I can’t even get over this weekend. It went so well. A long drive with a bus full of ridesharers brought Edna and I to the Green Festival in San Francisco. Mountain Rose Herbs gave me a pass for the weekend, and when I was checking in I realized that another one of FTP’s sponsors was there, Zhena’s Gypsy Tea. On my way to find both of their booths, I glanced over to see that I was passing the Organic India booth, another one of our sponsors. I had my teacup in hand with a FTP sticker on it and the woman at the booth said, “Guisepi?” And I said “Heather?” I had never met her in person, but she has offered a lot of tea to us, so we were glad to finally meet. Wow, three tea sponsors under one roof!
As the Green Fest was winding down on Saturday evening, Edna and I pulled up out front and opened up shop. All kinds of good folks came by for tea, including four women who work for Mountain Rose Herbs. The party was happening, which was awesome for the MRH folks who were there. A lot of people don’t really get what our tea parties are all about until they actually participate in them. Although MRH already appreciated our tea parties enough to sponsor us, it was good to actually get them an in depth look at what they’re like (and I think they loved it!).
This tea party led us to rideshare folks over to a Hamsa Lila concert, a Green Fest after party and Common Vision fundraiser. The spot we got was epic – right on the corner by the show. Tea was made by the potful, with every kind of person in attendance from homeless to houseful, Indian to American. We used a bunch of chalk that I got at a thrift store to draw big arrows and signs directing people to the bus from the show and the street.
As the bars closed and people wandered the streets, a crew of guys entered the bus. It was late, so the bars wouldn’t let them in for the 10 minutes they needed to connect, so they were happy to find the bus with open doors. They inquired as to what was happening. One of them in particular was very curious as to what was going on and why. I told him and he was speechless. “In India we call that seva, or service to god. Is that what you’re doing?” I told him, “I guess, if that’s the way you want to think about it.” He said, “Oh my, I just have to do this,” as he bent towards the floor. Not knowing if he was going to bow, or what, I got shy and told him not to do whatever it he was about to do. He said he must, and he bowed to touch my feet. How does that make me feel? Part of me really appreciates how much he likes the tea party concept, but I also do what I do in order to promote the equity of people, and the foot touching thing was putting myself in a higher position than another. It was both pleasurable and uncomfortable.
The next day brought us an amazing parking spot right out front of the Green Festival. After seeing Starhawk speak, I set up and served tea pretty much all day. Some great people showed, including friends from Arcata, last year’s Green Fest, Harmony Fest, San Juan Island, Colorado College, and a whole bunch of newbies. Earlier I met a fellow named George, who is walking across the country in order to encourage healthy living (“I walked 20 miles today, will you consider walking 20 minutes?”). He stopped by the bus and I told him that he follows in the footsteps of Peace Pilgrim. His project, which can be found at EnjoyTheWalk.org, was inspiring, and I was stoked that he stopped by for a while to sip tea and share with everyone. Irene, the Marketing Director for Mountain Rose Herbs, came by for a while, which allowed us to connect on a personal level, not just email. Towards the end of the tea party we were overcome by a huge crowd of two dozen international travelers from all over the world.
Somehow the MRH women got put in charge of bringing a whole box of kombucha to Dead Prez, who were performing at the Green Fest after party on Sunday. We smothered the package with Make Tea, Not War, Free Tea Party, and I heart Herbs stickers, and threw a few inside for good luck. Dead Prez received the package with joy, and I was stoked to pass them on to them. Two weeks earlier after I saw Immortal Technique come out on stage with a cuppa tea, I gave him some Make Tea, Not War stickers too!