12 September 2011

25th Anniversary of Bethune House Cultural Celebration

Yesterday was quite a day here in Hong Kong! We celebrated the 25th anniversary of the Bethune House, the refuge for migrant women, with a big cultural festival.

There were dances and songs from several different migrant groups, including Thai, Nepali, Filipino, and Indonesian. I had a lot of fun watching the indigenous dances and even got up and danced a little myself! (I couldn't help it, they were doing a medley of pop songs from America... I guess American culture was included too!)

There were also games with prizes. I think "bring me" is my new favorite crowd game. The MC has a list of items and tells the crowd to "bring me" different things.... like pink lipstick, or an HK ID card with a 9 in the bracket, or even a used toothpick! The interesting thing was them trying to do it in English, Tagalog and Bahasa... they had to keep telling everyone to wait for the translation before running up with the item. So funny!

Bethune House is currently displaced due to renovations to the space at the Kowloon Union Church where it has been located. Once the renovations are complete it will house 10-15 women and offer counseling services as well. Currently we are referring clients to other shelters, and are sharing some space at another shelter.

It was a beautiful day with only a spot of a shower in the afternoon. As a result I was quite sunburned by the end of it...

Yesterday was also the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks in New York. St. John's had a candlelight prayer service, and I felt it was appropriate to have spent the day immersed in different cultures. It is so important to learn and grow, to acknowledge the humanity in each and every person we meet--whether they are Christian, Muslim, Chinese, Indonesian, Filipino, American... Yes, we have different cultures and beliefs, but we can still share in love and joy, support one another in our times of sorrow and come together to make wonderful things--like the Bethune House--a reality. I pray that we, the citizens of the globe, will come together to stand in the face of hatred and bigotry and say, "Peace... Asalaam Alaikum... Shalom... Kapayapaan... Rerdamaian..."

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