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Finally, some time for reflection. Beginning with where to begin…

The last few weeks in Angola were a little bit hectic. To begin with, it’s a difficult country to work in for myriad reasons that need not be listed here. Suffice it to say that aligning and maintaining a group schedule with the band was very challenging. Still, albeit down to the wire, we came out with an epic multilingual composition, the footage to pull together a nice video, and anticipation of another project somewhere down the road. I look forward to finalizing our work soon.

The flight came unexpectedly, by means of a debacle. The sudden, unexpected goodbye stirred up emotions of nostalgia, loss, and longing at the same time as excitement and alacrity. These emotions tend to lead us to a deeper place within ourselves… despite the setback for the Project, I am grateful for the chance to sit down and reflect in this way.

Angola is a place with many problems. Widespread poverty, collapsing infrastructure, stark corruption, a broken economy, a big-brother government, and crippled cultures are a few. Though signs of all of these revealed themselves to make this project difficult, I am proud of what my friends and I accomplished in Menongue. As I’ve mentioned in the past, there is another Angola emerging, although slowly and out of the view of the public, with an eye toward the future. It’s the toughest place I’ve been to for an innovator, tourist, conservationist, or outsider in general, but that doesn’t stop us all, and it couldn’t stop us from creating an ode to the wilderness here. Hats off to the guys in Progresso (the band) for becoming Angola’s first Conservation Musicians.

The morning I flew from Luanda, my friend Kerllen showed me a spot on the “Ilha” where we could jump into the ocean while our breakfast was prepared. It was the first time I had ever been in this side of the Atlantic, and the first time I had been in an ocean for over a year. As our plane traversed the skies above Johannesburg en route to the airport, the morning’s mental snapshots of faded-but-colorful hillside favelas gave way to expanses of fire flecked darkness away from the streetlights, and an ever-building skyline on the coast became an assemblage of shining silhouettes, surrounded by a sea of black and white, yellow and red sparkling civilization.

And so I arrived in the City of Gold with the salt of the Atlantic in my hair and in the creases of my eyes. ~Alex

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