Joseph T-Giorgis, a sales rep with Sutton Group – West Coast Realty (Surrey) is an annual contributor to the Ethiopian Summer Festival in Burnaby, B.C. The 9th annual festival gave attendees a chance to experience this culture’s unique food, music, dance and art.
Highlights of the festival included a soccer tournament and an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, which dates back more than 1,000 years. The ceremony begins with a ritual cleansing of the air with flowers and incense, then green coffee beans are roasted in a clay pot (known as a jebena) over hot coals, before being turned into a delicious, aromatic beverage for guests.
“As always, this event created an opportunity to spend time with friends from different corners of our city and province,” says T-Giorgis. “People tell me that they especially enjoy the traditional music and the sports activities, especially the soccer tournament.”
Over the past several years, he has helped promote and financially support the event and volunteered on a scholarship committee. He is currently volunteering on a sub-committee of the Ethiopian Community Association named Ethiopian House, which aims to establish a comfortable, safe and accessible gathering place designed for people of all ages.
“Building a sense of community is easy but maintaining that sense of community is difficult in a fast-paced society like ours. I enjoy being part of creating an atmosphere where people come together and become one, based on something we share,” he says.
The Ethiopian Community Association of B.C. is a non-profit organization that strives to relieve poverty among refugees, asylum seekers and migrants (particularly, but not exclusively of Ethiopian origin) by providing information and guidance on housing, health and other issues.