RUNNING HEAD: Cultural Immersion Project Part 2
Cultural Immersion Project Part 2
Cultural Immersion Project Part 2
1. What events did you attend? What happened?
At one of the local high schools they held their annual Caribbean Day, which is composed of different Caribbean islands and countries. The program was nice and unique, I learned so much about the different Caribbean islands that I They get to show what is unique about their Caribbean island, Haiti, the country I chose to do my project on, showed pride in their culture from the food, clothes, lingo and how they treat people. I learned about their different cultural wear and food. One of the speakers talked about what was the meaning behind their flag, the blue represents former African slaves who were brought to Haiti by the country’s colonial rulers, red stands for mulattoes’ persons of white and black ancestry, royal palm topped by the cap of liberty symbolizes independence and the drum, bugles, cannons and anchors symbolizes strength and readiness to defend freedom. Also learned a few dance steps as well. I got to try some of their local cuisine such as their black mushroom rice (diri ak djon djon) and soup joumou (mildly spicy soup made of squash, beef, potatoes and vegetables) also their local fruits such as gooseberries, passionfruit and guava. I even learned about voodoo, few dances and got to see a taste of what to expect if I was to attend the annual Mardi Gras carnival held in Haiti. I also picked up on their lingo and I learned more about the Haitian culture like how prideful and happy they are to be from their country. They take pride in who they are.
I also attended a church service which was pastored by a Haitian pastor who did the entire sermon in Haitian Creole and French. Being able to experience their religion opened my eyes to the different ways people praise the Lord. They have a live band which people play on the drums while dancing and praising the Lord. The people in the church take pride in accepting and learning more ways to accept God in their daily lives. Even though I could not understand the language, in their church there is a lot of signing and worship, the pastor had so much passion and she made you feel everything she was saying. It was very moving and emotional. The service was two and a half hours; after the service Haitian cuisine was being served. I had a wonderful time experiencing something I never experienced before in a different language. I learned so much about the people, they are very respectable to the elders of the church.
1. How did your experience of actual cultural events compare with the expectations you had developed from the readings and internet research you did in part 1?
My experience of the actual cultural events was exactly what I expected and even more. Reading and doing research on the Haitian culture is interesting but actually learning and be able to experience their culture was more than I could even imagine. I got to experience the authentic vibe from the people and to see how prideful the people are about their country. Reading about Haiti I learned that they are a very poor country and the people rely on farming to make a living however despite their odds they still talk so proudly about Haiti and even said how beautiful and happy the people are despite the odds they faced over the years. Learning more about the Haitian culture was far better than reading articles from tourists. Being able to talk to a person who is actually from the island/country makes me want to visit and experience what I experienced firsthand. Also reading about all their celebrations was only a glimpse of what is expected if one ever decides to take a trip to Haiti, I learned that the Haitians like to make the best out of any situations, they like celebrating all night all without a care in the world. Also participating in the church service was different for me. Reading and learning about their religion was great but actually being able to attend and be in the center of what is going on made the experience worthwhile. I forgot about how long the service was and not being able to understand the language, but I felt the passion from the pastor to the people.
1. How did participation in these events impact you emotionally? In other words, what was it like to be a “minority” in this group?
My participation in these events I would say did impact me in some way, for example hearing about the earthquake that destroyed their country and how they are still trying to rebuild. I felt helpless not being able to help them in their time of need as well as excited and cheerful to learn and experience their culture from authentic Haitians. Attending the church service, I felt out of place from the attire to the way I spoke. I could not understand anyone, some spoke English but not frequently. Being a minority in the Haitian culture even though they are black such as myself, I still felt out of place in a sense because I did not know about their culture, other than what I read about Haiti. I did not understand the creole language, nor did I know how excited and prideful Haitian people are when it comes to their cultural and how they perceive themselves. Being able to experience such a diverse group made me appreciate everything I experienced thus far about the Haitian culture. Learning more about the culture I learned about patience and no matter where you come from or who you are, you can have the same experiences from that person. I learned from being around Haitians that they are strong, happy, and independent people who enjoy life and does not take anything for granted. They are resilient people who looks out for their countrymen and family.
1. As you consider your own cultural background, why do you think you responded in these ways?
I responded in these ways because of the cultural differences between my culture and the Haitian culture. I was not familiar with the Haitian culture nor Haiti, the only things I knew was the language they spoke and how their flag looked. Being able to experience a different culture opened up my eyes to learn that there are many different Caribbean islands that are different from the one I am a part of. Learning about their voodoo and being able to attend a church service, I already had preconceived notions about what voodoo was. I thought it was evil spirits and that the Haitians used it for evil, not knowing that the Haitians community use it for experience, empowerment and responsibility. The church experience was nothing I have ever experienced; the atmosphere was so raw and real that I hope someday I will be able to attend and hopefully learn the language. Even though I am of Caribbean descent, being able to experience the Haitian culture was relatively new. The many obstacles they had to overcome and deal with on a daily basis, I could never imagine having to endure what they had to deal with and still dealing with to this day. Both of our cultures are similar with the festivities and carnivals however the dishes are different as well as the church services.
1. What are some key things you have learned about this culture through these experiences?
I learned so much from the food, people, experiences and cultural. The Haitian culture is unique and astonishing in so many ways. I picked up on their mannerisms, some of their lingo, I even tried some of their dishes and fruits. Tasting their cuisines was so tasty and something I never tasted before. They had so many options to choose from also trying their different fruits was even better. Seeing how happen they were to showcase their work and attire made me smile, I got to witness how much effort and time they put into their performance. Learning a few words in their language was the highlight of my experience, even though I knew I sounded weird, I was pleased that they took the time to help me make the correct sounds to be able to pronounce the words correctly. Attending their church service was one to remember. It was lively and welcoming, being able to attend the service made me appreciate their culture even more. Seeing them praise the Lord made me realize how religious and prideful they were. Also, their attire was like no other, it reminded me of garments from the African culture, all the women wore dresses while the men wore suites. Learning about their culture and getting to participate in some of the festivities made me want to plan a trip to Haiti to really experience the island. The people are so nice, helpful and caring. They love their family and culture and they will make any opportunity to celebrate something just to be around people. Seeing them happy and learning about their struggles made me reevaluate myself when it comes to excuses.
Facts.co. (2017). Haiti. Retrieved from http://haitiflag.facts.co/haitiflagcolors/haitiflagmeaning.php
Hass, S. (2011). What is Voodoo? Understanding a Misunderstood Religion. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/saumya-arya-haas/what-is-vodou_b_827947.html
Olaechea, C. (2016). Six Haitian Staples and Specialties to Try. Retrieved from https://www.eater.com/a/mofad-city-guides/miami-haitian-food
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