Teacher Spotlight – Michka Wellington (Elizabeth City Pasquotank County Schools)
On November 11, 2020, nine Global teachers from Jamaica along with several important figures from the Central Office of the Elizabeth City Public Schools came together to celebrate fallen veterans under the theme, ‘Jamericans, Celebrating the Veterans’. The event began with a motorcade from Elizabeth City to Camden County about 20 minutes away. The Jamaicans decorated their vehicles with American and Jamaican colors. Jamaican music was played along part of the way.
We showcased several Jamaican foods which included manish water (goat soup), rice and peas, jerk chicken, festivals, oxtail and ackee, and salted fish. Jamaican pastries such as coconut drops and gizzadas were on display. The jerk chicken and festival were enjoyed by the Americans. The gizzadas were a delight. The Americans participated in activities which encouraged them to learn some Jamaican phrases, dances, and childhood games like Chinese skip. Everyone sang during a karaoke session to famous Jamaican songs from Shaggy and Bob Marley. Each American family represented was given a souvenir. The event ended on a high note as everyone had a spectacular time.
The American participants got to experience aspects of Jamaican culture in a fun way. Those who had never done a Jamaica dance before got first-hand tutoring learning dances such as ‘Bogle’. Learning the Jamaican language was quite impactful. Some of the American friends, the host, in particular, did very well speaking the Jamaican creole. Learning the translation of the phrases was a wonderful experience. They also got to experience coconut being used in a new and different way when they had the gizzadas. One participant said that she did not normally like coconut but enjoyed it.
Sharing our culture with local people helps to feel close to home. It is nice to share with them something that is special and dear to us. We are excited to host more events like this in the future.