The Moose Jaw Multicultural Council (MJMC) partnered with the united Rotary Clubs of Moose Jaw for an Evening Around the World event featuring food, music, and dance from the incredible variety of cultures represented in the city.
The Evening Around the World took place on March 10 at St. Andrew’s United Church, which also houses the facilities of the MJMC.
The sold-out event was the MJMC’s biggest ever, bringing hundreds of guests in to eat, be entertained, and participate in fundraising including a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction, a live auction by Rotarian Glenn Hagel, and a special East African coffee experience.
Funds raised will be used for MJMC enrichment programs and newcomer support.
MJMC board president Albulena Morina welcomed guests to the event and shared the story of her own family’s arrival in Moose Jaw from Kosovo when she was a child. She said the MJMC provided a soft landing point for them.
“We are here to assist and support newcomers from the day they arrive,” Morina said of the MJMC. “We are a board of six volunteers, a staff of 30 fulltime and parttime positions, serving roughly 800 to 900 newcomers per year. Services that we provide consist of need assessment and referral, settlement and integration planning, English language training, information and orientation, community connection, drivers’ education, settlement services in the schools, community outreach, childcare services, and everything in between.
“Thank you to our planning committee, the cooks, all the volunteers, and thank you all again for here tonight. I hope you enjoy the mouth-watering food that we have in store for you. Let’s have a fantastic time celebrating our city’s rich cultural heritage through the universal language of food.”
The evening’s emcees were Jide Kassim, assistant project manager at Prairie Skies Integration Network, and his wife Lolade Kassim.
The Kassims presented tobacco to Lori Deets of the Wakamow Aboriginal Community Association (WACA) before she offered a land acknowledgement. Following Deets, Imam Faisal Jibril from Moose Jaw’s local mosque offered prayers, and Jibril was followed by Pastor Bob Butt of the Calvary Baptist Church, who also offered a blessing.
The evening’s menu was:
- Chicken Shwarma — Syrian grilled chicken wraps
- Baajiye — Somali black-eyed pea fritters
- Sambusa — Somali frie savoury dough filled with chicken and vegetables
- Tabbouleh — Middle Eastern Salad
- Kabuli Palaw — Afghani rice with almonds, pistachios, and raisins
- Chicken Karahi — Afghani chicken stew
- Curried Brussels Sprouts — Indian curry
- Misir Wat — Ethiopian lentil stew
- Injera — Ethiopian flatbread to accompany the lentil stew
- Nigerian stew — beef, peppers, tomatoes, ginger and spices
Dessert was Petit Four, a Middle Eastern chocolate-filled shortbread; Pistachio Raha, a Turkish Delight confection; and Mango Ras Malai, an Indian sweet paneer dessert with mango and pistachio.
Entertainment was provided following dinner by:
- Iryna Levchenko and her daughter Zlata from Ukraine, who played piano and violin and sang;
- Dusu Musa and Esere from Nigeria, who sang and played piano;
- Denise Baguna and Maria Addun, two local high school students and Filipinas, who sang;
- Mariam Gendi, Josiah Martin, Lucy Pinya, and Thike Thaha, South Sudanese dancers who danced to an Uduk song;
- Marcela Borrero Cruz and her husband Edgar Danilo Bravo Perez from Colombia, who danced the salsa, champeta, rumba, and belly dancing;
- Chase Shingoose, a First Nations drummer;
- Ruth Maria Golding, a Peruvian entertainer who danced salsa and reggaeton and invited guests up to dance afterwards.