The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra in action, Deluxe Cafe, Wellington. February 2008.
Life in Wellington is so different to life in Ghor that it seems ludicrous to continue writing about the former in a space originally created for my stories from the latter. But I know that some of you are interested (thank you) and also I know that this is just as much a part of my story.
Last week I got my camera out for the first time in weeks. It was the fabulous Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra that finally motivated me to get behind the lense and photograph something that isn't Afghanistan.
Up until then I had taken a few photos of my family and some wonderfully life affirming photos at a music festival where my friend Gemma had been playing her ukulele and singing and her boyfriend and some other playful souls had dressed up as skeletons and rode a multi-bike around town blasting salsa music.
But otherwise I have found it difficult to see the subject right in front of me. I guess was still in the process of accepting that I had moved on from the subject which I had been photographing for the past two years, the people of Afghanistan. So these photographs, of my friends and their bandmates playing joyful music on a sunny day in peaceful New Zealand, are a kind of milestone for me. They are a wee symbol of my own progress in embracing the goodness of being home and letting go of the guilt and sadness I've been feeling about leaving Ghor.
It is hard to resist the joy of 12 good people playing ukuleles and singing their hearts out. Of course I love this photo of my dear friend Gemma,
this one of beautiful Megan rocking out on her uke,
this one of the multi-talented Age Pryor,
and this one of Francis - an old friend of a dear friend of mine and another multi-talented Kiwi wonder,
I love the summery goodness of this photo of my friend Nigel - yet another of those supremely talented kiwi boys (classically trained opera singer, virtuoso player of multiple instruments, playwrite, actor, comedian)
I love all those photos. But I know that you all only came here to see this one of Bret, more famous in the USA for being half of the deliriously funny Flight of the Conchords than for his role in the Ukulele Orchestra, but a much-valued band member all the same.
In other news, I have approached a few venues here about exhibiting my photographs from Ghor and received really positive responses. I described this to my counsellor as a way for me to share a little bit of the world I knew in Afghanistan with people here in New Zealand without being required to actually talk about it. It's a way of bridging the gap for me, I suppose. More on that exhibition soon.