Friday, July 31, 2009

Kemet

We leave for the Nile Valley in two days. I am reminded of the long genealogy of scholars and travelers who have made their way there in search of self, memory, instruction and inspiration. I think of how Edward Wilmot Blyden quoted the Liberian poet Hillary Teague, who urged Africa to "retake your fame" after having been inspired by the sight of the Great Pyramid. Of how Paul Robeson sang from the operatic "Isis and Osiris" in the great chamber of that same structure; how Louis Armstrong blew his trumpet in the shadow of the sphinx with his wife Louise looking on. I am reminded of how Howard University's Alain Locke and William Leo Hansberry both stood in the sands where Africans constructed the first free standing stone structures in the world, invented what became known as numbers and letters, and were the first to chart the stars with the system that we still use today, largely unchanged. We are connecting again to more than history: we are about to undertake the investigation of what it means to do intellectual work in this, an age sorely mischaracterized by so many. We are about to undertake the consideration of what Ayi Kwei Armah has called "The Eloquence of the Scribes." What an honor and what an exciting moment. A legacy renewed, indeed.

6 comments:

Courtney Javois said...

As you all take flight (literally) tomorrow I am reminded of the feeling of gba ominira (in yoruba this term means "becoming free") that I felt when I went last year. I pray that you all have that same feeling, and with that feeling I pray that you all are reminded of the WORK (yes "work" in CAPS) that is to follow.

It is "very nice" (in the words of Doc) to feel good, passionate and rejuvenated after seeing the inscribed memory of our ancestors, on the walls of the temples and burial grounds while in Kmt, but those feelings are just the beginning of the transformation that we all hope occurs on your journey.

I pray that your minds are open to the critical information you are about to receive and that your ori ("head" in yoruba) is drowned in the knowledge of Dr. Carr, and the light of Baba Asa Hilliard III (Iba ye), Baba Jacob Carruthers (Iba ye), Baba John Henrik Clarke (Iba ye), and others who have led this journey prior, that guide him. I pray that your eti (ears in yoruba) are also open as they too will be drowned in knowledge; I pray that you listen.

I also pray that you are healthy. DRINK LOTS OF WATER!! (i repeat) DRINK LOTS OF WATER!! Also try to purchase, if its not too late, some powdered Powerade/Gatorade. It has electrolytes that your body loses when you sweat. Nina Burkett, who also traveled last year, put us on to that and it helped greatly.

I look forward to hearing about your journey. I'm excited and I wish I was there. Have fun! Peace.

Courtney Nefertari Javois.

Josh M said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Josh M said...

in your quest to become more godlike (because that was this educational experience should be ultimately about) indulge in the serenity and certainty that Kemet will bring. Hotep!

HU Nubian said...

Welcome to Egypt!!!

Hi Dr. Carr,

I am an HU Alum and I've been living in Cairo for the last 8 months. I also was in Egypt last year before you guys took your trip I would love to see you all while you are here. I am currently out of the country, but will be in Aswan on August 13 for a week. PLEASE email me and let me know if we can meet. I would LOVE to see some Howard people.


Thanks.

Deniece

djones@alum.howard.edu

Chigozie said...

Hey All:

I’m computer illiterate, but just figured out how to navigate this thing. By now I’m sure you all are in KMT and absorbing the wisdom of Dr. Williams and Dr. Carr. For many of you, this is your first time in Africa. My first time was when I was seven years old visiting my village in Imo State, Nigeria, however I was too young to appreciate that trip. Hence, my first real trip to Africa was in 2007 with Dr. Carr and Dr. Williams in South Africa. Since then I’ve been back each summer, and I’m currently interning in Kampala, Uganda. In my opinion, there is no better introduction to the Continent than one of the earliest known civilizations.

When I arrived in KMT this time last year, I was indifferent initially. I’m not sure what I expected, but I anticipated some sort of euphoria. However, it wasn’t until Dr. Asa Hilliard’s memorial service that I was overcome with nostalgia. At that moment everything became real to me. The nexus b/w our ancestors from KMT and me became crystal clear through our reflections of Dr. Hilliard. Dr. Hilliard was now one of them, my meeting Dr. Hilliard, and more importantly engaging his work, made it easier for me to identify with the rest.

There are multiple ways that one can internalize the study tour experience. It can be an exotic experience that out-does a trip to Miami or the Caribbean, or it can inform the way that you approach life and work moving forward. By the time you leave KMT, the template our ancestors created for us will be more lucid. It is our responsibility to dig deeper after the introduction.

I look forward to reading more posts.

Chigozie

Greg Carr said...

Hello, all: This is my first post since arriving. We leave for Aswan tomorrow. This has been amazing so far! We'll be detailed in posting where we are and what we're doing, so please keep the comments going!

Doc