Emma Stoltzfus and Ashley Huizinga—Staff Writers
On Saturday, Mar. 3, the Grille area was abuzz with color, fabrics and the smell of foreign cuisine. Attendees flocked to this year’s Cultural Fair, an annual event held to celebrate the international diversity on campus.
Freshman Danikka Jackson attended the fair in traditional Mexican dress and presented a table on her home country of Mexico. Raised in Oaxaca, Jackson is a missionary kid, and she heard about Dordt when a representative spoke to her mom, who volunteered at the Christian school there.
“Most of the international students are native to their countries, but there are quite a few of us who were missionary kids,” Jackson said. “So, we were representing a country that we are not ethnically from.”
Still, Jackson considers Mexico her home and appreciates the SWB club for allowing her to celebrate the diversity within cultures.
“With Students Without Borders, it really is Students Without Borders. It doesn’t matter where you were born, and if I consider Mexico my country it’s cool even though I don’t look Mexican…” Jackson said. “There’s so much diversity and cultures can be so different. I think it’s a good thing to be aware [that] there are a lot of differences. Being a part of Students Without Borders—and especially going to the cultural fair—makes you realize that.”
Most of the tables—and there were many of them, representing 6 continents and 15-20 countries overall—celebrated the diversity of cultures with food, from tea at the Senegal table to vegemite at the Australian table.
Jackson’s display on Mexico featured a bag of dried crickets for people to sample. During the event, Jackson laughed about a little girl who was super excited about eating the crickets and “kept snacking on them like they were candy,” in contrast to “all these big guys” being squeamish.
“It was funny watching everybody’s reactions… most were pleasantly surprised,” Jackson said.
The Fair’s fashion show, always a highlight of the evening, was followed by a talent show, featuring songs and even a few dances from various countries. Senior Yannick Habimana (Rwanda) and sophomore Jazmin Mendieta Gauto (Mexico) served as emcees for the night, periodically throwing trivia questions to their audience with the promise of prizes galore.
Acts included grad students Brian and Stephanie Oh, representing Korea, who sang a soulful rendition of “Arirang,” a popular and mysterious Korean folk song considered the country’s unofficial national anthem.
Freshman Delano Adamson, representing Jamaica, sang Bob Marley’s “Feel Alright” to a small crowd of audience members who responded to Adamson’s call to “feel the music” by dancing and swaying across the Grille floor. The crowd included President Erik Hoekstra, summoned by emcee Habimana amidst cheers and applause.
Highlights also included a mix of Indonesian and Korean love songs performed by sophomores Grace Lee and Minha Kim (Korea), sophomore HaeMi Kim (Thailand), and sophomore Retasya Badudu and senior Daniel Amin (Indonesia).
However, freshman Israel Yakubu, representing Nigeria, stole the show with a street dance performed to Olamide’s “Science Student.” Or rather, his entourage stole the show, when they unexpectedly joined Yakubu onstage.
“I will be forever scarred [by this Fair] from [senior] Matthew Ojo shaking his butt in my face as he strutted down the runway,” said Junior Janelle Cammenga.