This meditation is from Felicia Roper, who accompanied a group of Pullen pilgrims to the Republic of Georgia earlier this summer.
I love the way my daughter and her generation view the world: they embrace diversity, love to explore new places, and thrive on learning about people beyond the limits of local culture. The women in our group of Georgia pilgrims saw a powerful example of this when we spent a night with the young women in a Muslim school in the highlands east of the Black Sea.
After our dinner in their dining hall, our whole group sat and talked with the men who had brought us to the school. The girls were demure and silent, as Georgian Muslim custom requires when men are present. But when our male pilgrims left to go to the men’s school for the night, instantly the girls started chattering, laughing, asking questions about our lives, and wanting to share theirs with us. They all spoke English, some just a little and a few fairly well. They were so glad, though, to be able to use what they knew of our language to learn more about us. And it was nice to be able to communicate with them too. We talked, they sang for us, then we sang for them; they liked “Amazing Grace” but didn’t quite get the context of “We Shall Overcome” – no surprise there!
But the highlight of the evening came when they wanted to dance with us. They began to teach us the movements typical of Georgian dance, which looks a bit like Indian or Arabian dance. Then Paula Dempsey had a brilliant idea: teach them the Virginia Reel. It’s easy to learn, lively, and very inclusive – perfect for the occasion. The look on everyone’s faces as we pranced and revolved was worth a hot, curvy road trip to the mountains. And the joy on those young women’s faces lit up the world for me.
So please join us when we share more stories of our trip on Wednesday, August 13. Dinner begins at 5:15, and our presentation will start at 6:15.