I have to say that sister Reggie is one of the coolest nuns I have ever met; she has a great sense of humor with an infectious laugh. She has a commanding presence around the children but is one of the warmest people you will ever meet. She made samosas for Celine and I. They were DELICIOUS they were handmade everything was perfectly cooked inside I have not eaten that much in one sitting in a while I was reminded of my Step-mother’s wonderful cooking back home and it felt good to taste something familiar again. I am becoming of the opinion that Indian food is some of the best food on Earth. After Lunch we watched videos from their schools in India one of which is located coincidently in Hyderabad, India which is were my father was born and raised.
The school looked so beautiful and well organized with vibrant colors and excited children everywhere. Their main message is to teach the “religion of love” which means not to judge anyone based on religion, love your neighbor and don’t look down on them just because they are not the same religion as you. Their goal is to live in unison and harmony with all other religions, the symbol they had on display was the three main religions of India merged as one, the Ohm symbol for Hinduism and the start and moon crescent for Islam with the cross for Christianity. It was really cool to watch and I sincerely hope I get the chance to visit there one day and my aunt has aspirations of opening up a music school there as well.
So five O clock rolls around and its time for the beauty pageant and we met Seyom and Solomon who is another great teacher and music student of Celine’s and we head down to the high school. We arrive a little after five thirty and that is when the pageant is supposed to start. It didn’t start until about seven thirty… A lot of the events we have gone to have been very, very late starting, the planning and organization need a lot of work. My aunt and I also have been questioning if these people know what an equalizer is. We find that whenever they play their music it is ALWAYS distorted because the bass and treble is turned up too high and you can’t even hear the lyrics or actual song, just bass and static filled melodies. When the time finally comes to start the pageant the Seyom and the boys approach us and ask us if we want to help them judge. We say okay and become two of the official judges at this pageant. It made me laugh at the whole ridiculousness of the situation; my aunt and I were randomly invited and then placed as the only female judges for a high school beauty pageant in Ethiopia. The girls paraded out in traditional and non traditional attire (some were down right skanky with their dress) and did some traditional dancing and were asked questions about the issues facing Ethiopia and Adigrat. In the end a girl who looked like she was born to be a model-nothing but LEGS, won the crown and the girl my aunt and I voted for didn’t even place as a runner up. (Psh…)
We ended up coming back to the house after ten at night and ate more samosas and laughed about how much of a spectacle we are here… We find people taking pictures of us with their camera phones and people who are driving will be gawking at us Americans trying to help out. We do have a concern however that we wont be taken seriously, that they do not realize just how much is being given so we can make this effort to help change these people’s situation. Though we don’t have the distractions of televisions or fancy, flashy things there are distractions, there are things that can get in the way of progress. What we are trying to accomplish is dramatically different that what these people are experienced to and we aren’t sure they quite realize the dedication that has to be put forth to keep this dream of change alive. Our hope and mission is to become more than just a novelty appearance here, more than something different to look at and experience, we hope to create a better lifestyle with quality musical education that will hopefully change lives and broaden horizons. Wish us luck. We miss you all very dearly.