Brussels: In its first participation in Barrio Latino ( Latino neighbourhood or quarter in Spanish), a Latin American food and cultural festival, the Tibetan community took the centre stage. Organised indoors in the port area of Antwerp by Ms Adalys and Ms Karina, the Tibetan community in Belgium showcased Tibetan food and cultural items. The Tibetan public was evident in its high number in the crowd at the Saturday November 6 event.
Tibetan Community in Belgium Takes Centre Stage in the Latin America Food and Cultural Festival in Antwerp
As a special guest Representative Tashi Phuntsok visited the festival in the evening. He was greeted by Ms Adalys and Mr Palden, Tibetan community President at the gate of the huge warehouse-like hall turned into an indoor food and dance festival venue with a big section for children to play and rollick. Under neon lights and colourful buntings hanging unto the ceiling and with a huge Tibetan flag dangling in the middle, a large section of the crowd was dancing a Latino item on the floor next to the stage.
The organisers took Representative Phuntsok around the stalls showcasing handicrafts and culinary delights. Apart from the Tibetans over 20 Latin American communities representing their countries had their presence in the Barrio Latino. Going by the Colombian and Bolivian sections, Representative Phuntsok was reminded of the similarities of colours of Colombian and Tibetan flags as well as the traditional colourful fabrics of Bolivian women’s dress with the Tibetan.
The Tibetan community too has taken food and handicraft sales counters. Earlier Tibetan youngsters had presented various Tibetan cultural items. After the end of the Representative’s speech Tibetans took over the floor for a round of gorshey.
Meanwhile Representative Phuntsok was presented on the stage and was joined by the other main organiser,Ms Karina. He spoke briefly. While greeting the crowd of the Barrio Latino, he mentioned that the Tibetan presence in the Barrio was significant. Tibet is an occupied country and Tibetans do not enjoy freedom to practice their language and culture in Tibet, and therefore, Tibetan preservation of food and cultural matters were significant missions for Tibetans in exile, he said. As Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the European Union and the Western Europe, he informed the Latino audience that for South America there is also an Office of Tibet in Brazil.
He presented Ms Adalys and Ms Karina Tibetan scarves as a mark of appreciation.
On his way to the exit he met with a group of young Tibetan girls. He chatted with them for a while and informed them about CTA’s V-TAG (Voluntary Tibetan Advocacy Group) initiative and that it would be in fact launched in Antwerp the next day to which he encouraged all of them to participate.
-Report filed by OoT Brussels