Af-Lat-Am Food Bazaar Food From Every Quarter

After eating Uncommons’ food for weeks, Phillips Academy students are eager for home-cooked food. With this in mind, Af-Lat-Am set to work putting together their annual cultural Food Bazaar. As African and Latin music mingled with the sounds of laughter and conversation, volunteers and Af-Lat-Am members served self-made dishes that ranged from corn bread and quesadillas to plantains and sweet potato pie. The popular event ran on a ticket system. Students and faculty paid for tickets that cost 25 cents each and used the revenue to buy food that represented various different cultures. The Food Bazaar has been held annually since Af-Lat-Am’s 2004-2005 board. Af-Lat-Am President Atima Lui ’08, who led the organization of the Food Bazaar, listed the purposes of the event while running around, collecting tickets and delegating tasks. The Food Bazaar’s primary aim was for the members of Af-Lat-Am and other community members to share their culture. “I think it’s just to share a part of our culture, and a big part of culture is food. So [the purpose is] to share that with the community and have fun at the same time,” said Nkemdilim Oghedo ’08, an Af-Lat-Am board member. Lui also mentioned that the food at Uncommons can be monotonous, and if that monotony can be cured while informing students about different cultures, then doing so is imperative. “It’s nice, especially on a Sunday afternoon, to have food—getting a break from a hard weekend,” said Demetrius Lalane ’11. By the time the meal was over, Af-Lat-Am achieved its goal; students and faculty learned about other cultures through the music, food and a comfortable atmosphere that easily sparked conversation. “Having food that you’ve never tried before, going out of your boundaries… it’s unique,” said Vivian Chen ’10 over a plate of African rice. The Food Bazaar incorporated food from the United States, Jamaica, Columbia, Peru, Uganda, Nigeria and the Caribbean islands. With dishes such as lomo saltado (beef, vegetables and potatoes), matooke (beef stew) and chapatti (a type of flat bread), it was difficult not to find something new. Carolyn Brown ’09 said, “I haven’t tried most of this food before… This has been a really good food weekend, with Indo-Pak and the Food Bazaar. Everything I’ve tried here has been so good.” The event’s biggest hits included plantains and sweet potato pie. “I’m so happy with the turnout,” said Lui. The food was practically gone by three o’clock, and the board had run out of tickets so quickly that the organizers made more tickets by hand. Head of School Barbara Chase dropped by. “I see kids from all over the place here and the food is delicious,” said Chase. “Thinking about different cultures… that’s what Phillips Academy is all about.”