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A World Unseen

A World Unseen
Thursday, March 30, 2006
By Sohale Vu ’07

Film FestivalThe opportunity to experience another culture can be moving and eye-opening. The convenience to not even have to leave your home (in this circumstance, the campus) to experience the sights, sounds and traditions of another culture is incomparable. On Thursday night March 29th, the International Club and Film Club held a joint viewing of the critically acclaimed film Himalaya by French director Eric Valli in the Parents and Friends room.

To open up the night, the members of the International Club cooked traditional meals from Nepal and India, such as curry chicken and momo’s (traditional Tibetan dumplings), to serve to all of the eager guests that came to watch the film. Once everyone had prepared their plates and found their seats, the film began to transport its audience to a world 13,000 miles away. Himalaya is a story of the Dolpo tribe in the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal facing the recent death of their chief. With his only heir being his young son, the late chief’s aged father assumes his son’s position, skeptical that his son’s best friend may have killed him. The Dolpo depend on trading salt from the mountains for wheat in the city and the only way to get from their village to the city is to take a journey that lasts for weeks in grueling, torturous, and yet pristine environments. The film exhibits the journey that the tribe undertakes that tests friendship, trust, and faith in the supernatural power of the worldly elements.

The audience was captivated and their responses and interests were even more rewarding to the work that the International Club and Film Club had done to put on such a spectacular presentation. I can only hope that we have more presentations like this one will attract the same kind of interest of world diversity in the student body.

Menu from the Internationa Club:

1) Basmati Rice
2) Chicken Curry (Bases on Indian/Nepalese recipe)
3) Cauliflower Vegetable (For vegetarians)
4) Potato Pickle (Spicy)
5) Steamed Dumplings (MOMOS – Tibetan/Nepalese specialty)
6) Jamaican Drink – The Easy Cooler

A Himalaya Experience

A Himalaya Experience
Thursday, March 30, 2006
by Ivo Gyurovski ’09

On the 29th of March the International Club and the Film Club of Hampden-Sydney College presented an international film and food festival. It featured Eric Valli’s Academy Award nominated Himalaya Caravan, along with a diverse menu.

The guests of the festival enjoyed several kinds of food prepared by the International Club students with the generous help of ARAMARK under the professional eye of Joy Donaldson, Catering Manager, and Chef Mack Williams, who supervised the preparation of the food. One dish was Basmati Rice, which is typical food throughout Asia. Another was Chicken Curry based on Indian/Nepalese recipe. There were other dishes, for vegetarians, called Cauliflower Vegetable and Potato Pickle, originating from Nepal. The last dish was a Tibetan/Nepalese specialty in the form of steamed dumplings called Momos. The spiciness of the Asian food was alleviated with sweet iced tea.

After a welcome by Nutan Shrestha ’06, President of the International Club, and an eclectic intercultural meal, the guests of the festival enjoyed an outstanding and authentic movie created by Eric Valli. He is a Swiss filmmaker who embarked on the adventure of producing Himalaya Caravan in spite of the winter blizzards at elevations up to 15,000 feet, the most severe difficulties a filmmaker can face. Valli, author of numerous books on cultural issues, directed two documentaries devoted to the Tibetan culture in Nepal.

The movie is shot in western Tibetan Himalaya, which according to Valli is characterized by “courage, tolerance and dignity.” The first scene represents yak herders coming back from the Tibetan Plateau to a secluded Dolpo village, leading the annual salt caravan, carrying the important material essential for their survival that the villagers will later trade for grain. The people’s joy is quickly extinguished when they understand that Lhakpa, son of Thinley, the village chieftain, has died. Thinley blames his son’s right-hand man, Karma, for what has happened to his son, implying that the younger man is trying to take control of the village. Karma confirms Thinley’s suspicions when declaring he will lead the caravan in Lhakpa’s place. Karma leaves the village with 200 yaks bearing the salt before the designated date and thus provoking predictions for disaster. As a result the village is split between the boldness of the young and the wisdom of the old. Not long after Karma’a departure Thinley also leaves, on the previously set date, with the little son of Lhakpa, Tsering. Facing many difficulties and obstacles they finally catch up with Karma where complicated tribal issues take place. After arguing with one another, Thinley and Karma realize that a way characterized by mutual cooperation and respect is the right one.

Himalayan Caravan portrays the cultural traditions of a rapidly vanishing Tibetan culture in an outstanding way. Some of the commentaries about the movie include: “Rousing outdoor adventure…fascinating…visually stunning drama” – William Arnold, Seattle Post Intelligencer,”(four stars) Dazzling” – Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle, “A film of visual beauty” – Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times.

Information taken from: www.kino.comwww.aisanweek.com

International Food Festival First of its Kind

International Food Festival
First of its Kind
Thursday, March 30, 2006,

By Joe Prempeh ’06

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The international food festival, which lasted for two days, was marked by two events: the food planning and preparation, and the food exhibition and consumption. Prior to the festive days, the members of the International Club, made up of students with an interest in international affairs, decided to bring to Hampden-Sydney College, the culinary art abroad. As most festivals, leading roles were designated to some of the members, but each member was encouraged to partake in the festive occasion.

On the first day, the 28th of March, the ingredients for the food were purchased with the help of Aramark. This day was dubbed the food planning and preparation day. Some of the staff members, teaching and non-teaching, assisted the club members in finding ingredients for the various food of the different countries that the festival was going to exhibit. Some ingredients were hard to find so meals from those countries such as Ghana, and Burma were taken off the menu list. When all purchases were done, there were ingredients ready to prepare food from the Indian subcontinent.

In the evening, the students went into Aramark kitchen and worked on the ingredients that needed more time to cook. Chef Williams along with other professionals were available to give direction and assistance. After two hours, all the ingredients that needed advance preparation were ready for cooking in the following day with the exception of those that had to be prepared on the very day that they were to be cooked.

The next day, the 29th of March, was the climax of the event. This was the day when all the food had to be cooked and served. Each member of the club was encouraged to devote some time in the cooking process. Because the event was on the weekday, the students went into the kitchen during their individual break periods, putting on their aprons and steadily bringing the recipes into life. The interesting part about the cooking process is that everyone was busy whether it was the folding of egg roll wrappers for the hundreds of dumplings that were being prepared or the occasional stirring of the chicken curry. The kitchen was busy with students coming in to cook and others going out to class. When all were done, the Chef made sure that every meal was prepared to its most satisfactory taste and ready to be served.

sample plateThe meals were exhibited in the Parents and Friends lounge of Venable Hall. At about 5:30 in the evening the community members of Hampden-Sydney College were ready to join in the celebration of food from different cultures. The meal that became my personal favorite was the Cauliflower vegetable and potato pickle, but I must admit that the spicily prepared momos, the dumplings had me going for more.

At the end of the food festival, everyone was appreciative of the fact that he or she was offered a meal that has its origin off the shores of US; and for those who were already used to such meals, they were reminded of the good old times when they ate continental dishes. It is my hope and the expectation of the whole Hampden-Sydney community that the International Club will continue with the good work and not live by the legacy of its past successes.