Thursday, May 17, 2012

Beauty Pageant

Wednesday of the next week was a holiday celebrating the end of WWII. After spending my first sleep in morning in Poti in what felt like months, I went out and enjoyed the amazing weather. I had made plans with a friend to see her third graders in a “fashion show” at 6PM, so at 5:30 we met up at the park. She had been told where the show was, and we saw some of her students are were encouraged, but when we all got up to the door, it was locked. By now, it was 5:50, and we had no idea where it was. One of the girls decided it might be at the Poti Theater, so we all walked over, and sure enough, it was at the theater. There was no one or sign at the original building to tell you about the move, you just had to know that it had moved... Anyway, we got there at 6:00 exactly, but the show was obviously not starting on time. I found a seat next to some girls in the 10th and 11th grades who were from my school and looked around. That is when we noticed that we were actually watching tech. The teachers were having the kids come up on the stage and walk through what they were going to do. They were all wearing white shirts with black bottoms and I thought it was the basic costume and then the kids would have colored cloth or something on top. You see, when I think fashion show, I think of a fashion show at camp where the kids create costumes and show them off. That was not what this was... Fashion show might have been the literal translation of the words in Georgia, but what we were watching was the Junior and Teen Miss Poti Pageant. The show didn't start until 8, and the whole thing maybe lasted about 30 min. First the Junior Miss contestants walked out, posed at the top of the stage, and walked off, when the next one would come out. There was a woman Mcing the whole event who would have her favorites walk again show them off. Then a little girl came out who was chubbier than the rest, and the woman actually made some comment that included the work “tchame” which as you know means “eat”. Everyone laughed and the girl walked off, but my friend and I were horrified. That wasn't the end of the uncomfortableness for us through. The teenagers round began, and twice the woman had girls, one who was wearing a dress whose skirt ended mid-thigh and the other a long shirt that ended a little higher, lift the hem when they walked. They were both wearing leggings, but the whole thing sickened me. I know that we have the same problems in America with pageants and such, but I have done a very good job of avoiding that scene in America. In the end, several children from both groups were chosen to move on to the competition in Zugdidi for the title of Miss Samagrelo and Svaneti. Girls who weren't chosen were sobbing, but at least I only saw mothers consoling their children, not scolding them for not making it. It was such an insane experience, I came home and told Lela, my host mother, that in the future, the translation of the program was Beauty Pageant and not “fashion show” and that there is a BIG difference.

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