Friday, October 21, 2005

Make a Wish: Champagne, please?

This week, went to a Make a Wish Foundation fundraiser in Abu Ghosh with my friend Steve. This is the worldwide group that grants terminally ill children their heart's desire: a trip to Disneyland, a pony, a visit with Bill Gates (why, oh why, young innocents?)

So let me preface by saying that the event locale - Abu Ghosh - is a study in economics versus politics. A mixed, Arab/Israeli community 10-minutes outside Jerusalem, the co-habitation really works and everyone gets along. But when you're a relatively well-to-do city with running water and no open sewage in the streets like Jabalya Refugee Camp in Gaza,for instance, it's probably easier to forego that Molotov cocktail at the end of the day.

Anyhow, the evening's festivities included an impressive Capoeira display by local teens, Debka dancing, chefs carving mounds of lamb over baked rice, pre-teen girls swathed in maroon veils performing traditional dance and a hauntingly beautiful choral performance in the town church marred significantly by its 2-hour-without-pause running time. Squirming in their seats, half the audience members rushed out at the 45-minute mark.

It was all very nice, the effort and determination that went into it was clear, the performing kids were proud, the organizers were proud, the choir was proud...

And yet Ms. Nasty-Ella (that would be me) came away thinking: Is that it? Why didn't I wear my casual, Friday cheenos and flats instead of the unbearable, spike heels and the long skirt? Is this as good as it gets? Is this what a fundraiser with government minister in attendance looks like? Self service meal and jeans? Where were the servers with the small, silver trays of mini-quiches, sashimi and smoked salmon en croute? No shaved ice between courses to cleanse the palate? And how difficult is it to throw together a few petit fours for the dessert table? A little champagne to wash down the lamb, maybe? Okay, forget champagne. Some simple, French table wine? Oops, forgot. This is a Moslem village.

Well at least it was for a good cause, eh? And bless Steve and his colleagues for their work and thoughtfulness...

I didn't say this blog would be nice. It's culture shock, that's what it is. Great collection plate for fits of misery ongoing long before this move...

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