Cultural cuisine

The South Williamsport Area High School Peace Corps Club gathered at Jasmine Chinese and Thai Cuisine restaurant on Washington Blvd. on April 1 to experience sample food from other countries.

“This is a culinary learning experience since some of them (students) corresponded with a Peace Corps volunteer in Mongolia a few years ago, and they are learning about food in other cultures,” club advisor Janet Hurwitz said.

The students are now corresponding with a Peace Corps volunteer in Ethiopia, but with the absence of Ethiopian restaurants in Williamsport, the club decided to try Thai and Chinese cuisine.

For the past couple of years, the Peace Corps volunteers have been serving in countries such as: Senegal, Gambia, Benin, Mongolia, Burkina Faso and now in Ethiopia.

As the students sat down to enjoy their meal, the restaurant staff brought them massive plates of food filled with different types of traditional Thai and Chinese food. The students took their try at each dish, enjoying every bite and flavor.

After they finished their large meal, the students had a club meeting to discuss upcoming events. They spoke about China and the customs that the country has. They also discussed a possible public service announcement to bring attention to issues in Ethiopia, to the local area. They also chose to write two letters to students in Ethiopia.

The Peace Corps Club was started about 10 years ago at the South Williamsport Area High School. It was created when one of Hurwitz’s students wanted to do a project that would affect people she didn’t know.

“The Peace Corps has a program called World Wise Schools, and the purpose is to have Peace Corps volunteers share what they are learning with students back in the United States,” said Hurwitz.

Before the World Wise Schools program was created, the Peace Corps realized it was not educating people in the United States about other countries and cultures. At the time there was only one student working with the Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina Faso educating the community members there about Guinea Worm Disease. The program allows the Peace Corps to share information with the United States, Hurwitz said.

The club has worked with the program on many projects. It recently worked with their Peace Corps volunteer contact, Anna Goldman, in Ethiopia, to build a library for the students she teaches. The club gathered books at the high school and sent them to the students in Ethiopia.

Some other projects the club has worked on included: corresponding with high school students who are learning English, collecting first-aide supplies for women who shuck oysters, collecting baby and mother supplies for new mothers’ group, raising money to fund a scholarship for at least one girl per year in Senegal, raising more than $1,000 for a school in The Gambia and sponsoring speakers to come to the school.

The club meets every other Tuesday after school and consists mostly of juniors and seniors.