It was a day of celebration of religious, family, friends, and a chance to do something different. What was that? The BCAA Bhutanese Festival of 2012, held on November 4 at the Italian Center on Tallmadge Avenue in Akron, Ohio. Between 500 and 600 people attended the event and enjoyed entertainment, speeches, and food. There were so many people that meals had to be taken to people as they sat at their chairs. It was a wonderful, festive event that showed off the many talents of Bhutanese refugees, from very young to those who were less young.
This was an auspicious occassion for the Bhutanese-Nepali community of greater Akron, and the traditional dances and songs were punctuated with original compositions and performances by Amber Subba and others.
This program was a tribute to the excellent planning, management, and execution by the BCAA Executive Committee and the Management Committee (Tika Dhimal, Tuk Rai, Yam Katel, Shah Neopaney, Purusotam Dhungana, and Lok Subba), and the Cultural Committee (Amber Subba, Son Magar, Bishnu Osti, Bikash Gurung, Santosh Gajmer, Aita Subba, Billa Angdema, and Shah Neopaney). All of these individuals as well as the Officers (Bishnu Subba, Prakash Biswa, and Tuk Rai), Trustees (Ghana Shyam Adhikari, Billa Angdembay, Pabitra Dhimal,Tika Dhimal, Purushotam Dhungana, Yam Katel, Sha Neopaney, Bhakta Subba, Lok Subba, Renuka Subba, Son Mager and Bishnu Osti), and Advisors (Amber Subba, Hari Adhikari, Bhim Dhungana, Bhakta Ghimire, Mahananada Luitel, D. B. Magar, Dhruva Kumar Rai, Krishna Subba, and Naresh Subba) played a consequential role in making this festive day a resounding success. Certificates of Appreciation were awarded to members of the General Election Committee of 2012, as well as certificates for participation as helpers for this event and for participation in last summer’s soccer activity.
Daphne Kwok, speakerA highlight of the day was a welcome from Daphne Kwok, Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian American Pacific Islanders. It was impressive to be noticed by a member of President Obama’s White House. In her welcome she thanked everyone and pointed out how they were sharing and celebrating their traditional culture as well as assimilating the culture of the United States. It was an honor to have her attend our festival.
Pictures on this page were taken by Natalya (Natasha) Mytareva, Terry Kuhn, and Nirmala (Nilam) Ghimirey.
Goran DebelnogichGoran Debelnogich, Senior Analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Office of Refugee Resettlement, was a former employee of the International Institute of Akron, and has been a personal friend of many Bhutanese refugees. Mr. Debelnogich spoke about several current issues and initiatives happening at the federal level. He ended with comments about the home-based childcare program that will help support and train women who stay at home to care for children. He also said that in 2014 the Affordable Care Act will cover all refugees’ medical care. His office is also working for easier recetification for refugees with professional skills. He told those in attendance that the BCAA is a true bridge to life in the United States. Bhim Dhungana served as interpreter for all the English speakers.
Volunteers”I would like to say that this festival was really great with all the dances, singing, and seeing different people. The festival was more awesome than last year because there were a lot of teenage volunteers who worked together to organize the place and serve food to the whole huge group. During the festival I felt like I was back in Nepal with all my families and friends. Everything was even better than last year, and everyone got along well. This year more people participated in each and every activity and there were more guests — even from Washington, D.C., Cleveland, some hospitals, International Institute staff, policemen, and others. In my opinion for next year’s festival they should put more effort and time to organize stuff because there were some things missing that they had to go and borrow again. Also, some families said noone requested a contribution from them toward the cost of the event.” By Dukula Katel, who is pictured at the left serving food.
Special Guests in Attendance
Mauri and Michael O’Brodo Guest
Mary Dee Guest
Michael Byun and Mary Dee
Hoa Tao-Nguyen Guest
Terry Kuhn Guest
Goran Debelnogich, Natalya Mytareva
Sun Man Subba Speaker
Sudan Subba Prakash Biswa
Ghana Shyam Adhikari Speaker
Bishnu K Subba Speaker
Bhim Dhungana, Interpreter, Terry Kuhn
Bhakta Ghimire Naresh Subba
Daphne Kwok, Naresh Subba Speaker
Several high school students volunteered to help with the program. Only a few of them are pictured below.
Volunteers Volunteers Volunteers
Volunteers Volunteers Volunteers
Singers, Dancers, and Musicians
Dancer Singer Dancers
Singer Singers Singers
Dancer Amber Subba singing Male Dancers
Singers Musicians Dancers
Musicians Singer Dancer
Old Women dancing and singing Dancer Dancer
Dancer Dancers Dancer
Little Girl dancing
Audience Little Boy looking at stage Audience
Mauri & Michael O’Brodo, ???
Letter of Appreciation Nilam and Bishnu
Nilam Ghimirey, Bishnu Subba
Letter of Appreciation Picture
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