Bringing other cultures to CCC


Story and photo by William Farris

The Clackamas Print

Friends, food and new experiences came again to CCC at the International Week event. The annual celebration of culture is hosted in the Community Center where every day it saw a new country in the spotlight with traditional food and a fun audience-involved performance from talented people in the community and beyond.

This year, the Multicultural Center ran the festivities, and they strived to put their best foot forward for the week-long event. Two organizers, student Daniela Leao and staffer Xiao Tan, had nothing but big smiles and positive energy when asked their thoughts on the event.

“We just want to bring awareness about the different cultures; especially cultures that are here in Portland as well,” said Leao.

Tan, the staff leader of the Multicultural Center, had an equally upbeat message saying, “… [It’s] basically a week to celebrate different cultures. We wanted to bring minority cultures that haven’t been celebrated on campus before.”

Day one of the event saw a wonderful meal of stewed meat and vegetables seasoned to a delectable perfection over rice. The sweet taste of the lime cakes could kick the taste buds of even the pickiest eaters with its perfect balance of sweetness and creamy cake like texture.

These experiences are all set to the background of stories and dance from a beautifully voiced woman from the West African nation of Ghana. Her bubbly personality was truly infectious as many audience members couldn’t help dancing to the rhythm and following her lead in traditional dancing set to a sharp drum beat.

Many people felt reluctant and awkward at first to join in, but soon enough, even people with two left feet couldn’t help but find the fun steps and infectious rhythm. There were even moments of bittersweet goodbyes from the group as some had to leave for classes.

While not all joined in to dance, almost everyone in the room lent an ear to some of the cultural stories she told at the beginning and end of her performance. These stories ranged from thought-provoking tales that made one ponder to light-hearted comedic stories that lit up the room with laughter and ended the day on a high note.

Day two saw more delicious food and music from Peru, including bowls full of rich cheesy potatoes with rice and onions that were a perfect blend of sweet and creamy flavors. It was capped off with a dessert of cinnamon buns with a sugary filling and shaved coconut with powdered sugar on top.

The entertainment for that day took the form of a class to learn how to play the cajón, or box drum. The lively class was full of dancing and drumming as the instructor led everyone in attendance through the basics of how to play. At the beginning, many had trouble keeping up with the fast and skilled drumming of the teacher, but by the end of the session everyone was having fun drumming along and improvising to the beat.

People from across campus and all social classes came and enjoyed the festivities and had a fun time learning and talking about the cultures on display. Many people who came had good things to say about the events and shows.

“It was a fine opportunity to experience a culture that is otherwise not seen very often in the Pacific Northwest,” said Johan Ceasare Aria.

Even people who didn’t get a chance to participate in the performances had nothing but smiles about the week.

“I just think the whole thing is really cool, how for a week we kind of get a glimpse at different cultures that there are,” said Rachel Morgan while having lunch during one of the events.

Unfortunately, International Week has come and gone for this semester and won’t be back again for a while, but the multicultural club’s doors are always open if you want to learn more or get involved.

If this story has piqued your interest, tantalized your taste buds, or made you even the smallest bit curious, then stop by the next International Week for more enlightening experiences.

William Farris