This event is put on by the Department of International Students and each of the students is strongly encouraged to participate. It is a 3 hour event hoping to encourage the white canvas to experience a little flavor and color. It isn't an overly impressive, gaudy expensive affair. It is completely run, and organized by students (which of course change every year). Before Teg came home I looked forward to this every year- and thought "Wow. What a great thing to experience when he is home."
|At EC ET Culture Camp in NH this summer -with an Abatee from Care Center|
As we walked around this year. I stopped at the African Students Allaince table and started asking some questions about the photos. She didn't know where they were taken. I looked at them closer and said.. "Ghana?" She shrugged, "I dont know really."
A 'woman' stood next to me. (She looked 14 but was carrying a baby on her hip) I said hello. And looked closer- she wasn't Ethiopian- but... something... somewhere close- "Sudan?" I asked.
"Yes. Yes!" She looked at Teg, tightly buckled in stroller, "Is he Somali? or Ethiopian?"
"Yes, Ethiopian! He is Wolayta." (We often get the Somali question as our state has a the second highest population of Somali - outside of Somalia itself. I should add- we ONLY get questioned by folks actually from Africa.)
We talked for a bit. Exchanged names and emails to stay in touch. She offered to attempt to braid Teg's hair.
As we stopped to watch some of the dancing and singing perfomances- I looked around at the students who were absolutely reveling in the chance to show off their stuff. Admiring and honoring their friends work. It seemed so new. Such a rare experience for them that it was extra special. I was reminded where we live and I was sad.
|One Moon Ethiopia. Together sharing food laughter dance song and joy- and INJERA!|
And then immediately realized how lucky we are. Teg and I. Because this. This 'culturefest'- in truth was anything but. And yet, in the past year (-) we have experienced great culture of our own. Many Many Many Many opportunities to share with Ethiopians and Ethiopia-ness! We've had some real experiences with young adoptive families and adult Ethiopian Americans. We are lucky. We may have to drive and have overnights in hotels to join in the fun- but we are lucky. Sometimes it is hard and difficult to put ourselves in that place- it must be done purposefully- but it is always worth it.
That one 3 hour event- was likely the only chance those students will have to show and share their culture until the event comes around again next year. I ached for them. And rejoiced for us.