Saturday, July 23, 2011

The ILC’s Maiden Voyage to Vanderbilt: Pool parties and Misunderstandings

Friday always seems to be the most interesting day of the week here at VSA. We have class like every other day, but after, we perform our new talents we learned in our Arête classes in front of the other students and we always have some themed dance. This Friday was unique because in class we visited the Islamic center of Murfreesboro; I participated in an unplanned performance, and finished today with a fantastic pool party at the Vanderbilt Recreational Facility.

The Islamic center of Murfreesboro Tennessee is a small one story building behind an engineering school. One would pass right by if they had not placed a sign on the street, the problem is it doesn’t clarify that the engineering school is not the mosque which resulted in some confusion upon our arrival. The center is looking to move to a new larger facility, but they are under heavy opposition from the surrounding community who oppose the mosque for various reasons from conspiracies to a victory for al Qaeda. Before venturing to the center, we watched some news coverage varying from late night talk shows to CNN, and we talked about the misunderstandings between religions which cause drastic consequences like the hate expressed by the people of Murfreesboro toward the little Islamic center. In fact after talking to the Imam and watching a service I found the people to be quite straightforward, peaceful, respectful, law abiding(Qur’an and the Constitution), and ultimately normal. Not like the Taliban or al Qaeda jihadists that attack countries and kill innocent people. The Islamic center is in need of more space, men and young boys sit packed together across the floor. Before totally submitting to the facts stated in a news report, one should research a controversial topic themselves or even visiting the place or object of controversy.

This week I studied the ways of improvisation in my Arête class so far our showcase performance we decided to play a game called freeze where a scene is created and acted out, but when an outsider has an idea about what’s going on, they yell freeze stopping all movement within the scene allowing you to select one person to replace and then you continue changing the entire scene. I chose to incorporate a rap battle in which I beat boxed while my classmates battled; I was able to stay in for another round, so I also acted as a Quarterback. We were a huge hit and laughter from the cloud allowed me to feel relieved.

After dinner my group arrived early to the Recreational Center, allowing us time to play some basketball. When it was time for the party we were called down to the pool where we were adorned with glasses, candy, and leis then asked to find a spot to sit. The lifeguard came out to address the rules then we were free to swim. Instead I decided to play more basketball before swimming which resulted in an extremely sweaty shirt and a deep desire to escape from the heat. I dove into the deep end of the pool, immersed in the water it felt as though I was enlightened by this new feeling of moisture; I found the escape from eternal humidity and heat. I swam for as long as I could, until I hopped out for a conversation with Gina. Fridays seem to introduce the weekend in ways no other can. I’m glad to have experienced a Friday as such because next Friday we will be packing to leave.

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