Friday, April 03, 2009
The Death and Resurrection of Calabash
Last year I had the extreme pleasure and honor to participate in the Calabash Literary Festival in Treasure Beach, Jamaica. An international festival of the written word that takes place in the middle of a tropical paradise, Calabash tastes like heaven. From a Meltingpot perspective, Calabash blew my mind as I witnessed people of every nationality, race, and culture under one giant tent, nodding their heads together as they listened to the words of poets, novelists and non-fiction writers. When it was over, I promised I'd be back.
Well imagine my shock and horror when I found out Calabash was being canceled this year due to lack of funds from the government of Jamaica. After eight successful years, Calabash was being shut down. The organizers accepted it and with heavy hearts announced the sad news, but people weren't willing to let Calabash die. And faster than you can say Facebook fury, a campaign to save Calabash was launched, and yes, dear readers, it worked. In an unprecedented decision, the government of Jamaica reversed their decision and came up with $40,000 to bring Calabash back to life.
Do you see what individuals can do with the strength of their convictions? And it wasn't money that made the festival happen, it was the tremendous outpouring of support from people all over the world who had been touched by Calabash that made the government (and a corporate sponsor) take action. This is what happens when we fight for a common cause. This is why we don't give up when we know what we're fighting for is right. Calabash changes lives in so many ways. And it all started with an idea and a passion for the written word.
To read a more accurate report of how the death and resurrection of Calabash occurred, check out this article from the Jamaica Gleaner newspaper. And if you want to have your life changed in the middle of a tropical paradise, go to Calabash this year, May 22-24. You won't be disappointed and you'll get to hear amazing authors like Junot Diaz, Jamaica Kincaid and Nadine Gordimer, just to name a few.
p.s. The Meltingpot is going on vacation and will return on Friday April 10th. We're celebrating 10 years of marriage in the Kinky Gazpacho household!