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Kids' Zone Monica Dispatch

We are Family! Come on Everybody and Sing
March 25, 2000

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What does the word family mean to you? To me, the word family means my mother, father, and two sisters. I also have four grandparents, and eleven aunts and uncles. Twenty-four first cousins and hundreds of other relatives of all shapes, sizes, and colors round out the picture. But my family doesn't stop there! I consider my Odyssey teammates to be a part of my family, and my other friends are family, too. There's even room for pets in my family!

What about you? Who are you growing up with? Who is your family? Grandparents, stepparents, brothers, sisters, friends from school? People from a youth group, club, or activity? Hold those people close to you in your mind, and think about how you feel about them. Think about how much all of you care, respect, and look out for one another.

Guess what? The people we are visiting in Iran feel the same way about their families. In Iran, explains my friend Amir, "What matters is what individuals think about each other." We trekkers had heard that the people of Iran were known for their friendliness to visitors -- we found out that this was true on our very first night there.

After watching boys jump over fires in the streets and set off firecrackers for the festivities, we were invited inside a house for a big gathering of family and friends. After playing with our digital camera, looking at maps of Iran and the Middle East, and practicing each others' languages, we sat down in a big circle for dinner.

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At dinner, everybody had fun. We ate baked chicken, and rice with crunchy potato crust broken over the top, and mounds of salad, and pickled veggies. I had two helpings! Everybody was constantly passing plates over and laughing. At the table, there were young people and old people, men and women, all being happy and silly together. All of them, young and old, are my new friends -- and a new addition to my family!


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Abeja - The Fire Holiday

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