Celebrating Kaleidoscope memories!

Yesterday I was sitting alone when warm waves of memories filled my mind, memories of those new experiences, new place, new colors, new stories, memories of the Kaleidoscope ceremony in Sydney!!

Kaleidoscope is hard to put in words, I can go on and on about the different colors that existed and made the event a great time of our lives. Remembering the starting day of the grand event, 1st October 2007, I do remember the innocent looking action partners and the most helpful people of Oxfam, whom I think we cant thank enough! They made the huge event grounds a home and all the 300 action partners a great big family. Action partners came with sad stories, hard moment memories and sad feelings, but the loving family of Oxfam made Sydney a home for them, I cant forget Geoff’s humor, Dorothy’s smile, Anna’s laughter, Jessica’s cute voice in fact everybody was great…….hmmm what do I mean WAS, they are great!!!

Along with emotional moments, kaleidoscope had its colors; the dinning hall is a great memory! Cant believe the big trays we had to pick and wait like hours for our meal. Every body might remember the first meal we had in kings school, something green mushy and inside raw breads.
The homerooms and dorms came up as a funny thing to discuss, we held our stomachs rolling on the floor when Kader said the kangaroos got to sleep in the forest house. Sometimes we slept really late after late night talks and Samira would usually be escorted by three fourths of the courageous man to her room.

Arpit was another color to the event, he actually mixed up so easily in the kaleidoscope that it was hard to see if it was the same shy Arpit! But certainly a great guy like him is anybody’s good friend, and same mine. He was there when ever I needed him, once I felt like I was lost in the huge school grounds at 9 in the night and heard his guitar playing until I made my way to him and other friends, and how can I forget the day I was coming back to Pakistan and Daniel was leaving me on bus, when he suddenly popped out from nowhere! Thanks Arpit you are great!

It was really hard to tell if Latinos were from Pakistan or not, looking for our shy action partner Kifayat, I had ended up asking 13 Latinos and actually one Nigerian if they were from Pakistan. Well it wasn’t bad, I came to know three really nice people doing that, Kader, Daniel, Victor.

Kader tried to please me by saying he can be from Pakistan if I like! and Daniel? I actually asked him for about 3 times until someone said he doesn’t understands English and speaks only Spanish. And finally victor, he is a great friend, the greatest I met! he was the magician of the event, doing tricks, and when I say tricks, I MEAN tricks because he is a tricky person. I had to give him one of my best drawings to learn the easiest trick on earth!

Alexandra was the first girl I met in Sydney when I arrived and since then she was hard to be with, not that she bites, but because she is Spanish! I barely spoke to her, because I couldn’t and the most funniest thing ever happened to both of us, we got the same post event accommodation! And had to face each other for two day………she used internet for translating, I used the small book and trying and trying and trying again…………I remember the day we were deciding the time for what time were going to the market, it took us hours to translate what we were saying to each other (there wasn’t anybody else at home)and finally we decided by Alexandra saying in Spanish about 12 and I said “ok Alaxandra, you are saying 1 pm then I will be ready by then:!

The new experiences were REALLY new for me and hard to adjust with for a while, I was shocked when I saw people drunk and I was awe struck when an action partner easily told me, “yes I m gay”, the last ever to have faint me up (or may be other s too) was Vusi Khosa’s sessions on Gender!

Breakfast times at the dinning hall were the most interesting, we would always find a new news flying around in the air. Once we learnt that about half of the action partners went together to visit the city and had broken a train! Can you believe that, they had ended up sleeping on the station. We heard about one action partner not being able to find transport from the city and had to walk four hours to the kings school.

Our mentors were the best ever! Guru, Toto, Lamin, Gail, Sharon…….you name them! They made things fun and easier for us to learn and adjust, Totos camera was memorable, and everybody liked it so much I actually saw everyone holding it, you would go ask whos camera is that and they would answer, TOTO!
Kaleidoscopes best memories include an especial moment when I found a brother in middle of all the action partners. Dani bro! I thank you for the moment you called me your sis and the genuine smile on your face and the warm hug of yours, you are a true gift for me, I love you lots!

Indian Action Partners added a great color to the event; they were an inspiration to all of us, Sachi, Shubhi, Sudha, Arindham, Arpit, Bandana and others. They made it clear that India and Pakistan were never separated, and we are one, no matter what! Actually the best was to see them have the same feelings we had, (we would make faces at the meal and they would do too)

My roommates! How can I forget all those cute girls from these countries of Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Somalia, Malaysia. Our late night talks, the snack munching, showing off gifts bought for families back in our countries. We always had something to share, someone might come up with cookies, or chips and we would munch on and on talking for hours about lots of things.

Kings school was an edition to the event, it was a best selected venue, though a lot of us had many questions as what did Oxfam had against the action partners to have selected that place, they made them walk like hours to get to a class. Some of us suggested to take cabs from place to place. Nader Houlla went all the way to suggest taking over the territory and rule the place. Indeed it was an amazing school, I couldn’t help thinking what the kids do who were there? I always lost all my energy when I went to the dinning hall at breakfast in the morning, had to drag my feet and kept repeating, ok khalida, just few hundred more miles now……..

Shum! An amazing girl I met! if I would be asked to explain her personality, I would say, all spirit! She is a girl with positive visions and possibilities, possibilities and possibilities. She was totally different then what I m, that was the real reason I liked her. Hmmm…….I found out two interesting talets of her, shum is a great dance partner, actually my first dance partner we did a little salsa together! (yeah after she and pushpa practically forced me to dance) second, she is a terrible singer! I don’t say I m good, we got together to sing kajr re on our way to the opening ceremony and I could see the bus windows cracking!

The Americans, Africans, Asians…..Indeed all the 300 action partners are the colors that made Kaleidoscope for real, they mixed together and made one bright color together that says, change is possible!