Last weekend update: i had planned to take 7 children from Delft in my car to feast, and they were going to sleep over but there was an illness in the family so we decided to take them home after feast and pick them up the next day to take them to the Birth of Baha'u'llah celebration. i had to ask a friend (who we knew from san francisco, who now lives 1 block away coincidentally!) if she could watch our children from 9am until 2pm (at which time she would have brought them to our sector feast). my car would have to be empty to fit all 7 children from class. i leave in the morning to go to children's classes, thinking of how we are going to be ready for this end of year celebration in 3 weeks. we have a very interesting experience that morning with trying to organize the kids to practice for it -- very chaotic and crazy but lovely and sweet at the same time. imagine 45-50 kids/jr. youth around with tons of outside distractions, wranglings, and a language barrier. :-) the latest development is that they want to add some of their traditional dancing and singing into the program which is so exciting because they are taking ownership of this celebration, feeling proud to show all the parents and neighbors what they can do. the saddest moment, though, was when i packed the car and the rest of the children wanted to come as well. they didn't understand my explanations for bringing the 7 children, whose moms i know well, and who have attended classes without missing any, etc. one 10 year old started crying. i felt so torn. it was so tough to leave them behind. [it was even worse the next day for the holy day pick-up because another car came as well and we tightly fit 17 children but soooooo many were disappointed and seriously tested by this act. i will have to repeat myself until there is true understanding, and plan well enough for Naw Ruz so that many more cars of Baha'is can be prepared to come and bring them all - but next year it will be based on attendance AND good conduct]
when they came to feast they were in such a state of curiousity and delight. we were a bit early so we sat down with my drum and started singing the songs we knew. when i thought we were finished they would suggest another, and another...it was so sweet because the friends walked into the Feast with the sounds of singing and drumming which we never have beforehand -- it set the tone in a beautiful way, as if everyone's hearts were opened and prepared for the spiritual feast. they had a great class with one of the Baha'is and left with a most positive impression of our meeting. the next day i drove out there again to pick up 7, but ended up with 9 in my little car -- the other car had only a backseat available and smushed 9! people in it, including one adult. we arrived at a rented school gymnasium and the children behaved sooooo well during a long program of quiet sitting.
when it was their turn to sing (this was a last minute decision so they were not prepared to be in front of a huge group of people) they walked up on stage and managed to remember enough of the words of 5 songs we've practiced -- and everyone loved it! their favorite part of the celebration were the sweets offered at refreshments and the candy in the pinata. what a bounty to have been able to bring them on this special occasion.