SINGING AND LIVING
This is taken from an interview of an incredible woman with a very odd but appropriate name of Happy Oasis.
Happy: Singing is a very important aspect of health and recovery. Singing is used as a preventive medicine in many cultures that I lived with. Singing everyday, again at sunrise, at sunset, singing throughout the day, the people who I live with up in the Himalayas, they're Muslim actually, and when they harvest their food, the little boys to the old men go out with baskets on their heads and on their backs, and they sing praises to Allah.
A thanksgiving for the food, for the corn that they're throwing into the baskets. So there are different kinds of songs -- harvest songs, morning songs, spring time songs, basket songs. There are songs that women sing while they are making clothing for their children out of the wool of the various animals. There are songs for deep healing, for somebody who is born, for when somebody dies. There
are so many songs, the traditional songs and some of them they just mixed them up.
Kevin: That's cool.
Happy: Just like we do. And so, if somebody is ill, singing to them is really important. Now, something else that is very important is that this story of my name, it is Happy Oasis. When I was traveling to Bangladesh on a bus, I was the only foreigner as an adventure anthropologist. And it was pouring down rain for days and days and I had never been to Bangladesh and being an American, I didn't know a whole lot about it. And it's a very flat country. It's raining on the ocean and Bangladesh is above sea level at a height of three feet.
Happy: And so, after weeks of rain, it's very common that at the end of the rainy season, much of Bangladesh is under water. And when that happens, the farmers, the million and millions of people, they go to the highest spot they can find, and so our bus got stuck on one of the highest
spots, because there were thousands of people who'd gather there and there was a little bit of hamlet of a village made mostly out of straw houses. And in the pouring rain, I saw thousands of people lying down around me. And they were dying, and I had a thought, 'oh, I can get cash from the travel checks. I will buy everybody a meal'. And then I realized there is no bank. And then I thought I know I have a few hundred dollars of currency equivalent in Bengali. I will buy everybody something, and then I realized there is no food in the whole village.
It kept pouring down rain, and I thought, 'Oh, the Red Cross will come, something will happen', but it just kept raining. I was sitting on the bus profoundly hopeless and wondering what to do, and I just started gently weeping. When a man came up to me, very weak, and he was a leper. He had no fingers and he looked and he took his none fingers and he brushed my hair, very blond hair I have and blue
eyes. And he has very, of course, very dark skinned, almost African. And when he looked into my eyes, I realized he had already passed over.
His soul was so profoundly there. But, he must have seen me as some kind of illusion, maybe an angel. And he walked off the bus and he lay down, he died. Shortly, thereafter there was another man who came. Another elder, who must have been about 35 or just an elder in Bangladesh at that time; and he walked straight up to the bus with a big smile on his face, and then we was extremely exceedingly skinny, starving as well and barefoot, and just had a dodie on, but he had this radiant smile. And I was so sad that I was angry. Have you ever noticed that anger is like concealed sadness, and so I
was very upset with him and then I said, "How can you smile in this circumstance?" And he said in perfect Queen's English, as if he weren't in Bangladesh at all, "Madam", he said, "Come, come with me, smiling is all I have to give. Let us go and smile on these people". And so we went and we sang. He sang Muslim chants, and I sang Christian summer songs, and we touch people's feet and we caressed their forehead gently and we looked into their eyes, like a mother looking at a child as they
And it deeply changed my life to do this hour after hour in the pouring rain, because the effect this had on each individual was that they pass away with loving kindness. Is that they pass away with the sense of peace and ease. I vowed after that experience and many others to always be cheerful, to
radiate gladness if I am ever in any situation that is left dire in that situation. And that is it. That is the beginning of the name Happy Oasis, because I am about to be a happy oasis for everybody on the planet whenever it's possible. What happened is, after living with many tribes, I've walked into seven different battles. And most of the people who I know, my closest friends all along the planet are tribal people and they have been disenfranchised and they have died due to the disenfranchisement and due to genocide.
I became weary after more than a decade of living with various tribal people who I love, which has just disappeared. And I've realized upon coming back to America, to this really blessed country, I love America, and I love Americans so much more than I ever would have and could have had I not had these experiences, that I would like to be part of a tribe that's going to be around for a while"'