Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Sunday Fair and the Results

Oh boy. Oh boy, oh boy, what a week we had! Sunday we were involved in an Asian American for Equality Summer Festival, on Bayard St.-, which was exciting because three weeks ago we interns had suggested Hester Street could participate in a community fair as a means of raising awareness of the mission of Hester Street. A table was rented for last Sunday’s fair in Chinatown. We spent the whole week preparing for it. Tuesday and Wednesday us men constructed a wooden frame to display posters. All of Friday was spent on xeroxing and printing postcards, newsletters, posters, and the blog. The xerox machine and I are not colleagues anymore. We are enemies.

On Sunday, we packed up everything and setup shop on the corner of Bayard St. Leslie from Leroy Street and Dominick’s friend Alena came to help Anne and us interns. As you can see, I had made a sketch of all of us at the table. I had imagined that we would have had a hard time passing out flyers, but it was quite the opposite. I don’t know if the residents understood what it said, but they took them. The little old Chinese ladies were especially happy to take free stuff. They took our paper clips from the table, and one asked if she could have our only pen. I grew up knowing about that sort of behavior, but pens and paper clips?

Dominick and I had a problem handing them out, but the ladies did a marvelous job. I guess people that pass by can’t resist a nice smile. Alena single-handedly was able to draw in two pages worth of contact information for the mailing list. But it’s not to say that the guys did nothing. Dominick was very charming to the people his own age that spoke primarily English. Since I was the only Cantonese-speaking member of the group, I had to act as the Hester Street representative to the Chinese Community. I’m a very, very shy kid and not too knowledgeable with Chinese, but I tried my best. I explained to the bewildered people of the organization’s desire to have the youth of the community to help restore broken down areas and replant flowers. If I had more time to prepare, I think I would have described Hester Street more correctly. But, the adults understood what I was getting at, and were excited to hear of available activities for their kids.

In the end though, we managed to pass out all of the papers and postcards. I was so glad that the day was finally over. I thought I was going to eventually faint from an anxiety attack.

Today Anne, Dominick, and I explained to Alex, Jenny, Susan, and our littlest member Jesenia of our experience. We broke into teams to brainstorm on methods and activities to improve on future conventions. Generally, most of us wanted to have an activity involving children, possibly either a hands-on project or a game. We voted on the best ideas, and Alex pulled out the ones that sounded reasonable to do. Each of us volunteered to work on one activity. We will explore methods of educating children and their parents about Hester Street, methods of gaining information from the community and new ways of getting people involved in Hester Street, and improving the community. My assignment is to find ways for participants to gain knowledge of Hester Street by transforming postcards into a three dimensional piece that represents Hester Street. Presentations will be given on Friday. Wish me luck.

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