As you may have read earlier this week, I performed for the second time at Lavender Field in Second Life for Brique Topaz's "Feed-a-Smile" charity, which supports the Live and Learn in Kenya program. It allows kids to get food and education in an area of the world where no such things are guaranteed.
Well, little could I have imagined that through a simple act of performing music for an hour -- something I love to do regardless -- I would be paid in priceless riches. That came today in the form of an email letting me know that the kids celebrated a "Zak Claxton Meal & Party", and included several pictures. Looking at them, and feeling my eyes fill with tears, is the absolute proudest moment I've had in over 35 years as a musician. Beyond any other triumph of creative output or kudos from my peers, this was the first time I knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that through my music, we did something significant that affected someone in an important way.
I'm happy to share those pictures with you here. On top, the kids gather around a chalkboard that they drew, featuring a pretty nice sketch of me and the following message:
Thank you to you, Kat, and all your wonderful fans for putting food on our plates and smiles on our faces. Bright holiday blessings and a happy and healthy New Year.
The Live and Learn in Kenya kids in Nakuru, Kenya
Honestly, all the credit really goes to Brique for her tireless efforts, and to my fans and friends who came to the show and added their support. All I did was chip in a few bucks and perform music for an hour. But regardless of who gets credit, the effect is tangible, and can be seen below in the smile-inducing sight of these hungry kids sitting down for a big meal.
It's both pride-inducing and humbling to be a small part of an effort like Live and Learn in Kenya. I find that the payment I received in the form of seeing these pictures and the kids' message to me is more than I'd ever expect in return for the small act of playing some guitar and singing. It's one of the best Christmas presents I ever got in my life, and as I told Brique, you can bet your bottom dollar that I'll be at Lavender Fields again in 2012.
If you want to lend your own support to Brique's efforts inside Second Life or otherwise, contact her now. I'm sure she'd appreciate anything you can offer.