Viva OA

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I do not have an adequate vocabulary to describe Region Eight’s first international assembly and convention in South America where we met in Medellín, Colombia.

Board members, region reps, and committee chairs began arriving on Wednesday, greeted at the airport by OA members with signs that read, “Bienvenidos, OA.” We were driven to the hotel, and as we arrived we saw a huge banner in Spanish that read, “Welcome to the first International Assembly and Convention of OA, Region Eight.” The Colombians did not spare any expense to spread the word that we were creating history in our region.

Over the next two days, we greeted OA friends from all over the world. The region chairs combined their annual meeting with the event, and there was a great luncheon in their honor with over fifty in attendance. That evening, we toured the little OA office where they stock translated literature for much of South America. Then we went to an OA meeting, which was translated into English for us, with around fifty people attending.

After the meeting, our hosts took us to a local restaurant for dinner and dancing. What a blast! The Colombians understood that we eat many more vegetables in the United States, and they made sure we lacked for nothing. The food was delicious and the dancing was fun, fun, fun.

We got down to business on Friday, with a board meeting all day and our grand opening of the assembly and convention that night. They used universal translators at some of the functions, giving us little headsets like those used at the United Nations, and we could hear in English or the reverse for the Spanish speakers. That was pretty cool!

We spent Friday night and Saturday in assembly, and the convention ran simultaneously. We broke for lunch, and during the introduction, hundreds of white butterflies were released into the room. I wish our founder, Rozanne, could have seen this. Also, before every workshop, a candle was lit to signify inviting our Higher Power, which they call Superior Power, into the room with us.

We could learn a lot from the sense of community and beautiful customs of the OA Fellowship in South America. Words just don’t give justice to the treatment we received and how grateful they were for our visit to their country. We stumbled through our own versions of broken Spanish and English, but all understood the universal language of love and recovery!

— Gerri H.

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