Intercultural Learning in Syracuse

Somali Bantu woman and honors studentOn Saturday, Oct. 29th Honors students (from left to right) Maria Kontos, Amanda Lickfield, Feifei Zhu, Meng Meng, Arianna Brown, and Lauren Deyo visited Habiba Hassan, a traditional basket weaver, and Halima, her daughter, a master jewelry maker in their home in Syracuse’s Somali Bantu refugee community. During the fall semester the students have been researching the folk arts of the Somali Bantus, an oral culture about which little has been written. The goal of this intercultural exchange was to learn about the unique traditions of Somali Bantu people while providing opportunities for the women to become proficient in English conversation. During the visit, Honors students Meng Meng and Feifei learn traditional weaving techniques (photo 2) and Suldana Ibrahim showed Maria the beautiful henna motifs traditionally painted on the hands and feet of brides.

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