Jackie Lesage, organizer of the event, explained: “The event primarily focuses on exposing various cultures within the Pacific Islands highlighting the following three islands: Guam, Micronesia, and American Samoa. Since the Tillicum School District comprise of Pacific Islanders, Hispanic, African American, and Caucasians with demographics showing a high concentration of Pacific Islanders. It made perfect sense to highlight some Pacific islands, where library patrons come from. For some people, the islands that are being showcased are not well known and it’s worth increasing the community members’ knowledge to the neighbors that reside in the area. In future events, we will be highlighting other Pacific islands so that each island is given the time to show case its culture in a way that is honoring to the people and informational to community members. The exciting thing about this event is that it is bridging cultures and building relationships by sharing the uniqueness, as well as similarities of people through culture and the love of learning and reading.”
There will be free food sampling and recipe sharing at the event, as well as crafts and games. Copies of printable recipes can be found here: Pacific Island Recipes
Jackie explained the crafts and games at the event: “For the country of Guam, community members will be making a bracelet made out of palm leaves called “putseras” and a whistle called “bibek.” These items are made by children to fill their time and play with. We will also be playing “chonka.” For the American Samoa, we will be making flowers out of foam for the kids (foam is used because there is no availability of fresh flowers from plants around our homes that are usually free) called “Fugalaau Mo Lou Ao” which means a flower piece for your head. Our island embraced the beauty of flowers by wearing it on our head and if you’re single, you wear the flower on your right ear and if you’re married on the left. It is a simple touch to an island beauty. Micronesia’s craft that will be highlighted is a ball made out of ribbons called “baat” and is often played by the children of Yap which can occupy hours of their time. Creating and making crafts is part of the island culture for the islands being showcased. It allows for creativity and the usage of natural resources that are abundant on the islands. Pacific Islanders have certain artifacts and cultural crafts, games, and food which may be unique and similar. The beauty of sharing this is to allow community members to enter a world of rich knowledge, embrace the differences, and work together for greater understanding of others. For the Pacific Islanders, God’s provisions is enough for all if we take care of one another, use our resources with care, and utilize the gifts and talents the Lord provided to illuminate hope and life in our community.”
The event will last 2 hours and will include: free food sampling, dance, storytelling, crafts and games. There will be books for elementary children to purchase for $10 per book written by Chamorro authors from the island of Guam.
“This event is a family affair focusing on children from preschool to college from the very young to the elders or mature at heart. This is an opportunity to learn more about your neighbors who are from other areas of the world. It allows for relationship building and building one’s knowledge regarding various cultures which people may know a lot or very little of.” said Jackie. “The Pacific Islanders have much love for family, and are known for their hospitality. They will go to great lengths to provide a feast for their guests. In the midst of cultural celebrations, it is the presence of an abundance of carefully prepared island dishes that will be sure to please the palate,” she concluded.
For more information about the event, contact Jackie Reyes Castro Lesage via telephone at: 253-778-5642, the Samoan National Nurse’s Association at: 253-301-3872 or visit: www.snna.org and/or Facebook at Samoan National Nurses Association (SNNA).
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com
Edited by Reba Winstead, editor for Tacoma.com