One of the most auspicious creations, regarding international festivals and cultural celebrations, is the performance of culture. You literally observe the Universe dancing itself, through the human experience. It is through this gaze, where humanity receives a taste, a glimpse of Universal artistry, and wonder. There is a euphoric element, when it comes to the colors of human delight and spiritual awakening. For the different forms of humanity to color themselves in beauty, wonder, and love, there is a majesty, at work! It is intrinsic, magical, and glorious!

At the American University in Cairo, there are many surprises, which take place, during the annual international day. For 2013, there was a delightful wonder, of an unusual caliber. A presentation, and presence, that few students and members of the AUC community had ever been exposed to. A place seeming so foreign, but oh so close. So near. In approximation to the nation state of Egypt, they are, the people of the Nuba Mountains! In a collection of mountains in the northern part of Sudan, they are there. Alive and vigilant. They are there!

(Photograph and Edits By Lauren Clark)

The energy of the people was astounding. Dancing in performance, the balance of the masculine and feminine energy principles was in display. They were vigilant and alive in all their authenticity. Displaying themselves in how they view their identity through movement patterns and shaping of Earth’s planes. That particular section in Earth’s shaping, which they have carved out for themselves in the cycle of humanity, was evident in their performance.

Being there, right in center, was a witness to a phenomenal sight. It was one of the myriad performances I had observed on campus, where a dance of the masculine and feminine principles of one culture, people, or nation, sent waves of healing throughout the very spacing. This harmony and balance, where all walks of life find themselves in a state of euphoria, once they enter. A re-centering into the human psyche develops. And a massive array of healing takes over the arena.

Women of the Nuba Mountains, dressed in decor of an authentic, feminine presence. They wore attire, which had reflected their own culture of womanhood, and danced to the natural rhythm, known to them of their unique soiling. Their headpieces are captivating. In my eyes, they resembled mohawks of a particular, Native culture in the States. The men of this community followed; aligning themselves with her steps. For it is through her tongue, and her creativity, where they would understand the very nature of their own existence. Who were they as men? What was their responsibility to their community? These answers were told in the steps of the women. Their rhythm gave the answers. All they had to do was align themselves, and allow nurture to lead the way.

(Photograph and Edits By Lauren Clark)

Like others, I was fortunate to bare witness to such a performance. A lavish awakening of Nuba Mountains people, who blessed the AUC gardens, with a way in which healing is performed in their culture. Egyptian students gathered around the stage, to observe a people, and culture, they had never been exposed to. Probably, a world they had never heard of. And for that, their minds were awakened, and expanded to infinite possibilities of the human journey.

(Photographs and Edits By Lauren Clark)

Observing them from afar, you could witness the Universe take play. Moving one fabric in the quilt of human existence. Turning them around in the way of the Circle, where healing and creativity takes place.

I needed to capture myself in this wonder. Sacred memories were at play, and it is important to capture these treasures, so they are always, there! The power of re-visiting memory, that such imagery can bring continuous healing, even in times of pain. Cradling a feminine Being of this community had given me great warmth and reassurance. Like any culture, and as a woman, there is a magnitude of serenity, that happens when the Spirit of womanhood travels; while connecting with others, who are part of a vibrant culture. A myriad personification of woman!

(Photograph By AUC Personnel; Edits By Lauren Clark)

On that day, I had been decorated with a dress from Uganda. It was gifted to me by a Ugandan mother. You can interpret it as a way for one Black American maiden, to enter into the feminine aesthetics of Ugandan culture. I embraced her, and she had embraced, me! Pictures paint many stories.

This day April 13, 2013 was a day of love and abundance. Love was spread for those choosing to partake in its delicacy. Those individuals, open to love and healing, would be nourished by it. Who wouldn’t agree to find nutrition in love’s comfort? Regardless of the culture that brought the healing, who wouldn’t find love and appreciation in it being brought to them? In this example, what was foreign had been accepted as part of humanity’s Universal painting. Yes! They looked different. They spoke, differently. They even danced to a different time and rhythm; one reflecting landscapes of their cultural domain. Yet, the very same soil they move through are similar planes, connecting them to the rest of humanity.

Another International Day at the American University In Cairo, had been a success. There was great harmony in the cosmos, and the musical transactions of the day sent waves of praise to the Universe. Much of this is to say, that a greater purpose had been fulfilled. Until another year, the AUC Community would wait. Anticipating the future celebrations to come, and the tales they would paint. Until next time, for another celebration of a colorful, healing to be welcomed, and stay.

(Photograph and Edits By Lauren Clark)