Saturday, November 15, 2008

Miami Book Fair and Esperanto

I took the two hour trip by bus and three trains from Sunrise to Downtown Miami. (The last train isn't essential-The Metromover- I could have walked the half mile.) The Goal: to distribute 50 informational flyers on Esperanto at the 25th annual Miami Book Fair. This weekend is the Street Fair part of the week long series of lectures by well-known authors at Miami Dade College.
Upon arriving at 11:45 AM, students, perhaps highschoolers, perhaps college students, marched through the street-fair with bands.
The first booth that caught my eye was an author ofa part comedic book on the mixture of Spanish and English. Yes the book is called Spanglish by Bill something or other. I will look it up later.
I brought food and a dozen books and magazines to show, if possible, but I was hopeful that the Spiritists, mostly of Brazil, would let me store my stuff. They had a large booth. Roberto Cabraz (of Fortaleza) , spoke a sentence in Esperanto, told me he studied a few years ago and was out of touch. Three other Brazilians and a Peruvian were eager to talk in Portuguese. Fortunately for me they were not being overwhelmed by buyers so we got to know eachother. Eleuz, Almir, Aldrin (the Peruvian). Another female spiritist was also volunteering. One of my larger albums with pictures from a dozen Brazilian cities convinced them that I knew their native country like few natives. They were kind, attentive and liked me talking to them in Portuguese. The main question is will I understand them? So, so I think. (
Roberto was the last person I spoke to as well . He apparently works not far away and was there early and at the end. When I said obrigado his last word was dankon. thankyou in Esperanto.
He urged us to collaborate in the future, to get a lecture on Esperanto at his prayer house.
I had a dozen conversations varying in length from 5 minutes to half an hour.
I was a little surprised to get a great deal of attention from a Muslim group called Ahmediyyah. Nureddin Al Hadith of Washington, D.C. spoke about a Red Cross-like division of this Islamic group called Humanity First ( ) . When I returned with the Koran in it's bilingual addition of Esperanto and Arabic I got into another lenghthy conversation with F. Zafar Suraleigh ( .
The young lady at PEN International clarified that she has met Esperanto activists at PEN meetings in New York City.
The english accented guy at the Nation Books exhibit said that another publisher (Bloomsbury he thought) with good relations to Nation informed them of a project to publish a history of Esperanto .
Another booth that kept me busy for half and hour was the Florida Association of Writers. Although Gene Hull had never heard of Esperanto before, we shared our stories. He was a former horn player for Duke Ellington and tells about it in his book Hooked on the Horn. Paola, an author of Italian birth, showed her book about Balsamic Vinigrette. I was able to show both Italo Chiussi's translation of the Koran and Umberto Ecco's book In Seach of the Perfect Language, in its Esperanto version. A nearby author Virginia Nygard gave my her business card.
I learned of a movement called logosophy from a Brazilian women, named Magdalena. She emphasized that her library on the subject, at home, includes books in Esperanto. The website mentions books in Esperanto as well.
All of the above groups and individuals shared thoughts on what is important to them and listened attentively about Esperanto and accepted a 4 page informational flyer. Only a handful of people were less receptive to information on Esperanto. TO BE CONTINUED

1 comment:

Robb Kvasnak, Ed.D. said...

Hi! My name is Robb Kvasnak. I am a member of Sudflorida Esperanto Rondo (SfER). We want to excite people in our area (Miami-ade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties) about Esperanto. Email me at if you want more information.


About Me

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I have lived 16 years in other countries, notably, Israel and Brazil, among another 30 countries.