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Goliad tour links Indian, Texan cultures for dignitaries

By Melissa Crowe
May 8, 2013 at 12:08 a.m.

Mariam Abraham, a member of the Rotary International Group Study Exchange Team from Kerala, India, tours Presidio La Bahia in Goliad with four others in the group. She fired a rifle Wednesday as part of the tour.

GOLIAD - Taking a cue from visions of cowboys and the Old West, Mariam Abraham raised the rifle to eye-level, leaned back with inexperience and fired the first shot.

As smoke plumed from the barrel, some cheered, some gasped, but Abraham stood still, beaming with pride.

"There was a large sound, before I knew it, it was over," Abraham said of the shot.

She is part of a five-member team visiting South Texas from Kerala, India, with Rotary International.

The group, which arrived in Texas about a month ago, also includes Christopher George, a business administration professor; Dr. Sandeep Krishna, a dental surgeon; Geomi George, an educator; and Jithu Thomas, a journalist. Abraham is a marketing coordinator for a homeopathic medicine distributor.

They will return to India on Tuesday.

Wednesday's visit to Presidio La Bahia and Mission Espiritu Santo added to the group's purpose of having a cultural exchange with Texas. They left after lunch for one of the state's largest and most historic ranches, the King Ranch in Kingsville.

The Goliad tours included the sometimes romantic tales and historic accounts of life in early Texas and how those events are still impacting life and culture in Goliad and South Texas today. Benny Martinez directed the bulk of the tours.

Abraham said, "I thought it was all ranches and cowboys, white and black hats."

From the artifacts at the mission's museum to the fixtures and architecture at the presidio, the group members recognized elements from their own lives.

After visiting The Alamo in San Antonio, Geomi George, said Goliad gives more connection to Texas' past.

"I really appreciate the way they have done the construction," she said about the parks' rehabilitation. "We are in the other side of the world - even the construction is so similar" to what is found in India.

She said Hispanic food and family values are "very much similar to ours."

The group's leader, Christopher George, said the experience visiting South Texas had been challenging but comfortable.

"The history here is only 300 years old; ours goes back to 7,000 B.C.," he said.

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