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By Shanel Fort
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – About 100 people attended International Day on April 18 at Camden County College in Blackwood. The event was held in the atrium inside the Connector Building from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Left to right, Sedef Hyhan, Mehmet Ergin and Elvan Yildirim gather at International Day. By Shanel Fort, CCC Journalism Program

Left to right, Sedef Hyhan, Mehmet Ergin and Elvan Yildirim gather at International Day. By Shanel Fort, CCC Journalism Program

Kathryn Esperance, head of International Day, introduced Laniece Davis, who serenaded the audience with the national anthem, which followed a moment of silence for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.

Cheers, hand claps and laughter echoed throughout the Connector Building during the event. The aroma of tacos, egg rolls and Hispanic rice filled the room with their authentic smells. Guests were welcome to sample all of the foods, which were prepared by the CCC cafeteria staff.

At least 20 tables held displays of art, culture and fun facts about countries. When asked about Turkey, Mehmet Ergin, a representative, stated, “We speak Turkish. Our capital is Ankara, which is home to 75 million people. We enjoy treats like Turkish delights: a soft, powder, chewy candy.” Representatives also provided guests with free samples of a Turkish coffee called Kurukahveci.

Frandy Jean, an artist from Haiti, described an array of intricate bracelets, necklaces and bracelets he made. He stated, “I made them from recycled paper from a calendar.” He added, “Haiti was once ruled by France, so we speak French and Creole.”

Representatives of other countries such as Japan, Nigeria, Israel, Trinidad, Philippines, Vietnam and Syria also gave cultural backgrounds on their countries.

Two Asian fan dancers, dressed in pink and white, floor-length dresses, provided the next segment of entertainment. Three Syrian male dancers twirled tassels between their fingers, interlocked arms and danced down the aisle to sounds of Arabian tunes. An Indian drummer soloist, dressed in a red, glitter and gold dress, danced to the beat of her drum.

Religion was also included in the day. Muslim women covered in garbs and head wraps offered pamphlets about the Quran, while a Jewish sponsor, wearing a yarmulke, informed passersby about the Star of David and the Jewish way of life.

Jesse Orlando, director of the CCC International Office, stood at the podium and ended the day with a statement of acknowledgments and thanks. He stated, “It’s like a family here.”

Students who want to represent their country at next year’s International Day should visit Orlando’s office in Room 107 of the Community Center.

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