Filled with colorful international attire and an intertwined mixture of mouth watering smells, the cheerful conversations filled the room as the students and faculty members celebrated their diversity with traditional foods from their cultures.
The Associated Student Organization had its Global Village event that took place at the Great Hall room this past week at Pierce College as students came to represent within the community.
Khosh amadid, venga y toma and hakuna matata were just some of the phrases shared at the event. The phrases are from the languages of Farsi, Spanish and Swahili, that translate to welcome, come and eat and no worries.
Representatives said welcome was spoken in Farsi, which is a common language amongst Persian descendants in Iran. They said come and take in Spanish, which also means come and eat or come and have. While no worries, which also mean everything is ok, was spoken in Swahili.
“It’s an event made to emphasize each culture and almost unite us as one people, ” said ASO Clerk Jonathan Vazquez.
He worked with ASO president Alex Oloo to organize the event. Vasquez had just finish giving a presentation about Argentina. He wore a fútbol jersey to represent the influence of soccer in Latin American culture.
“We have Argentina, which I’m representing. We have Kenya, which is Alex’s representing country,” Vasquez said. “We have Uganda, Ethiopia, Portugal, Vietnam, Mexico, we have so many.”
After each presentation students and representatives lined up and waited to be served traditional foods from the various countries.
“Right now Argentina is giving out sandwiches de migas. It’s like these little tiny Argentinian sandwiches. I have tried Mooncakes from Vietnam, which were delicious. I’ve tried roasted barley from Ethiopia. I know that Israel is giving out something tasty and Mexican Horchata is delicious too,” Vasquez said.
Around the room tables were set up as booths and representatives from several countries waited to share their presentations and cuisine. Some handed out pamphlets, while others answered questions.
“Welcome to Kenya,” Oloo said while standing at his booth. “The shield represents the freedom from the British.”
Oloo wore a red-checkered shuka, which is also referred to as a Maasai blanket and a pair of sandals. He moved through the crowd of people and reminding the guests to make sure they get their passports signed as there was raffle they could enter in after three signatures.
“Then we have the colors on the flag. The green color represents the vegetation, the white is for peace. The red is the blood that we shed during the fighting and the black, of course I’m chocolate,” Oloo said with a laugh.
Yuliya Meskela and Rebekah Masresha are both 20-year-olds majoring in business who represented Ethiopia as they shared their enlightening information about their country. Their booth was decorated with the colors of the Ethiopian flag while Meskela and Masresha wore traditional white garments.
“A lot of people have misconceptions about African countries and I just wanted to set the record straight,” Meskela said. “It’s not all war and just dark, as Americans assume it to be.”
Other student representatives also hosted booths at the event in order to clear up misguided stereotypes about their country. Maian Rahvalschi of Hillel, The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life at Colleges and Universities was at the booth representing Israel. She is one of the few speakers to travel overseas to share her culture.
“I came from Israel to bring a little bit of Israel to the students,” Rahvalschi said. “Unfortunately we had a very, very sad thing that happen today in Israel, with the terror attack. We couldn’t bring [real] candles, so we brought a type of a candle in loving memory of the four victims.”
ASO senator Noura Hervani was joined with Tooraj Tehrani an international student from Iran. Tehrani wore African print shorts, and a grey L.A. baseball cap as he wanted students to know that the youth in Iran dress similarly as to the western youth.
“I want to show how Iran looks right now,” Tehrani said. “It’s pretty similar to America. Iran is not like the people that cover their faces, that don’t go out, that don’t date, that just get married. These days it’s different.”
As he gave his presentation several Iranian members of the Brahma community assisted in preparing a table of tradition food, which was to be served afterwards. They cheered Tehrani as he spoke and began to dance at the end of his slide show.