The hall rang with giggles and squeals, and the air smelled of popcorn and nacho cheese. At our booth, backed by my co-worker Katy's world music mix on her Ipod, I helped Scouts make "Prayers for the Planet" out of card stock, stickers, and ephemera. Next to me, Katy and one of our refugee clients, Heba, wielded eyeliner, eyeshadow brushes, and disposable mascara wands with flair. Girls lined up in droves to have their eyes by an exotic middle Eastern beauty.
Heba can't speak much English beyond a few simple phrases. She hails from Iran, where her family feared for their lives and ended up in a refugee camp. I don't even know much of her story--but I love her bright smile and the way she takes my hand in hers when she says, "Thank you."
At the beginning of the afternoon, Katy, Heba and I waited near the back of the hall, watching the opening ceremonies. My Iranian friend stood with her hand over her heart and recited the Pledge of Allegiance carefully, because she had just learned it in Katy's English class.
"You did great!" we told her, and she beamed with pride. Later, as I watched girls placed themselves trustingly under Heba's skillful hands, I saw them cross cultures without fear, distrust, or preconceived notions.
See what I mean? Sometimes, all it takes is a little eyeshadow.
Over the next week, the community at The High Calling, where I joyfully serve as welcome editor, is hosting a "crossing cultures" writing project. The idea began with Ann Kroeker's excellent post on marrying into a multi-cultural family.
As conversations in that post's comments grew, we decided to find other stories about crossing over barriers--whether the barriers exist because of race, class, religion, age, or other terms that "define" us and keep us from understanding one another. We want to hear about what you've learned by taking a scary (or was it?) step into a different world.
So, play along! Write your own story about crossing cultures. When your post is published at your blog, come back here and drop your link into the tool below. A week from today (April 27), swing back by to check out the full list and enjoy highlights from participants.
And if you don't have a blog, don't let that stop you! Write up your story in a Facebook Note (set the Privacy settings to "Everyone") and drop that url in the linky tool.
(Initial image by oneroofafrica. Used with permission via Flickr.)