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By Ryota Dei

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Feb. 7) – Vibrant colors of sari, traditional Indian dresses and the aroma of Indian spices filled the ballroom at Guam Hotel Okura as the Indian Temple of Guam, in conjunction with the Office of the Lieutenant Governor and Guam Hotel Okura, hosted Indian Night yesterday.

Funds raised from the event, attended by approximately 1,000 people, would benefit tens of thousands of tsunami victims in India and Sri Lanka.

More than a half of the 300 to 400 Indian families on Guam volunteered to prepare authentic homemade Indian food and entertain guests. Guam Hotel Okura provided its largest ballroom at no cost to the organizers.

"Our staff and the Indian community on Guam have joined together to put together this event. The Guam Hotel Okura had donated this venue for free. The Indian community on Guam has prepared the food and our staff assisted," Lt. Gov. Kaleo Moylan said. "All the revenue that's generated, because there is no overhead, will go to tsunami relief."

The event started with a minute of silence for tsunami victims and survivors, which was followed by an ethnic fashion show and a performance of Indian dances.

About 11,000 people were killed in India in the disaster while the death toll exceeded 30,000 people in Sri Lanka, according to the World Health Organization Web site,

According to a report released by WHO on Feb. 3, the tsunami destroyed homes for more than 600,000 people in almost 900 fishing villages in South India.

Moylan said the goal to raise $25,000 was accomplished as 1,000 tickets had been sold before the event. Adults paid $25 per ticket, and tickets were for $15 each for young children.

Alan Sadhwani, president of K. Sadhwani's Inc. and one of the event's organizers, said funds raised will be spent to help rebuild houses, businesses and infrastructure of villages that were affected by the disaster.

"Now, there are a lot of things they need to settle down in their lives because they lost houses, clothes, boats and nets -- they lost everything. In some villages, I heard they lost the whole water system ...," Sadhwani said. "So, they have to put a lot of infrastructure and houses to build their lives again."

The Indian Temple of Guam has sent $11,000 worth of food, medicine and other necessities, in cooperation with the Rotary Club of Pune in India, and is attempting to raise as much money as possible for tsunami relief.

"They need plenty of help. The huge help they need is not enough for the money raised on Guam, but, we do our share," Sadhwani said.

Couple Theseus and Bistra Mendiola, 26, and 28, respectively, attended the event. Bistra Mendiola has been into Indian dancing even before preschool.

"Definitely, it's a very good cause," Bistra Mendiola said. "I've been watching very closely CNN broadcasting the whole event. I feel good that they organized something like this."

Moylan said the Indian Temple of Guam and his office will organize the 5K run as the next fund-raising event for tsunami relief efforts, which is scheduled to be held on Feb. 26.

February 7, 2005

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