By Rhoda Keener
Excitement was building at the Sister Care seminar in Bolivia on Friday afternoon, Nov. 15, in anticipation for Noche Cultural, a time when participants from each country share the beauty of their culture through song or dance. As I was leading the last session before closing to prepare for the evening celebration, I said, “I feel very badly that because I was raised a traditional Mennonite I never learned how to dance.”
Over at her table, Carolyn Heggen immediately said, “Oh Rhoda, don’t say that.” Sure enough, the women’s eyes sparkled, and Valeria Silva from Brazil said, “You will dance.”
That night when the delegation from Chile presented their culture, three women dressed in traditional garb with flowers in their hair began a graceful dance weaving their steps, kneeling, and swaying. Then I saw Marcia coming toward Carolyn and me while Graciela approached another participant and Alejandra a third. Marcia took one of Carolyn’s hands and one of mine and guided our threesome in a dance. I caught Valeria’s eye and she gave me a big smile.
Even though I was never required to memorize Psalm 150, verse 4 as a child, “Praise God with timbrel and dance,” I learned in Bolivia that North American Mennonite women can dance.