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Rouja Green Shares Memories Of Bulgaria With AJ Women’s Club

Rouja Green, director of the Center for the Arts at Tusculum University, was the guest speaker at the Feb. 14 meeting of the Andrew Johnson Women’s Club.

A native of Bulgaria, Green shared some memories of her youth while growing up in the Eastern European country, a club news release details.

Green was introduced by Jeanne Stokes, the chairperson for the AJ Women’s Club International Affairs Department.

She was born and reared in the small country of Bulgaria while it was under communist rule. She stated that the communists wanted to control all aspects of citizen’s lives and thinking. They were not allowed to see American movies or art or listen to western music.

Green grew up in a well-educated, artistic family, who still lives in Bulgaria, which, following the fall of communism in 1993, now has a democratic government, is westernized, and provides a life very similar to that of Americans.

Rouja’s mother sewed her clothes when she was a child because she said there were so few choices available in the market. Food choices were also restricted with foods and beverages such as bananas and Coca-Cola only being available at Christmas (and even then, with limited availability).In high school she said she was required to join the Young Atheist’s Club, in which she was told that there was no God and was threatened to be kicked out of school if she attended church. The imposed restrictions only led to greater interest in freer thought and religion.Seeking further religious enlightenment, Green searched for and found a Bible, her first, in an antique bookstore — a Bible she says she still has, protects, and considers very precious.Green studied visual arts in high school. She went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Pedagogy of Fine Arts from Veliko Tãrnovo University in Bulgaria.At age 23, she moved from Bulgaria to Brooklyn, New York, with only $60 and one bag of clothes in hand, planning to stay two months as a camp counselor. She has now stayed in America for 23½ years.Green did post-graduate studies and mural painting at the Art Students League of New York. Her next move was to Ranchos Palos Verdes, California, where she serv

The meeting was called to order by President Jo Christensen, who thanked the Decorating Committee for creating the festive setting.

Following member updates, the group recited the Pledge of Allegiance and sang “America the Beautiful,” accompanied by pianist Ann Williams.

Devotions, based on the word “love” and its meaning, were given by Chaplain Leslie Vaughan, who suggested that the most meaningful way to express love is through action, as we are told in 1 John 3:18 (“Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”)

Chaplain Vaughan stated, “The most important and lasting gift is that of yourself: in time; sacrifices; devotion; faithfulness; and humble, selfless acts of service, such as we are given by Christ.” True love equates with action.

President Christensen noted that, for the first time ever, the minutes of the previous meeting had been sent out electronically, thus giving members an opportunity to review or learn about the events of the last meeting and affording more time for current meeting activities.

Source : The Greeneville Sun