International Day displays diversity

By Amy Price
A&E Editor

A clothesline holding fluttering flags from countries all around the world swayed over the Commons Courtyard at Brookhaven College.

During the 20th annual International Day festival, 42 countries were represented.

The April 6 event was put together with the help of the International Club, Foreign Language Club and the International Movement for Peace Among People.

Sheri Van Court, ESOL professor, has organized International Day since it began two decades ago. “Every year it gets bigger and better,” Van Court said.

Van Court, who wore traditional Iranian clothing, greeted guests and was pulled into a dance circle by student Ehab Abadir.

At the Democratic Republic of Congo table, Jeam-Francois Kahamba distributed grilled chenille for the visitors. Kahamba said chenille are grilled caterpillars, a dish considered a delicacy in his country.

Student Tim McCoy’s eyes lit up when he saw the plate of insects. “I was in the Army for 26 years and have eaten these a few times and loved it,” McCoy said.

Guests stood shoulder to shoulder to catch a glimpse of the Flamenco dance. Rebecca Garcia, a Spanish-language professor, has danced at International Day for seven years. Garcia twirled and spun to the beat of Spanish music with a pair of castanets in her hands.

Toward the end of her performance, Garcia invited guests to learn the dance and perform with her. “I like for them to join me so they can realize they can dance as well,” Garcia said.

A line spilled out of the courtyard and formed for the hired caricature artist, Islim Ali. Patrons laughed and posed for photos with their custom caricature drawings.

In front of the Vietnam table, a game of jump rope started. Out of breath, Vy Tran said it is a common folk game they play. Students held three braided ropes to form a triangular shape for the jumper to hop in and out of.

Next to the courtyard’s out-of- commission fountain, students Christina Johnson and Roselyn Holcomb set up for their K-pop, or Korean pop, performance. Johnson and Holcomb said the music is huge in Korea, and they are big fans.

“We only just learned this dance last night, and we were up until 4 a.m. practicing,” Johnson said.

The duo performed a synchronized dance to K-pop music by Big Bang and 2NE1, MBLAQ, Block B and others. A big round of applause concluded the duo’s performance.

Pricilla Padilla, International Club officer, said the most popular tables were the two representing Korea and Mexico. Art was displayed at Mexico’s table with enchiladas and horchata served.

Colorful traditional masks lined the six-foot Korean table. At the adjacent table, samples of dukbokki, hot-dog sushi, and buchimgae, a vegetable pancake, were handed out by student Gunwoo Mo.

As plates and cups billowed out of garbage cans and tables disappeared one by one, student Bahij Atallah and University of Texas at Arlington student Yazan Almoselli spoke about the trouble in Syria. Atallah raised the Syrian flag and yelled out, “Freedom for Syria.” The two then invited everyone to join them in a traditional Syrian dance. Bystanders joined in and held hands with Atallah and Almoselli with the flag draped across Almoselli’s back.