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Sunday, July 23rd
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Providence, RI  — July 11th

The gentle men attending to the campground stopped to see us at our bus. After they toured, Bynah said, "Let's sing them a song." So everyone gathered and we sang them the beautiful song from our brothers in Australia, "Creator of All." They were touched and so were we to honor them. They are not the people who usually receive such honor, but by their character they showed they deserved it.

We spent all day at Kennedy Plaza in the heart of downtown Providence. It was not very busy, but people came by and we had nice talks with some.
One such person was Alberto. Dressed all in red and black, he had a picture of Che Guevara on his T-shirt. He looked as if he was ready for a revolution. Alberto had just gotten out of school and was walking down the sidewalk when he saw us dancing. He stopped to watch and then Shem invited him on the bus. He stayed for hours and could hardly bring himself to leave. He said he was just biding his time in school until the day when he would finish and could move to another country and teach English as a second language. He was looking for a simpler life based on peace and spirituality. Going to Indian powwows was the only thing that sustained him. He applauded what we were doing and wished us well.

Shortly afterwards, three teenage boys hopped on. "What's happening?" they said and asked us countless questions about the bus and our life. As we explained the Three Eternal Destinies of Man, they all took different stances towards it and we had a lively debate. They thought what we believed was different, intriguing, and very controversial. Finally, they had to go. They promised to come back and take some pictures.

We played music and danced and hosted an Open Forum tent. Intense gusts of wind prevented our banners from waving high and narrating the demonstration of life we were placing before people. Judy met us and thought for sure she had met us thirty years before in Arizona, but it was probably the Hippie bus, with us for the first time on the East Coast Merrymakers Tour. She was a very nice older woman who had had to refuse our offer to dance because of a recent medical procedure.

John wandered over to our event at Kennedy Plaza. He was fresh from a convention for real estate agents. Seeing the buses intrigued him and he cautiously came aboard Peacemaker I. Asking a few questions, he ended up having a wonderful conversation with us about the counter-culture movement, the Jesus Movement, etc. He's become disillusioned with the Catholic Church even though he has significant financial responsibility. He sees how people are being helped so little. He saw our life as doing something good for the needy people. He took many papers and wants to visit the Community in Buffalo.

He sees the poor and needy come to church and he wonders, as nothing in their life changes, "What can I do? I don't have answers for any of them."
We met Ron, a very gifted man who lived with the Amish in Pennsylvania for several years. He's still looking for a people who have the life and reality of the Scriptures. And there was Debby, in her early thirties, who was on the verge of suicide because of all the hatred and rejection she's faced in her life. And there was Charles, a young man who opened up to us about his very hard life.

We made our way over to Thayer Street, the alternative hangout in Providence. Who should be the first to greet us but the three teenaged young men with their parents! Full of smiles, they gave them a first-class tour.
Next, we looked up to see three men we had met a few days before at the Phil Lesh/Trey concert in Mansfield. What a small world! Later on, some policemen came onboard and told us they had seen us down at the Plaza and said to themselves, "These people need to be up on Thayer Street!" And there we were! They loved what we were doing, telling us, "We'd do anything to help you."

The scene was so different from the park downtown. These blurry photographs cannot convey the joy and excitement people felt as they entered into our rich social life. We taught dance after dance and so many people entered in with us. Their dignity was confirmed as they got the steps and skillfully entered in.

We met a very nice Korean girl from Warwick. She chatted with us, loved our maté, and danced. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and couldn't get over the fact that she had found us. Afterwards, four boys mocked us, catcalling as they walked by. But something happened as they walked to the end of the block. They turned around, came back, boarded our buses, and ended up having a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Merrymaking is contagious.

More coming soon!!!

For more information contact eastcoast@merrymakerscaravan.org

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Merrymakers' Caravan