One Caucasus 2017

$1,922 of $1,500 goal

Raised by 29 people in 10 months
The One Caucasus Festival is a very good thing, make a donation if you can, even a little goes a long way.

Anybody reading this knows of all the strife and hatred in the world. Some of the worst of it is in the Caucasus region. This is a great project there that is making a difference in a positive way,  with international and local volunteers bringing together all the peoples of the region for music, art and education.

Help out if you can, it is a low budget for accomplishing a great deal there.  This is the fourth year of the Festival and my third time attending on my own dime. This year my daughter Christina is also going over to help. 

The money isn't for us, it is for the general fund to put on this very ambitious program which operates on a shoestring. It isn't a US charity so it isn't tax deductible. Gofundme advises to say specifically what the money goes for, but specifically it goes for putting the festival on, and the best thing for the festival is if you just send the money with me and when I'm there I'll decide what is most needed for us to spend it on. If you didn't already trust me on that you probably wouldn't have sent anything anyhow.

Christina leaves this week and volunteers are already hard at work there, so the sooner you can donate the better.

You can read more about the One Caucasus Festiva at onecaucasus.org or facebook.com/onecaucasus
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This was written by my daughter Christina.

Thank you for your financial support of the One Caucus Festival. I just returned from two weeks in Tserakvi and my experience there is almost indescribable. However, since you all generously donated I will do my best to describe the experience.
I arrived before my father to work in local villages with other volunteers. It's an effort to enrich the lives of local children. In one place we translated songs into different languages and made mandalas. In another I took part in creating a film. Simple interactions around music and art that were quite powerful. 
I also helped in the construction of the One Caucasus village. We built a cinema, a restaurant, a bazaar, and some other structures for security and information. We also built a labyrinth to host displays showcasing all the work done in the villages. Volunteers were from Tunisia, Poland, Lithuania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the sole native English speaker, me from the USA. I witnessed conversations between people raised to hate each other. We all laughed as we realized that all of us knew the same jokes told to disparage our neighbors- "How do you compliment a woman from_____? Hey babe, nice tooth." Of course we had deeper conversations about geopolitics, too. 
My father and I took a break from festival organizing to visit the town of Shaumiani. It is an ethnically Armenian village. It used to be home to over 12,000 people and now there are just 3,500. The library there is falling apart but the women who run it do their best. We arranged for estimates to fix the roof and we are arranging for books to be sent in multiple languages. A young man told me that he didn't know how to read Armenian because he didn't ever have access to books. Of all the things we did over there, this is one I feel the most excited about. As a teacher I know how important literacy is and I very much want the children of this village to have access to good books. My father and I will continue to work on the library project and if you are interested in helping us, get in touch. 
So, this is all before the music even started. Since this is a festival about cross-cultural understanding, the collaborations of musical groups were awesome. One of my favorites was Natig Shirinov, an Azerbaijani drummer and another was Masala Sounds System from Poland. They rocked for hours and we all danced for hours. Good music is universal.
In the end, my face hurt from smiling, my feet hurt from dancing, my arms hurt from building and my heart was quite full. Again, thank you for your support of what is a unique and special and truly wonderful event. And let's all look forward to next year!
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I"m almost to our goal of $1000! Help out with a little if you can and spread the word please.
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$1,922 of $1,500 goal

Raised by 29 people in 10 months
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