Afghanistan...Breaking Bread in Tampa Bay
Afghanistan…and a warm Tampa Bay Welcoming…For a number of years, World Partnerships was honored to host #StateIVLP Afghan elected officials in Tampa Bay, here for hands-on experience of how US participatory politics works – from the grassroots school board races to national elections.
One group joined Independence Day festivities in Lutz at the invitation of Congressman Gus Bilirakis (standing, at left). Congressman Bilirakis warmly welcomed the group, introduced them to his father, former Congressman Mike Bilirakis (seated, at right), and brought them to a community luncheon inside the Lutz Volunteer Fire Department building.
The Congressman introduced the Afghan guests, then asked the firefighters and other guests to introduce themselves. Our Afghan group was amazed and delighted when they learned how many of the firefighters were veterans who served in Afghanistan, and who were so familiar with their country. From then until the Afghans departed, there were animated and warm conversations buzzing around every table.
They met each other as strangers, broke bread together, and left as friends…That is the essence of why exchanges matter. And just one of the ways we create “community hospitality” around Tampa Bay! We and our visitors were deeply grateful to Congressman Bilirakis and the Lutz VFD for their most gracious and generous welcome.
We hold these Afghan elected officials in our hearts…