Saturday, March 14, 2009
Apadana Restaurant has closed. After experiencing some closing surprises last week, I took a detour on the way home from Petaluma a week ago Friday to be sure it was open before recommending it to a friend. He had a friend arriving from the Mid-West who is Persian and he wanted to treat her to a nice Persian dinner in Marin. It was open, candles burning on the tables, and we took a peek at the menu before we left, feeling happy that it was open and looked good. Alas, I get a call from a friend who accompanied them to the restaurant tonight, just week later, and he left a message that it was 'closed up as tight as a drum', and that the phone had been disconnected! At 7 p.m. on a Saturday, the week before Persian New Year it could only mean it had really closed.
When I received this message I was at a Global Partners for Development event honoring Alias and Mary Morindat of Arkaria Village, Tanzania. Elias and Mary are pictured above, along with friends from left, Sue Oaks and Linda Lea. We all were together on a trip that visited that village some years ago, so it was a happy reunion. Global Partners has done a number of water projects in the village that has greatly increased the health and safety of the villagers. Alias spoke to us about a situation that is directly affecting the Maasai people negatively, threatening their very existence. The government has been selling off their traditional lands in parcels, so that the nomadic people are cut off from the lands that they depend on for their livelihood. Not only the land, but the water rights. For example, one tract was sold to a hotel which now has the water rights for a spring that supported an entire region, but as precious as water is in East Africa, the use astounds the frugal water-using Maasai. The Maasai ladies would walk as far as 80 kilometers to pick up a 3 - day supply of water for a family of 5, 25 liters. The hotel that now owns the spring, has 120 rooms, with toilets that use 10 liters per flush. So you can see the negative environmental impact that happens. The existing people are displaced of land and resources, and the resources are squandered. It was quite an informative evening, and I'm glad that there is a way to effectively assist community leaders in Africa make it a better and self-sustaining place.
I had to take a photo of the back of Mary's kanga, which reads in translation "Congratulations Barak Obama"!