovered that this was a hard question. I didn’t really know where to start and so I sat there stumped and frowned at the ground. A few very long seconds passed until I came up with an easy way of processing it for myself. I simply asked myself a different question; ‘if you could describe to yourself why you are here in three words, what would they be?’ This was definitely a “duh” moment for me because this question of purpose suddenly became easy. I came here to experience, to share, and to love. Today, I can very confidently state that this is exactly what I did. Experiencing and sharing walk hand in hand for me. Through singing and performing with local choirs we encountered our first cultural exchange. Through our daily activities, some as basic …

Day 15: Concert Order

Shawn Kirchner - Unclouded Day

Our program's name this year was taken from this piece. We sought to bring hope and highlight the light in our lives in a world that seems bleak and dark. With this trip through Zambia and Zimbabwe, I hope that we as a choir were able to share that message. Of course this tour wasn't just to share music. It gave us as a choir an opportunity to exchange culture and grow as a person ourselves and hoping to impact our hosts from halfway across the world from our home in the same manner. 

W.A. Mozart - Gloria in excelsis, from Great Mass in C Minor KV 427
E.W. Barnum - Afternoon on a Hill

The beauty of our wonderful planet should need no explanation. I am lucky to have seen it first hand on this trip as I have literally seen a natural wonder of the world. This continued today. The African landscape is stunning. Truly unlike anything I have ever seen in my life. In the Tamaa Art Centre we visited today, there were balancing rocks: large boulders balancing…

Day 14: All You Need is Love

In just a few short days, I will return home. I cannot be more excited to once again be in the loving embrace of my parents and siblings. With my excitement, however, comes the heartbreak of knowing that the time has come to say goodbye to this corner of the world (at least for now).
In the past two and a half weeks, I have laughed, cried, made music, listened to stories, had my heart broken, made new friends, and have grown in so many ways. I have solidified some of the ways in which I view the world, and I have come up with more questions than I have answers.
One of the questions that has been asked to me— and that I have asked myself— multiple times throughout our trip is this: What is my purpose here? While I’d love to say that now, at the end of our journey, I finally know my purpose on this trip, I have to admit that I have no perfect answer for this question; in fact, I don’t think there is a perfect answer to this question. I believe the answer is unique to each person on this …

Day 14: Half Way Across the World, and We're Still the Same

Today was a busy but very good day. We spent the afternoon and evening at the Arundel Jesuit secondary school for girls. We shared a very formal meal with the students and staff, answered questions about Gonzaga in a career discussion, met with the choir and exchanged songs and vocal techniques, and performed in an evening concert for the students, teachers, families, and community members. The performance was a special one for all of us for a couple of reasons. For one, Celeste was able to play on a full piano, so some of our most powerful pieces such as "Afternoon on a Hill" and "Invictus" were able to greatly enhance our set and overall performance. I think the main reason this performance was so powerful and fulfilling for many people was because of the time we spent this evening reflecting on some of the deeper meanings in our songs and how they relate to the experiences we've had in the past two weeks in Zambia and Zimbabwe. Many of our songs convey a sen…

Day 13: We Are All Contractors

Shoutout ENTR 201 for my post title. 
Today began slowly after a rocky adjustment to our final temporary home of Harare. Makenna and I decided to sleep in, but our bodies disagreed, leaving the morning free to wander, find some coffee, and venture to the gardens for some journaling and conversation. Our discussion centered on finding purpose here as individuals and as a group, something we are not alone in seeking… but more on that later.
It was then time to make the half hour drive outside of the city to visit Chitungwiza Harmony Singers- an award winning, internationally touring group- for an afternoon of singing and learning. Both choirs had an opportunity to showcase their musicianship and challenge each other in new ways (our biggest challenge certainly being the dances we learned), as well as teach each other the joint pieces we will perform Tuesday night. What a beautiful sentiment to trade “Hymn for America” with “Plea for Africa” and come together over love of home and common …