09 March 2010

Culture Day

Yesterday was "culture day" on South Caicos. Every year the Russian Doctor (this is how everybody refers to the island's only doctor) organizes a festival to celebrate the cosmopolitan mix of cultures here. There were three main events: a parade, food, and talent. Representatives from each nationality had a table and provided food typical of their country. Each item was on sale for $1 and the proceeds went to the Soroptomists women's group (yesterday was also International Women's Day).

The Parade

There were 8 booths in all: Turks and Caicos, Jamaica, Bahamas, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Guyana, India, and ours. Our booth, of course, could be further sub-divided into 8 countries (USA, UK, Italy, Austria, Holland, Hungary, Spain, and Ecuador), though we only provided dishes from the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy. Not represented were the Canadians (who chose not to participate after they thanklessly did much of the work preparing last year's event), the Philipinos (who won last year's "best food" award), and Trinidad (for whom there was a booth, but no representative). To say the least, South Caicos is an international community.

Various Booths

Setting up our booth.

To represent the United States we provided Apple Pie (for which Jessee toiled in the kitchen much of the day and for which I sliced an unacceptable number of apples), cupcakes decorated like the flag, and "pigs-in-a-blanket." I wasn't sure how comfortable I was with my country being represented by something so uncultured as pigs-in-a-blanket, until our first customer. A woman from the neighboring Bahamas booth came over before the event had really started and exclaimed, "I wanna try a pig-in-a-blanket!"

Making square pies.

Flag Cupcakes

It was also one of the students' birthday, so Jessee made this TCI flag cake.

The United Kingdom was represented by Scones (which I didn't even realize were British) and Italy was represented by Bruschetta (which Marta resourcefully made without tomatoes). The food I liked best at the event was the Indian. They were very generous too. For only 1 ticket, they gave an entire plate of rice, curry chicken, and an egg pastry. I also tried some Haitian salad that seemed to be made more of chili peppers than anything else. I wished I had had appetite enough to try more, but I had already eaten dinner not that much earlier.

The Indian food was the best.

The talent portion came next. Some performed songs and dances that are traditional in their country (a dance by a couple Haitian women). But most just performed something that would probably be considered international popular culture (our students sang "No Woman, No Cry," some TCI kids danced to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and "Beat It"). The sound equipment was so poor, however, that it made much of the singing difficult to bear - there was screeching feedback, flat sound, and it was all far too loud. The best performances, therefore, were the ones that just involved dancing to recorded music. Not all of it could be attributed to the PA equipment, though - I included a sixth grader's saxophone performance in the video below just for good measure.

Haitian Dance


"Beat It"

The Saxophone

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