Monday, June 13, 2011
Celebration, Commemoration, Dedication, and One Happy Blue Fish
June is bustin' out all over--that's for sure! So many recent events. I'll give you the highlights and links to albums of photos. First there was the amazing kindergarten production in my village on Youth Day (June 1st). The big class taught by only one well-organized woman presented songs, dances, and recitations all in elaborate story-book character costumes. Not only did they perform well, but they behaved themselves on stage for over an hour in a very hot room. It was an impressive program and very well attended, of course. (Photos) Then there was Hero's Day in my village. This seems to be Romania's version of Memorial Day, honoring fallen soldiers and living veterans. Our school children processed to the cemetery along with the priest and several veterans and what seemed to be widows of the fallen. The priest offered prayers, the children read short passages and sang, and the mayor hung a wreath on the memorial tombstone. It was a nice ceremony. (Photos) Also during that week Peace Corps' Habitat for Humanity build was occurring in the nearby town of Beius. Our volunteers came in shifts to complete the house in a week. I knew I had too much happening at my school to attend, so I made a donation and enjoyed some of the volunteers coming through the area. (Photos) It was great to visit with them in Oradea and a few spent the night with me in my village before and after their shifts and were even on hand for the community celebration of Youth Day, which was delayed until Sunday, June 5th this year. (Photos) It was in the park, a very nice venue with a fine stage at one end for all the dances, songs, skits, and music. The park was packed and everyone was having a great time--even with the heat. Fortunately, there was a steady breeze, too. My sixth grade students presented two narrative poems in English with accompanying skits. We worked on these after school several times and I spent much time on the head gear and props for the skits. Thank heavens for a Chinese import store a short bus ride away. Everything seemed fine, but the kids seemed to have stage fright when they actually had to perform on stage, and many in the audience who didn't understand English tuned us out and talked. So it wasn't the big success I had hoped for, but I'm hoping the experience was a positive one for them (they sure looked cute in their little bee antennae, bear ears, or flower wreaths!)and that they'll remember it with a smile...or a laugh. One bee wore high heels, the bears kept losing their noses, and the tree kept lifting the branches high over his head instead of in front of his face. Ah, but my paper bag beehive held up just fine. And finally the event I had been anxiously awaiting: the dedication of the Peace Mural at our school. Our mural, along with many others around the country is part of the celebration of Peace Corps' 20th anniversary in Romania and 50th anniversary around the world. (Photos) We encouraged the students to come up with a drawing to be used, but ended up using elements of four different drawings, cleverly interwoven by our documentarian Andrada. The chosen wall is right at the entance to the school and can't be missed! The mayor attended our dedication and cut the ribbon for us after two students read a little speech in English and Romanian. The design features the outline of the country of Romania with scrolls of music from both national anthems, doves, flowers, a peace symbol in Romania's colors and the Peace Corps logo. "But why blue?" our principal asked last week about the light blue dominant color. I think he had something brighter in mind. "It's what the students wanted. It's peaceful," answered Andrada. I like it. It looks for all the world like a big, happy, blue fish, trailing its music and doves through a peaceful sea of diplomacy.