On Tuesday April 30, the Community Health Alliance collaborated with Latino Student Association and Shakti to host an International Night Dinner in the InterFaith Center to raise money for CHA’s nonprofit community partner Haiti Outreach Pwoje Espwa.
CHA strives to aid different communities through health, education and economic development programs.
This year, CHA worked with LSA and Shakti to bring together different cultures while all fundraising toward a common goal.
“We wanted to get different cultural clubs on campus together to be able to celebrate the partnership that we have and … show that Haiti is much more than just the poorest country on the Western Hemisphere,” CHA President senior Mike Mattiucci said. “They have excellent food and customs that we don’t often celebrate.”
Mattiucci kicked off the event with a presentation on the organization’s work with H.O.P.E.
According to Mattiucci, H.O.P.E. is a grassroots, nonprofit organization that was cofounded by associate professor of anthropology Rose-Marie Chierici.
In his presentation, Mattiucci laid out the various outreach programs the organization has established over the years and discussed CHA’s work with the organization’s educational program.
After the presentation, dinner was served and accompanied by a local percussion group, who played various popular tunes on steel drums.
The meal included a variety of dishes from Haitian, Indian and Hispanic origins, including green salad, chicken tikka masala, curried potatoes, rice and beans, beef empanadas and a Haitian peanut brittle called tablet.
Rochester-based restaurants catered all of the dishes with the exception of a colorful authentic Haitian slaw, called pikliz, prepared by seniors Grace Trompeter and Hayley Martin.
After dinner, LSA members and sophomores Alessandro Magnasco and Jovanny Vargas performed a beautiful and authentic song for the audience. Afterward, CHA showed a touching short documentary on H.O.P.E.’s involvement in a town in the region of northern Haiti called Borgne.
The dinner raised well over $600 in total, which was “more than twice what we expected,” freshman coordinator Gina Villazhinay said.
Mattiucci explained that in collaboration with the program, all of the proceeds from the event would be exclusively going towards the newly established adult literacy program launched in Borgne, which is vital for the progress of the community.
“It enables adults to teach others in their household,” Mattiucci said. “Which allows it to become a family learning experience, which is a neat aspect.”