News and Updates

Darbukastani Independence Days 2016 June2-5

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March 8 2016
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April 22 2015
Dear Friends, We hope that the spring is treating you well. We're mighty busy out here at Spirithaven this year and very excited about DID and the new events happening this June. As many of you know, we're running a fundraising campaign for the new (and very necessary) well and shower house. And thank you so much, those of you who have been able to help us out!
There are less than 10 days left to help us try to raise money to offset the costs. It is going to cost us (ballpark) $10,000 to have a commercial well dug near the main camping site, as well as $2000-$5000+ to build a new shower house and start developing the recent land purchase. The well is the most important part right now. It needs to be 330 feet deep. With a $10,000 price tag, that's a bit more than $30 per foot. 
You can check out our Indiegogo campaign at: (campaign closed)


May 28 2014
Friends,I neglected to mention that we will have ice on-site this year. The folks we used last year sold out to a company who has upgraded from 7# bags to 10# bags for the same price. No need to lug in extra weight, your ice needs are covered. Also, if any local or early-birds wish to participate in the final sprucing-up of Spirithaven we will be having a work weekend coming up. Should be nothing really heavy but there are some painting projects and general clean-up happening. Please let us know if you'd like to join us so we can prepare to feed you properly. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

May 22 2014
Dearest Friends and Fellow Citizens of Darbukastan!

Greetings from Spirithaven! We are so excited that it in two weeks we will once again gather to celebrate the Independence of our beloved Nation. Sometimes it seems hard to believe that this will be the fourteenth annual celebration. This is no small achievement and is a testimony to the good energies of this community. DID does not happen without the significant efforts of many people who donate of themselves and their time to make this happen. I would like to thank several folks in advance for their efforts. Christine Andrews and Mavi Clay have taken on the task of organizing and production of the music and dance instruction/performance schedule and have done so for two years. These ladies are busier in their personal lives than most folks realize and they do this out of love for DID and its Citizens. I must also recognize Carla Monnich who runs the website and the organization of the Guedra and Expo. She does a great job of helping to keep us informed on the front end and keeping our Spirits energized at the event.
One thing we all must realize by now is that DID is a "special event". We are, by design and mandate from the Community, an under-the-radar event and do not advertise anywhere. As such our budget and remuneration schedule is low. Most of the Magick that happens does so with no compensation for those involved. The focus of DID is on the shared experience, really a celebration for we Kindred Spirits who find beauty and value and passion in what we do. DID gives us the opportunity to come together, at least one time a year, to turn it all loose and see what happens. We have grown accustomed to the fact that DID does not have a "slick" promotion package and that, at times, communication may be sparse. We have also been involved with the event long enough to know that, when all is said and done, and the event is underway, that it is as wonderful as we had hoped if not moreso. DID XIV will be no exception and we are so excited that it is about to "happen" once again.
We are saddened by the fact that Nina Amaya, who has given so much to DID over the years and has facilitated children's programming, will be unable to attend this year. Her contributions to the event have been and will continue to be felt in many ways. Helping to educate and entertain our young people is so important and she has done an exceptional job in this regard. She will be missed and we trust DID XV will find her back in Darbukastan. We are pleased to report that word of Nina's impending absence has been responded to in a typical fashion by the DID Citizenry. Many folks have written to offer assistance and Jeremy Zacherl and his son Jakeb have volunteered to head-up children's activities. I know Jeremy will be happy to have the assistance of any in the community who would like to help.
Please refer to the DID survival guide posted on this website for information that will help your experience be the best possible. Also posted is a "Directions to Spirithaven" note. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns.
In closing we ask everyone traveling to DID to be careful in their respective journeys. There is nothing more valuable to the community than you! Be safe and be prepared to be welcomed home in a short time! We can't wait!!


February 28, 2014
Greetings From Still-Frigid Spirithaven!

As Kay, Mom and I sit here at the farm waiting for the daffodils to smile on us (our first ones bloomed on January 28th last year!) it is hard to believe that in a short 3 months we will be ready to celebrate the 14th annual Independence of Darbukastan. We trust that you and yours are doing well and looking forward to the event as much as we are. 
We feel certain you have heard of the sadness that has befallen us all in the passing of our Sister Jan Epperson. Jan lost a courageous battle with liver cancer last week and the scope of that loss has just begun to be realized. DID I through XIII would not have happened in a way anywhere close to what transpired without Jan’s tireless efforts and profound knowledge of the workings of Spirithaven and all things mechanical. I think Brother Waz put it best when he termed her “Doer of All Things Possible”. We need you all to know how important it has been to us to have the uncommon but not unexpected level of support, good energy and outpouring of Love coming our way from you, our Beloved Fellow Citizens, Friends and Family. A simple “Thank You” doesn’t seem sufficient. We will endeavor to show you how much you mean to us in whatever way we can. We are planning some additions to the area around “Jan's Pickin' Porch” including a garden that we envision being the start of a "memory trail". We see this as being a spot where we and our community can reflect on those who are no longer with us in body but continue to bless us in Spirit. We plan to have this open to your ideas and energies as well. 
We have not been able to make many changes in infrastructure thus-far this year but you will notice some improvements when you arrive this year. Phase one of the recycled bottle wall for the amphitheatre is nearly completed. The parking lot is also MUCH improved with a solid roadway from the bottom of the new road all the way out. New stage lighting and sound system improvements have also been implemented.
Mavi and Christine are in the process of outdoing themselves this year and we have a GREAT line-up of instructors and performers for DID XIV. While the full line-up of instructors and performers will be released shortly, we can’t wait to formally announce that Jill Parker will be with us this year. We are very excited by this. I know I do not have to elaborate.
If anyone would like to apply for the C.James Eutsler Scholarship, now would be the time to send us information that will allow us to consider you for this. As in years past we have 2 scholarships available.
We are holding the tuition and meal plan cost to $225.00 this year. Due to the success of our “In-house” provision of meals, we will once again use the Spirithaven/DID/Front Porch Fest community to prepare and serve the meals. Options for Vegetarian/Omnivore meal plans are available and we ask that you indicate your preference on the registration form. If you have any special dietary requests you can feel free to indicate them on the form and we will do our best to accommodate you.
As always, we need each person to fill out an individual registration form. Parents- each child must have their own form. Instructors/Performers, we need forms from you as well. Registration forms and opportunities for submitting payment are available on the website at www.darbukastan.com .
It has been a long week and I know I should add something important to this note, but at the moment I can’t think of what it would be. I suppose the only thing I need to say is a reiteration of the gratitude we feel toward each of you and the appreciation we have for our DID community.

Blessings!

Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne, Jan (In Spirit) and Chris

February 4, 2013
Greetings Friends and Fellow Citizens,

On a frosty day at Spirithaven we are thinking of a time in the near future when we will be sharing this land with special people celebrating dance, music and each other. This brings a warmth to us that cannot be created by adding more wood to the stove. We wanted you to know that though, as usual, we are slow to get
information out to you, preparations are solidly in-place for DID XIII.
Christine and Mavi have been arranging our music and dance performances and instructors, and we are both pleased and saddened to report that we have had such a good response this year that we have had to disappoint some very gifted artists because we have no room in the schedule for them. Even though we expanded DID to include Thursday activities a few years ago we have such a talented community that we cannot accommodate all of those who want to contribute. This year, we are even adding Wednesday evening activities to the schedule for those of you aready arrive early or those who wish to. There will be no
additional charge to The Citizenry for these activities which will include the Welcome to Spirithaven show by OmBrew. Our local band has stepped-aside from our usual spot which has traditionally opened the event formally (originally Friday and then recently Thursday night) to allow an evening show for a deserving band from the DID community.
When you have a musical line-up which includes (in no particular order) : Katara, Khafif, Kazmeric, Dragonsong, Billy Woods, Saze
Dunya, Turku, Ever After, Denys Proteau and The Darbukastani National Orchestra, not to mention the Darbukastani House Band, it was an easy
decision for myself and my boys to give up our usual gig to allow for more music of this quality to happen at DID XIII.
Another exciting change that Ministry of Culture is pleased to present us with is the decision to expand yet again on the Expo. Perhaps the biggest crowd-pleaser last year was the addition of the Kid's Expo. The Kid's Expo has its own time this year (rather than being tacked-on to the beginning of the traditional performance) and DID XIII will see this portion of the Expo separated into two parts. On Friday night we will enjoy Part One of the Expo where dancers will perform to pre-recorded music and on Saturday, Part Two will feature dance performed to live music.
We need to announce another change from last year coming to DID XIII which is actually a revisitation of the combined meal plan/tuition program we had in place for several years. Perhaps the biggest issue we struggle with on an annual basis is how best to handle the meal plan. In theory it seems like it should not be difficult but, in practice, we have never quite achieved the right "recipe" for it. Our problem stems from the fact that we do not advertise DID, hence rendering it difficult to secure the number of participants necessary to make DID profitable. This goes back to DID I and the community's desire to try and maintain the "magic" or "vibe" we all felt at that event.  DID has always struggled to support itself and many years The Darbukastani Treasury has not been "in the black". Whatever profit has come from the event has always gone into infrastructure. This began with DID I's donation-based economy and the resultant purchase of our
first 2 porta potties and has continued through the pavilion project, erected in no small part by Citizen-based volunteer labor, for DID X.
The number of participants for DID X allowed us to see less red ink than we might have, but the treasury is still recovering from that while continuing to incur expenses (kitchen and bathroom projects for example) designed to take better care of the populace. No one present when the storm came through at DID X would argue that this energy/monetary expenditure was well-invested.
It must be stated that the pavilion is used for purposes other than DID. At the current time there is a trailer-load of hay bales to feed the horses and a couple of tractors stored underneath. We also hold our Summer Music Party/Patrick County "community day" there to which all are invited and some DID folk have attended. We have also hosted Front Porch Fest, a roots-music festival the proceeds of which benefits the Patrick County Food Bank and a scholarship program for a young, local musician who died tragically several years ago. Our profit from these events is wholly Spiritual and we are richly-blessed
in that regard. We are grateful of the fact that DID has provided the means for these events to take place and hope that you, the participants and benefactors of the Independence Days, can feel some of that along with us.  We have always felt that the things which work best in Life work well on a variety of levels.  DID is perfect evidence of that philosophy in action.
We have always endeavored to keep the cost of DID at reasonable levels for our Citizens while providing an experience that we believe is exceptional in every sense of the word. The formula for that is not difficult. First, our volunteer staff works hard to prepare the farm, and we appreciate each and every one who gives of themselves to make DID happen. The most important ingredient in the DID "equation", however, is the fact that our instructors provide us with a truly
amazing level of artistry for the merest fraction of its true value. They do this for their own reasons but we are sure that much of their motivation takes the form of a desire to support something special.
One way in which we can compensate our faculty is by trying to, in some way, care for their basic needs. We house those we are able to, and feed them at least in a basic way. We feel we need to do a better job of the latter and, to that end, comes our decision to reinstitute the combined meal plan/tuition program. As there is the potential for profit at the pricing the meal plan has been offered for in the past two years we plan to "Nationalize" the meal plan and coordinate,
prepare and serve it ourselves. Once again this will happen through volunteer labor, some of which will come from Front Porch Fest staff who believe in service to the community and in what we are doing at DID. We would be very grateful for any assistance from any like-minded DID Citizens as well. One goal of this undertaking is to provide you, the participants, with wholesome, nutritious food in quantity and quality which will nourish and satisfy, at a cost and level of
convenience that will allow you greater enjoyment of the Celebration. Another potential benefit of this program is that, If we can prepare this "recipe" correctly, we should, at the same time, be able to more appropriately care for our faculty without affecting DID's bottom line negatively.
We seem to remember the meal plan in recent years being in the neighborhood of $80-85.00. When we had the "package deal" for DID we offered it for $225.00 for which we assigned a value of $150.00 for tuition and $75.00 for meals (half price for children under 12). We propose to try this plan at that level, despite the recent increase in food costs, and see what happens. If we succeed we will continue it if not, we will adjust accordingly.
Please believe we have given this much thought. In the recent informal "survey" we conducted through the last Citizens of Darbukastan Facebook communication, we asked your opinion of this to help us shape our decision. The majority of respondants favored a "package" deal, and this helped us feel better about our plan. We will also endeavor to handle the community's diverse dietary needs by offering the usual Omnivore/Vegetarian options as well as any more individualized needs, e.g. Vegan or Gluten-Free, to the best of our ability. We would be pleased ot hear from you regarding this plan and how we can best serve you. If you have any recipes you would like us to consider, please forward them to us. While we can't promise we will be able to serve your favorite meal, we will do what we can to please you. One thing we can all look forward to is that Mama Jeanne will be handling the dessert menu!
So there it is. Please forgive the lengthy nature of this communication but we feel you deserve to know a bit about why and how we elect to do some of the things in the manner we do. We have had several requests for the "particulars" regarding payment. We would be pleased to start accepting registrations and tuition payments immediately. Feel free to use the PayPal method at www.info@darbukastan.com , or you can forward a check to us at 677 Spirithaven Lane, Stuart, VA 24171. I believe that Carla has the page up and running at http://www.darbukastan.com and we request that each participant fill out a registration form as in years-past.
We appreciate each and every one of you, and know that DID XIII will blossom into a beautiful flower through our combined efforts and energies.

Blessings!

Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Mama Jeanne, Jan and Chris


_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Missives from Prior DID's

March 7, 2012
Greetings from The Capitol of Darbukastan!

We trust this note finds you well and, like us, looking forward to DID XII. Spirithaven hosted some of our Citizens this weekend in their efforts to fill the Darbukastani airwaves with pleasantness. Dragonsong is recording tracks for their newest CD and spent some time in the guesthouse in that effort. Bridget and Jeremy were joined by Denys Proteau and Darbuka Dave and, as a witness to much of what transpired, I can tell you that this will be a great addition to your library of great tunes.
The weekend got me primed for another wonderful multifaceted experience with my fellow Citizens and I felt I needed to share some of my excitement with you. Here is just a taste of some ofthe gems in store for you all this year: Amy Lindsey will have just returned from her latest trip to Turkiye and will be sharing Turkish folkloric dance with us and promises to get "the whole family" involved. Liron Peled will not only teach Dumset and how to make the Magickal "click" happen between musician and dancer but will perform in a spotlight concert. Mavi will teach Fire Fan and much more. Katara will be with us again and the energy they have put into their music this past year will be apparent. Jennifer Speiden will do a two-hour yoga/pilates/dance amalgamation not-to-be missed. In addition to his role as "Maestro" of the Darbukastani National Orchestra and instructor of the ever-popular instrumental Ensemble Workshops, Denys Proteau will teach a series of two oud classes. Christine Andrews and Roxanne Bruscha are planning special dance classes for us even as we speak and our past experiences with these Ladies make us realize us how special that will be.
I am so pleased to announce that DID XII will be the host for the first public performance of a new band that will be the talk of the circuit before the end of this event. Two of our most percussivley talented Citizens with their friends and their band, G.O.M., will be our featured performers on Saturday night. Kazuki Salifoska and Seido Salifoski have formed this band and have graciously agreed to debut here at DID XII. If that is not enough, Kazuki will teach a beginners Doumbek class and a "Kazuki's Kids" drumming class for our younger Citizens. Seido will be teaching two "Master" doumbek classes on Oriental-Balkan rhythms with an emphasis on odd meters and ornamentation.
Our Children will be a focus as always but we are planning to take that focus up a notch with a Children's Showcase to open the Expo on Friday night. Performances of any kind are welcomed.
We have other classes in the works and will announce them when details are finalized. In the meantime, Please send your registrations in as soon as you can to guarantee your space. Also, we ask that anyone interested in applying for the C.James Eutsler scholarship please send a request with brief statement of need to us as soon as possible.
3 Months and counting until DID XII !!
All the Best!
Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris



May 9, 2011
Friends, I am writing this note a bit belatedly to ask that you all keep Owen and Ingrid Caldwell in your thoughts and prayers for the next several days.  Owen, our construction crew chief, was working with us yesterday and was seriously injured in a fall from the roof of the new kitchen/classroom/bathroom project and is in the Intensive Care Unit at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, NC awaiting surgery (scheduled for tomorrow morning) to repair two pelvic and two sacral spine fractures.  He fractured several vertebrae and, in the process, suffered a punctured lung which has been successfully reinflated. I apologize for the delay in writing to you all but Kay and I were at the hospital until early this morning and I have just now returned from work. Ingrid wants folks to know that she will still be providing the meal plan. We will do whatever we at Spirithaven can do to ensure that this happens for her and those of you who have decided to allow Ingrid to serve you.  If you were planning to register for the plan, please do not fear doing so.  You will be well taken care of. I will keep you informed of Owen's progress when I have any news to report.  Those of you who have had the opportunity to work with him know how strong, feisty and resilient he is.  He will heal and will be back in action in due course.  I, for one, know how much more quickly he will heal if the power of our community's postive thoughts are focused on Owen and his family.  You all helped our family immeasureably last Summer when we were in such serious need of good energy. With the Magick we create at DID as evidence of our capacity for nourishing ourselves and our fellow Citizens, I know The Caldwells will be bathed in Light in the coming days. Thank you in advance for what I know will be a boon to Owen and Ingrid. Blessings, Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris
Update May 10
Thanks so much for the responses and energies you have directed Owen's way.  We got an update from Ingrid earlier and Owen made it through surgery well.  The Surgeon put a plate in Owen's hip socket and fixed his sacrum.  It looks as if he will not be allowed to bear weight at all for 2 1/2 to 3 months but should make a full recovery.  Thanks again for your thoughts and prayers, they mean so much to us all.


April 10, 2011
Greetings from Spirithaven! We trust all goes well with all Citizens and look forward to seeing you here in two months.  We had a successful work party this weekend and are pleased to announce that we got a good start on the new kitchen facility and nearly completed the bridge which will link the new parking lot with the performance area.  We would like to thank Kristin and Donovan,  Kristin and Chris, Michelle and Junior, Chris Boyd, Jan and Ben and, of course our fearless leader Owen Caldwell for their most-excellent assistance.We will be having work party weekends every weekend until DID (with the exception of Easter weekend).  Please let us know if you'd like to join us.  Food and lodging are provided and we have fun in the process of improving Darbukastan's infrastructure. A couple of announcements for you all.  The recipients of the C. James Eutsler scholarships have been notified of their award.  We greatly appreciate all those who applied and we wish we could have chosen each of you.  Darbukastan is pleased to welcome Na'la to our family as a faculty member.  She will be teaching two classes this year.  We are waiting for one or two instructors to send us information so that we may post our schedule.  We are also close to announcing a surprise guest instructor and performer and will do so when we receive final confirmation of attendance.  I promise to have the tentative schedule to you as soon as I know the line-upo for certain. Registrations continue to come in.  If you have not yet registered, it might be a good time to consder doing-so. We are getting more excited by the day and are actively preparing for your arrival! All the Best! Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris

April 7, 2011
Friends, A cheery Sunday evening to you all from a Spirithaven in-bloom.  We trust all are well and your Spring in in full-flower.  We have had numerous inquiries as to when the work parties will be happening so, here you go.  We will begin work on the Kitchen addition and Kid's village this coming Saturday, April 9th.  Wew will be working on DID projects exclusively every weekend in April except the 23rd and also on every weekend in May.  We have a great number and variety of projects needing attention this year and many of them require no skill with hand-tools.  We have painting projects, and these will allow you to be creative.  We have murals in mind for the pavilion so please consider lending us your creative/artistic talents.  The Kid's Village needs to be organized and created. We really want to make a nice spot for our youngest Citizens and could use the help of those of like-mind.  As I said, the main thrust is to begin the kitchen addition so skilled craftspeople will be welcome.  Meals and frivolity will be provided as will lodging for as many people as we can accommodate.  Please let us know if you can make it and we will beging to assign available quarters immediately.
A quick note regarding DID.  The schedule is near completion.  I am waiting on a few instructors to finalize their dates of availability and hope to have those in a day or so.  When I have the appropriate information I will forward that to each of you.  Suffice it to say that the course offerings will not disappoint you.  It is shaping up to be the best on-record.  We are also re-reviewing all applications for the C. James Eutsler Scholarships and hope to announce the recipients this week.  Thanks for your patience. We look forward to seeing you all soon! Thanks for all you do to make DID special.
All the Best! Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris

February 27, 2011
We trust late Winter is treating you well.  This week saw some major changes in the face of our farm.  The weather has been warm and the Spring flowers are making their appearances.  The crocus are in full-bloom and the early daffodils have opened.  Tulips, hyacinths and anemones are showing themselves, and the willows are beginning to flush.  We wish you all could be here.  Spring is a truly magickal time at Spirithaven. 
As you all may know, we plan to have a permanent kitchen in place for this year's event.  Kay, Jan and I unearthed our water source this afternoon after Kay dowsed a Spring.  It looks very good so far and we will likely have a Spring House very near where last-year's kitchen tent was located.  The new road is in and, though it needs to be groomed and gravelled in places, it looks like it will make your arrival/departure much easier.  The new parking lot will be quite near the pavilion - actually just across the stream from there.  RV and general parking will be there.  Pretty-much all community activities will be located around the pavilion this year and for all future DID's.  We encourage you all to find a home-away-from-home on the Pavilion side of the property this year.  There is lots of shade and it is actually much drier there.  At any rate, please give it some thought.
I also wanted to let you know (as if you didn't alraeady) how fortunate we are to have the outstanding line-up of performers who will be with us this year.  This was made absolutely clear on Friday night at The University of Virginia.  Turku ruled the house, and the campus , as they ripped-it up in an ultra high-energy show to a full-house that had no less than 20 ladies dancing in the aisles and on-stage.  The energy was much like that at DID and has us more excited about DID than ever.  If you have the opprotunity to catch Turku anywhere near you, DO IT!.  I know they will be playing NYC, New Jersey and NC at Black Mountain in the near future, but check their site at TurkuMusic.com for details. I am also very happy to inform you that we will have three of the Ladies of Zafira with us this year as Maria will be returning with her men Angus and Kai this year after a much-felt absence of a few years.  I am so ready for the Expo!  Hope you are too.  Carla Monnich has graciously offered to serve the community (yet again) as stage manager.  Please contact her to hammer-out the details of your performances.  We want everyone to have the opportunity to share their talents so we need to be very efficient this year. A link for the Expo is here .
Thanks to those of you who have secured your spots at DID this year by sending registration monies early.  We are putting the monies to good-use and the supplies  for the building project are being purchased.  If you have not registered and If you can manage it, I suggest that you register soon.  It looks like we will hit our cut-off point again this year and want all of our friends to be with us. We are adding a kid's village this year and kids 12 and under pay half price for registration. Ingrid is accepting the meal plan registrations as well.  You are all in for a real treat.  Ingrid will feed us well.
I am asking all instructors who have not sent course descriptions to get them to me ASAP.  Many folks are offering to teach and I need to know how many slots I have open needing to be filled. Thanks to all the Citizens who are inquiring about work parties.  I will e-mail everyone as we finalize dates. We appreciate you all and look forward to having you back in Darbukastan again!  Please drop us a note if you have questions or suggestions.
Namaste! Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris

January 24, 2011
Friends, This will hopefully be a quick note to inform you of a few details. First, as promised, the info about the meal plan follows. This year we are making the meal plan optional. Ingrid Caldwell has graciously agreed to do this. Moreover, she is offering 3 different plans to let you decide which works best for you.
Plan A: Full meal plan, 11 meals (3 each Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 2 Sunday). Cost of this plan is $70.00.
Plan B; 8 meals ( Same as above but with Thursday excluded. For folks who may not be able to arrive before Friday) Plan B cost, $52.00.
Plan C: Supper meals only (Thursady, Friday, Saturday) Plan C cost is $27.00.
We wholeheartedly encourage you to avail yourselves of one of these plans. Vegetarian and Omnivore option continues. Ingrid is serious about providing healthy meals to keep your energy levels up. This is such a no-hassle approach to feeding yourselves well.
Please note: There will be NO a la carte meals offered, and you MUST arrange for your meals and pay for them ahead of time. Please do not think you can arrive at DID without a meal plan and still buy your meals as this will not be possible. You can arrange your meal plan by clicking here.
We have had a goodly number of preregistrations this week with payment of the tuition. Thank you all so much. This gives us some $ to buy material for the projects we want to have finished for your enjoyment upon your arrival. Keep those "cards and letters" coming. A number of the pre-reg's are from new citizens which is exciting. We do plan to hold to the 100-participant maximum so we encourage you to register early to avoid problems later.
A new program we are instituting this year is a scholarship in honor of my father Jim who passed-away 10 years ago. The C. James Eutsler Scholarship will include fully-paid registration and meal plan and will be available to two deserving individuals based on need. If you know of someone deserving of this scholarship please ask them to contact us. We will ask the applicant to send us a short note telling us a bit about themselves and how this award would be of benefit to them. We plan to review the applicants' responses and announce the recipients by April 1, 2011.
I will send more information as it becomes available. We are really excited by the response to DID XI so far and the faculty/performers planning to be here are sure to help this be the best DID to date.
With Warmest Regards,
Sheque

January 17, 2011
My Fellow Darbukastanis, Spirithaven is thawing, though I know we have more Winter to deal with.  The warmer weather has made us realize that it will be time for our annual celebration of The Independence before we know it.  I wanted to drop you all a quick note to let you now we are working on a schedule as we speak and hammering-out the details of the meal plan. Also, to complement the prerforming arts pavilion and to keep the infrastructural bandwagon rolling-along, we plan for you to see and enjoy major improvements this year as follows: The kitchen facilities - a new, free-standing structure or attachment to the pavilion; The International Highway System - a new road is being cut at the moment which will hopefully eliminate most or all of the two-way traffic to the site; A new parking area - much nearer the main-event area and a proper "Kid's Village" with nice playgound equipment and individual programming for our young citizens.  At this point, Christy Fricks has graciously volunteered her services to head this up.  Anyone else who would like to be involved, please let us know.
Please note the dates for this year's event are June 2nd. 3rd, 4th and 5th.  As you can see we have added an additional day of activities this year.  The majority of folks were here on Wednesday or Thursday morning anyway and we needed a way to ease the pressures of having too many talented Citizens (such a terrible problem, don't you think?) wanting to share their gifts with the collective.  We plan to have a dedicated night (probably Friday) for the Expo. 
That being said, now is not too early to plan your performances, etc. and contact us so we can begin to put-together a line-up.  We are so blessed to have Turku, Wine and Alchemy, DragonSong, Katara and EHix (Morphing of The CeltHix) committed to join us again this year.  We'd love to report that Balkanize will grace our stage again but cannot do that as yet.  Let's get a petition going and get them back this year.  We also have a few other potential musical offerings in the works but cannot comment on them at this time. Kay and I are meeting with our Ministress of the Culinary Arts this week to nail-down the details of the meal plan.  When that is finalized we will let you know. Citizen Carla, without whom communication from The Capital would likely cease, has a  DID Facebook page up.  Please refer to that and the website for updates.
Preregistration for the event is $150.00 this year and if you'd like to help us to get an early start on construction we'd be happy to receive the tuition fees at any time.  You can send a check/money order to: Touch the Earth, 677 Spirithaven Lane, Stuart, VA 24171 or a PayPal to us at . The registration forms are available now. Please drop us a line if you have any questions or comments.  We are really looking forward to having you with us to celebrate again this year.
All the Best!! Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris

December 27, 2010
Greetings and Happy Holidays from snowy Spirithaven!! With Spirithaven under a blanket of snow it is hard to believe that in less than six-months we will be celebrating DID XI, but it is true. Actually it was about a year ago, under a deeper blanket of snow, that Carla and Ted Monnich along with Kay and I trudged out to what would become the new performance area to get preliminary ideas for its layout.  With the efforts of our DID family we were able to "make the magic happen" and we had a new home for our performing arts.  Much can happen in six short months and we intend for there to be more infrastructure here in June to help advance our artistic endeavors. We believe those of you who were here to celebrate DID X would join us in saying that it was the best-ever.  The energy created by our collective was phenomenal and will only be eclipsed by that of DID 2011 as we continue to "raise the bar". As stated in a note to the Darbukastani Citizenry toward the end of Summer 2010, the date for DID XI will continue to be the first weekend in June each year.  This decision was based not only on a 10-year history of celebrating the Independence on that weekend but also in consideration of the results of the survey many of you returned.  It was the preference of the majority of respondants that we keep DID the first weekend in June where it had been for a decade.  Specifically, we will celebrate DID June 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th 2011.  Please note once again that there has been the addition of one day to the festival.  We will have some classes Thursday with two full-days of classes (Friday and Saturday) instead of one. This will allow more of you to teach, and allow us a dedicated night for the Expo.  We should be able to have more music and dance without actually "concentrating" the experience as we had to last year. While we are still working on the class schedule and list of performers, we are pleased to announce the return of Turku for DID XI.  We are delighted to report that Turku will be in the studio this Winter and a new CD project will be released this year.  The new music and all of our "old favorites" will be performed by Turku this June!!  Wine and Alchemy and Dragonsong will be back with us in 2011, and with their amazing creative drive we can expect new offerings as well. As the schedule is still being formulated, We would request that any of you who would like to be considered for faculty positions please forward any of your ideas for course offerings, along with a brief description of objectives, etc., to us as soon as possible.  Our community is immensely talented and we will try to incorporate as many of you "into the mix" as we can.  We will also be looking for musical groups to perform so please send us your thoughts in that regard as well.  We will keep you updated as to any important developments as they occur. In closing, we want to thank you all for the talent, creativity, artistry and Love that you have given to this event in the last ten years.  You have helped create something truly special and we look forward to you being with us again to see where we can take things from here! Best Wishes for a Healthy and Peaceful 2011! Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris

September 14, 2010
Friends and Fellow Citizens, Greetings from Spirithaven!  We trust your respective Summers have been enjoyable, healthy and safe.  All goes well here and, for those of you who know about Katie's accident, please know how well she is doing.  She is back at school and out of her collar, still on a crutch at times, and beginning to dance again.  We are so blessed!!!!! Thanks for all of your most excellent wishes and the good energy you sent our way.  It helped and we are grateful. We wanted to inform you of our decision to keep DID's historic first-weekend-in-June date.  Therefore, DID will be held June 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th 2011.  You may notice that there are 4 dates listed.  That is because we will begin "activities" on Thursday at noon next year.  This decision was made for several reasons.  Most importantly, we have so many folks wanting to share so much talent that we wind-up trying to cram too much good stuff into a too-small container.  Classes will begin at 12:00 pm Thursday and we will have our first concerts Thursday night.  Friday evening will feature a dedicated Expo/Hafla without a "Headlining" musical group.  The Expo this year was rushed and Turku was forced to wait too long to perform.  We want everyone to have the time they need to "do their thing" and believe that setting-aside Friday evening for the Expo will give dancers "equal time" so-to-speak.  The Darbukastani House Band can follow the Expo and play their talented hearts out until the wee-hours.  Saturday can then proceed with all performers and participants able to relax a bit more.  This coupled with the fact that well-over one half of us were present on Wednesday this year anyway makes us more certain that this is the correct course to take. As always, we welcome your comments.  I will post the results of the survey soon, but you should know that the majority of respondants did ask that we keep the first weekend in June reserved for DID. Thanks for all the you all do to help make DID the special event that it is. All the Best! Scott, Kay, Katie, Amber, Jeanne and Chris

May 31, 2010
Friends, We've now posted some info that may be helpful to you regarding your final preparations for DID #10.  PLEASE read them and pay special attention to the Survival Guide.  A little time and preparation now can save you a lot of headache while here when you'd rather be enjoying the festivities.  We have many new Citizens attending DID for the first time.  We know that all of our older Citizens will be helpful in getting our new friends settled-in.  Please also note that there is a gate this year with mandatory check-in and waiver-signing.  Please help us to make this hassle-free and be prepared for this upon your arrival. We are putting what will have to be the finishing touches on the new performance area.  The eternal issues of time and money will leave it less complete than we would have liked but a vast improvement in infrastructure over years-past.  please feel free to forward any questions or issue to us as need be.  We are looking forward to seeing you and celebrating DID 10 with you! All the Best!
Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber and Jeanne

May 9, 2010
Dear Friends, We trrust the run-up to DID finds you all well.  We are as busy as little bees trying to get the new performance area ready for its innaugural.  I am enclosing photos that will show the progress made this weekend.  Thanks to Tim and Caleb Albaugh, Tim Jefferson, Chris Boyd, Janet and Caleb Epperson and Owen Caldwell for their asssistance.  We will work again next weekend endeavoring to get a start on the roof and to enclose the stage.  We will also be doing some "grounskeeping" if anyone wants to join us.  Please let me know ASAP if you plan to attend so I can arrange lodging and food for the proper number of participants. I am also pleased to officially announce a major blessing for our event.  Channon Mondoux, a DID Citizen and long-time personal chef has graciously agreed to feed us our lunch and supper this year.  Channon is an award-winning chef and SCA Laurel recognized for her culinary expertise.  Channon's E-book "Celebrations At The Saray" was recently released to much acclaim and she was invited to Turkiye to share her publication.  Beakfasts will be provided by Ingrid Caldwell, a local caterer known for her pastries and healthful cooking.  What follows is a tentative menu for your perusal.  As you can clearly see we will eat well at DID X. 3 Lunches Fri, Sat, Sun;2 dinners Fri, Sat.

Fri Lunch- Homemade Vegetarian Chili with cheese, homemade corn bread,
butter, salad, dessert

Fri Dinner- grilled burgers/veggie burgers, balsamic pasta salad,
cookies or brownies

Sat- Vegetarian Soup and Salad bar- cheese, greens, dressings, buns,
veggies, fruit

Saturday night Dinner- Traditional Turkish meal

Hummus bi Tahini, pita, Stuffed Grape Leaves (possibly a third dip),

Saffron Pilaf- long grain rice sautéed in butter, cooked in vegetarian
broth seasoned with saffron

Shish Tavuk - Chicken Kabobs marinated in olive oil, lemon juice, Aleppo pepper

Barbunya Pilaki- Bean Casserole with vegetables in a tomato sauce

Çoban Salatasi- Shepherd's Salad- cucumber, tomatoes, green peppers,
parsley salad with lemon/olive oil dressing

Baklava- Walnut filled phyllo baked in butter and soaked in simple syrup)

Sunday Lunch- Sandwich bar with cheese, meats, greens, fixins
Please contact us if you can attend our next work party or if you have any questions. Best Wishes to you all!! Scott, Kay, Katie, Amber and Jeanne


May 2, 2010
Friends, Just a quick note to say thanks to all recent registrants.  We are looking at the best response in years.  # 10 is shaping up to be another wonderful event.  The energy at Spirithaven is ramping up; thanks, in no small part, to the energy of the friends who volunteered their time at the work party this weekend.  The performance area is taking shape (We are including a few pix of the project in progress).  We now have all of the posts set and the stage itself is about 80% finished.  We had a great time, busted our cute butts and ate good food prepared by Mama Jeanne. Our wholehearted gratitude goes out to Mark Williams, Donovan and Kristin, Ted and Carla, Brian Beeman, Dee and Hannah, Tim Albaugh, Kenny Prutting, Larry Kreager, Pootie, Chris Owens, Chris Boyd, Janet Epperson and our Spirithaven Family.  We could not do this without you.  THANKS!! We will need to do work parties all this month to get this thing ready.  Next weekend will be another big one and we need more help.  If anyone can be here, please let me know ASAP so we can get lodging straight and an idea of what we will be able to tackle with the number of people available. Thanks again to all of you who give so much of yourselves to this event! All the Best!! Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber and Jeanne


April 22, 2010
Greetings from Spirithaven, We trust this note finds you all well. This is the first time I have been able to send ANY e-mail since the last message I sent over two weeks ago. We have been having some serious computer issues and I hope they are behind us at this point.  I promise to get a tentative schedule out to you all and to respond to individual queries from many of you as soon as I can.  I wanted to get this note out quickly as I am not sure when the next "crash" may be. Thanks so much to those of you who responded to my last message with registrations and monies.  This has been SO important, THANK YOU!!!  We now have the trusses (and have them paid for) for the performance area and the building site is basically level.  We squared it yesterday and we are ready to set the first posts which we hope to accomplish mid week next.  I have to do a little touch-up grading this weekend and then we will be good to go for the rest of the project. As per the requests of many of you, and per my promise, this is the call for volunteers for the first major work party in the overall "Barn Raising".  Phase One will take place next weekend,  April 30th, May 1st and 2nd.  We could really use assistance from those of you who have a free weekend and are inclined to put your mark on the future of DID.  If you can swing a hammer and drive a nail, great!  If not, we can still use you and, perhaps, give you some practical knowledge in the process.  If we had about 15 people to work (Saturday the 1st will be the most important day) we could get many of the trusses set and much of the project finished. If we can "kick butt" at the work party it is conceivable that the entire 40'x100' structure will be under roof for DID X.  Those of you who have been here when we have real rain know what a blessing that will be to all of us. We will try to house as many people as possible in the guest house, Turtle dome and other sites.  We will feed and water you as well.  I know this will be a lot of fun.  If you can give us a day or two we would be eternally grateful.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you can make it and we will get your beds reserved.  Thanks in advance to those of you who can help us and also to those of you who cannot but will send us good energy. I hope to hear from you soon. Blessings, Sheque/Scott

March 18, 2010
Friends, We wish you all could be with us as Spirithaven reawakens after a real winter.  The Spring flowers are up, the peepers are going full-blast and the leopard frogs are just starting to court.  It is magical and we trust that the approaching equinox will shift th energy in a good way for you all. We have, thanks to Olivia, the postcard/invitations in hand.  These are for presentation to folks who our Citizens feel are appropriate for the event (and vice versa).  If anyone is interested, please send me your names and addresses and I will get them off to you.  Instructors - Please let me know how many you need as you go to your Spring events.  Please give them to students/contacts who you'd like to see as part of our family.  Send me ship-to addresses as well. The stage project is underway, thanks to all who have sent reg. monies and donations!  The grading will begin next week and I have gotten some competitive prices on materials.  We plan to have phase 1 of our educational/cultural center completed by DID X.  I will let those of you who have volunteered for the construction parties know when we will be ready for your help.  All are welcome, I will send out a general note at the proper time if anyone else wants to come have fun with us! Thanks so much! All the Best!
Sheque

March 2, 2010
Greetings Friends and Fellow Citizens of Darbukastan! Though you'd not know it from the scene out the windows of our home (Spirithaven is once again snow-covered - and it is still coming down!), it is just over three months until the Tenth Annual celebration of Darbukastani Independence Days!  It is sometimes difficult to believe that this event has been in existence for a decade, but it is true!  We are all in for a wonderful event again this year.  As I know you are aware, our faculty and musical offerings this year are second-to-none.  The plans are coming together for the first in a series of construction projects which we hope will yield us our performance area in three to four years.  This year we hope to have a covered and permanent stage which we can add to in the future to better take care of us when Mother Nature challenges us as she has on occasions in years-past.  Carla and Ted paid a visit to the farm in the last snow and we discussed details and came up with what seems a workable plan.  Kay and I met with the Environmental  Specialist yesterday and he feels our choice of sites is excellent and will disturb a mimimum of earth.  We have the name of a gentleman who does grading and we hope to meet with him when the current snow is gone to get going on leveling the site.  We have suppliers who will help us get building materials quite reasonably and a pool of volunteers who will assist with construction.  What we are lacking at the moment are sufficient funds to do the job.  We at DID-Central are not asking for donations to get this project going.  Some of you have, without being asked, sent us some "supply money" and we are so grateful for that.  What we are asking for is this:  First, if you plan to attend DID 10, and can possibly handle it, (and have not done so already) would you consider sending your registration money to us as soon as you can?  Secondly, if you know of someone who would be a "good fit" for DID, would you consider inviting them and encourageing them to attend? As this is our tenth anniversary we have planned an extra-special event for you and this has caused us to commit to spending more to bring this to fruition.  We have historically set a maximum of 100 participants for DID and we plan to continue to hold to this.  If we can make it to that level, we can afford to pay instructors what they are worth to bring their talents to the community and have a bit left over to help cover the cost of the stage.  In recent years our participant level has done well to reach half of  our maximum which leaves us nothing to work with.  While we do not want to see "The Vibe" change by opening this event up to "The Masses", (we still do not want to advertise this) we realize we need to either entice Citizens who have not attended DID for a while to come home for number 10 or find an influx of new folk who will add to, not detract from, the general welfare and good-energy.  We are asking your assistance to help us make this happen.  We don't want to have to raise the registration fees for future events.  We do want the event to continue and to grow appropriately. We will also be entertaining applications by folks who would like to be vendors at this and future DID's.  If you know of anyone interested, please have them contact us at their convenience.  There will be a jurying process and we would like to see photos of merchandise and the vendor's set-up.  There will also be a fee in addition to the registration fee for those wishing to vend. Thanks so much for being part of a community we know we can count on to help us take DID to its highest level.  Please let us know if you have any questions, comments or suggestions for us at this or any other time.  We will be sending out a tentative schedule and description of course offerings shortly.  May we request that any instructors who have not submitted course descriptions please do so at this time?  Thanks again. With Warmest Regards, Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber and Jeanne


January 11, 2010
Dearest Friends and Fellow Citizens of Darbukastan, Greetings and Happy New Year from Spirithaven! 
We trust that your Holiday Seasons were happy and healthy and that you have a good start on this new decade.  Speaking of decades, it is hard to imagine that, in the midst of record cold and daily dealings with frozen water pipes, in a mere 5 months we will be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of our Independence!  When we consider that this event has been "Alive" for ten years, and begin to marvel at that fact, the reason for DID's continued existence is quite apparent.  It began as, and continues to be a community effort: a contribution of the energies of the Citizenry to create a little Magick once a year and to be able to revisit that sweet experience in our minds through the year until we attempt to "raise the bar" the following year.  Despite periodic challenges presented to us by Mother Nature, and economic issues that have recently made it more difficult for all of us, I believe we have been able to create a more complete experience with each successive attempt. While we could say that DID 2010 is just another event, and we should not place any more significance on it than any other year's celebration, we can't resist the somewhat natural tendency to celebrate a decade of Darbukastan's existence with an event which will leave us with sweet memories not only for a year, but for a Lifetime.  To that end, we have been working hard to try to lay the groundwork for a celebration which will bring some new and exciting energy to DID 2010 while not losing track of what has given DID "the legs" to make it for ten years.  I suppose we will find out whether we were successful in that attempt five months from now. 

I would like to take a few moments to let you all know where we are in the process at this point in time. As DID #1 began as an idea of pooling the creative resources of three different but like-minded entities, it was of paramount importance to have all three involved in DID # 10.  We are happy to report that this will be the case. The Ladies of Zafira will be with us for the 10th successive year to lead us in dance instruction.  After a too-long hiatus, Brother Daveed Korup will be back with us and we are so happy to report that DID 10 will host a Turku reunion!!  Other folks who have been staples of DID's-past who will be joining us again are (in no particular order): Onca O'Leary of Barakamundi and The Mezmer Society, Jennifer Speiden of Mandara, Ted and Carla Monnich, Denys Proteau and Farzad Faranghi of Turku,  Roxanne Bruscha & Wine and Alchemy, Mavi, August Hoerr, Dragonsong and The CeltHix.  I am sure I have forgotten a few friends and we have not gotten confirmation from some  we hope to see back. In the area of "New and Exciting", we are pleased to announce that Raquy Danziger and Liron Peled will be with us as instructors and  performing as Raquy and The Cavemen.  Nina Amaya will be with us as a dance instructor this year.
We are negotiating with a few folks at present to bring a different culinary experience to the event this year and will keep you posted as the plans come together.  We are also considering opening the event up to a few more quality vendors for #10.  Please let us know what you think about this and tell us of anyone we might consider who offers something a little different that you'd like to shop for.

After the success of the more organized performance area at DID 9, we are hoping to complete a permanent stage for this year's event which, with any luck and your continued support, will grow into a "bad weather-friendly" performance/class area over the next few years.  With that in mind, and with the Darbukastani Treasury nearly in arrears, we must ask you to send in your registration dollars as soon as possible this year.  We already have a few (Thank You, Thank You!  We appreciate you so much!), but with every registration we receive we can buy the supplies needed to construct the stage. We have precious little on-hand at the present time, and this significant improvement in infrastructure will only happen if we begin construction soon.  Anyone interested in participating in this project from the construction end, please contact us and we will let you know when we are planning work weekends.

Pre-Registration is being held at $175.00 again this year, which will include the meal plan.  We greatly appreciate your support in getting the fees to us soon.  We also need all of you to fill out new registration forms each and every year.  Thank You! We are trusting that many of our "First Citizens" will return to Spirithaven this year to help commemorate the 10th anniversary of the event you helped build.  As always, we welcome your comments and hope to hear from you all soon.
With Warmest Wishes, Sheque, Kay, Katie, Amber and Jeanne


October 18, 2009
Dear Citizens ad Friends of Darbukastan, Greetings from the colorful Capitol.  It is a lovely day at Spirithaven and we are closing in on the "peak" for Fall color.  We are a good several months away from the next Independence Day celebration but I wanted to give you all the official dates for DID this next year so you can put them on your calendars and reserve the weekend.  This is, after all, the 10th anniversary of Darbukastani Independence Days and we are hoping for a Grand Event with a major homecoming for those of you who have not been able to be with us recently. The Dates to remember are June 4th, 5th and 6th, 2010.  We hope to see you all back home again at that time. Also, The Citizenry has been very supportive of International music and has adopted The CeltHix the band to kick-off DID for several years.  Many of you have suppoted the band at other events as well.  We are currently collaborating with Klaus Weiland and Charlie Whipple on some really interesting music and have performed a couple of shows in the last few days.  I was too inattentive to invite you all to the shows at The Sawtooth Center in Winston-Salem, NC and Stonefield Cellars Winery north of Greensboro, but we will play two more shows before Klaus and Charlie have to leave us.  We will play at The Honduras Coffee Company in Stuart this coming Wednesday at 7:00 pm and at 6:00 pm to 9 or 10 on Friday the 23rd at The Daily Grind Coffee House in Martinsville, VA. We'd love to see any and all of you there. Please let us know if you have any questions or suggestions, All the Best, Sheque


March 22, 2009
Greetings from Flowering Spirithaven Farm! We trust that this note finds all well and enjoying Spring.  Sure wish all of you could be here with us as Spirithaven wakes up.  Kay and I ran into an amazing deal on bulbs which worked out to costing somewhere just under a penny apeice so we bought and planted 8000 daffodils, tulips and crocus this past winter and they are coming up now. Plans are coming together nicely for DID 2009 and we have had the good news that Chris Washburn will once again do the meal plan for us.  This year the meal plan is included in the registration fee of $175.00 pre-reg.. We are pleased to be able to offer each registrant the excellent quality plan Chris treated us to last year.  With Vegetarian and Omnivore selections this plan worked extremely well for us last year.  With all registrants receiving the eight meals it will save them time and The Darbukastani Treasury money as we will get a better rate for an increased participation.  This also makes it more convenient to the Citizenry as you will not have to bring as much in the way of supplies.  May I ask the instructors to make sure you have sent us a class description as we would like to post the tentative schedule early next week.  Thank You. Please feel welcome to e-mail any requests/questions to us at your convenience.  We are looking forward to having you all with us again this year! All the Best!
Sheque