The international love language: food

Hope College has no shortage of sanctimonious annual food events, but one of their most prominent surpassed its expectations on Feb. 23: The International Food Fair. Hosted in the Maas Auditorium from 6-8 p.m., the event drew a massive crowd composed of community members, staff and students alike. The smorgasbord of delicacies ranged in origin from countries such as Venezuela, Japan, China, Ethiopia, Germany, Russia and Argentina (just to name a few). Hosted by Campus Life and the Fried Center for Global Engagement, international students work hard each year to make the 30+-yearold tradition flourish. The goal of the event is twofold. The event largely contributes to awareness of Hope’s international student body and their respective cultures.

The goodies purveyed at each of the tables are personally cooked by the students, who take great pride in cooking their favorite regional recipes and teaching onlookers about what goes into each dish. The event also serves as a fundraising event, with proceeds going to a charitable cause each year. According to InHope, this year the funds will be going to the Nibakure Community Village in Rwanda. Their efforts focus around issues of education, sustainability and integrity in the region. The vision of Nubakure Community Village is to, according to their website, “… envision a nurturing and allied Kanazi (Nyamata) community that sustainably cares for and invests in its youth and uneducated adults (residents), contributing to a vibrant and prosperous Rwanda.” The event costs a $5 entrance fee for five coupons, and additional coupons are available for 50 cents each. The event is reasonably-priced for those looking to spice up their evening meal routine, but still yields a high revenue for the charitable cause.

This is largely due to the sheer volume of people coming to the event. Third-year student Kachi Nwike had this to say regarding the popularity of the event: “[The turnout] is huge. It’s not what we expected. We expected about 200, and obviously you can see some people can’t even get seats.” The food was tantalizing, with an obvious craze apparent in the eyes of onlookers. One can hardly blame them – German T.A Anna Glup discussed what goes into making her German Donauwelle: “It’s a layer of dough, and another layer where it’s dough with cocoa…then cherries, then vanilla butter crème, and then chocolate.” This is just one example of the many pastries provided at the event, with a good number of options available for those individuals with food allergies. The event is largely comprised of individual participation and goodwill; while International Student Advisor Habeeb Awad and his team diligently work to handle logistics, there is no topdown approach. It seems that each year, students are eager to represent their respective home countries and share their cuisine, with some students not cooking, but volunteering to manage the ticket counter.

If you were not able to attend International Food Fair this year, fear not. You can rest assured that the same event will come around this time next year!

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