Celebrating Cumberland's cultural diversity

Darrell Cole
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Diversity showcase on Wednesday

Cultural diversity was showcased at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre on Wednesday.

AMHERST – Alejandro Ramirez was honoured to bring a bit of his homeland to visitors to the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre on Wednesday.

The native of Mexico City has lived in Oxford for several years, where he works as supervisor at Oxford Frozen Foods. He loves the opportunity to talk to others about his home country and its vibrant culture.

“For me, being a permanent resident of Canada, I have always been proud of who I am and my home country, but I’m also proud of being able to show my country to my new country of Canada,” said Ramirez, who participated in Cumberland County Diversity Showcase.

Dressed in traditional Mexican clothing, Ramirez was showing dolls that he made from cornhusks as well as several different Mexican peppers. He was also giving out information on Mexico and answering whatever questions he could about Mexican traditions and culture.

That’s exactly what members of the Cumberland Health Authority’s Cultural Diversity and Social Inclusion Committee were hoping for when they organized the second showcase.

“We’ve had a great turnout and a lot of community members turn out for the event,” committee chairwoman Dawn Ripley said. “It has been a great success and helps us meet our goal of helping create greater cultural awareness and understanding in our hospital community and within the community as a whole.”

The committee hosted its first showcase in 2012 featuring African Nova Scotian culture and Ripley said the group is already looking ahead to 2015.

“We’ve been blessed with some great volunteers from the community who have come out to help us and we’re hoping to have the funding to have another festival next year and involve more volunteers,” Ripley said. “We have a board here that is seeking comments and suggestions from community members that we hope give us some ideas for next year. We’re looking for more feedback and where we should go next year.”

The Music of Fresia, featuring Eric Fresia, his son Sam and daughter Charlotte, performed several Latin songs and instrumentals while Nicole Gairns from the Atlantic Dance Academy and the Mount Allison Latin Dance Society helped bring a touch of Latin dance to the festivities.

There was live Acadian music and an appearance by Alain Bosse, the Kilted Chef.

“This is a wonderful festival in that we’re incorporating local ingredients into flairs from different countries,” Bosse said. “We did a South American dish and will be doing an Acadian dish here later this afternoon. It’s a great mixture of culture and food and people are having a great time.”

Bosse said Canada is becoming a melting pot of cultures and it’s great to be able to see the foods people see in the supermarkets and find recipes on how to use them.

“Creating new things is a lot of fun,” Bosse said.


Twitter: @ADNdarrell


Organizations: Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, Oxford Frozen Foods, Cumberland Health Authority Cultural Diversity and Social Inclusion Committee Atlantic Dance Academy Mount Allison Latin Dance Society

Geographic location: Canada, Mexico City, Oxford

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