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A Song for Menongue

Screen shot 2016-04-09 at 11.30.21 PMIt’s 4a.m. in Menongue, Angola. The stars are in full form this morning, the Milky Way extending towards the road that my colleagues will take out of the Angola today. If only the road were as smooth as the Via Láctea, as they call it here, perhaps they wouldn’t need to leave quite so early.

The National Geographic supported 2016 Okavango Wilderness Project biodiversity survey of the Cuanavale River and its surrounding sourcelands is complete. The remaining team of scientists, producers, ba’Yei polers, and my colleagues in logistics are going back home. Myself? I’m alone in Menongue.

The reason is that for the next 3-and-a-half-odd weeks, I will be working with Angolan musicians to help spread awareness of some of this river-clad region’s most glaring environmental problems. I truly believe that through music, the world can learn so many lessons. By transcending language and literacy, by speaking as much to the heart as the mind, and by harnessing the learning power of rhythm and repetition, musicians can teach and inspire like nobody else. Thus, in 2015, The Conservation Music Project was born, and now, with the generous help and advice of the leadership team at The Okavango Wilderness Project, I have a chance to work with players from a deeply troubled country, and create something positive, informative, and looking towards the future.

The issues the we’re hoping to tackle initially are:

  • Water Conservation
  • The Bush Meat Trade
  • Burning the Countryside

I will be documenting everything on this blog, on Instagram, on Twitter, and Facebook. Please feel free to contact me through any of these means if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions! Best, Alex

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