By Harry Rowe | Staff Writer
Baylor students ate fresh cultural food as they gathered to listen to Frisco junior Chelsea Battad and Cyprus junior Giana Rodriguez discuss their heritage and what their differing cultures are like.
The event was part of Baylor’s Neighbor Nights, an event put on by Multicultural Affairs in coordination with spiritual life. Students ate ropa vieja, one of Cuba’s national dishes and a meal also popular in other parts of the Caribbean like Puerto Rico, and Chicken Adobo, a popular Filipino dish. Battad was representing the Filipino Student Association (FSA) while Rodriguez was representing the Hispanic Student Association (HSA).
“I’ve only been exposed to more of the Mexican side, and I wanted to see and experience, learn more about the Filipino culture. I was interested in the food because I’ve never really had anything besides American and Spanish, so that was really interesting to me,” said Karnes City senior Marisela Turrubiartes.
Battad and Rodriguez discussed many different aspects about their culture, including celebrations they each have, food they eat and how it is back home. They also talked about religion, where both cultures largely practice Catholicism, and they discussed the political corruption in their respective countries.
“Bribery is a big issue. In Mexico, you can be stopped by a police officer because you’re speeding,” Rodriguez said. “Just stick your hand out with money and keep driving, because the police will just take the money and be like ‘Ok, you can go now.’ A lot of politicians do that, and it’s kind of like a mix of the drug trading and politicians coming together to benefit each other, not necessarily benefit the people.”
Rodriguez also talked about other countries in central America, like Venezuela, a country that has gone from a strong economic player to devastated country that can’t feed its people. In these countries with corruption, Rodriguez said the people are often subjugated to gangs like MS-13, and they don’t feel protected by their own government. Rodriguez said progress can be made, but it is going to take a lot of work.
“In El Salvador, there’s the gang MS-13. they’re very violent, so the people aren’t feeling protected by the government, so the people are reacting in violent ways as well, so it doesn’t bring peace or anything like that,” Rodriguez said. “Something that Latin America needs to work on to be able to come out of these violent issues, but that’s going to take a lot of time to get new people to come in and govern the correct way because corruption and money is very overpowering of our government.“
Marcos Luna-Hoyaz, ministry associate for spirituality and public life, is in his first semester working for spirituality and public life. He helps coordinate Neighbor Nights, which look to incorporate diversity with inclusion.
“We partner with different student associations around campus, and we invite them to come to come to showcase their culture and traditions, and to share their stories and their food,” Hoyaz said.