Saturday, June 12, 2021

Things that bring us together: Artisans in the kitchen

DSC02011The elderly theorize and say that love comes through the stomach and food.  We have to admit, our region has an abundance of different cuisines and specialties, through which different cultures that have dwelled in this country, and ethnic communities that live in Macedonia have always left and leave their mark and love in our country’s rich tradition. Tasty dishes, prepared with a lot of will and tricks, are something that we are proud of and we are acknowledged for all around the world. Therefore, organizing a joint culinary activity including food preparation in schools across the country is a great tool, not only for meeting new people, socializing and building friendships among students, teachers and parents from different schools, cities and ethnic communities, but it is also a way to learn about the similarities that people in Macedonia share, such as the culinary masterpieces which is only one of the segments of the fortune that our country possesses, making it a rare place in the world.

Such joint table was organized within the mutual visits and partnership between the central elementary school “Aleksandar Urdarevski” from Cucer Sandervo and the guests of the satellite elementary school coming from the neighboring Blace that have Macedonian and Albanian as their languages of instruction. Children, teachers and parents, several days in a row gathered together in the central school and jointly prepared different kinds of traditional meals from the Macedonian and Albanian cuisine. While cooking, they faced challenges as well, but they overcame them jointly. One of the more serious challenges was the lack of an additional stove since the school has only one. But when there is will there is always a way – teachers organized and brought another stove from the home of one teacher. Teachers also organized the transportation of the students from the satellite school in Blace with their own vehicles. At the end, despite all the challenges, the effort was successful. In front of us, we have rich table with dishes such as pies, sarma, tavche- gravche, baklava and different kinds of sweets, just to lick your fingers.

Teachers and parents say that they do this with one goal in mind – children to get to know each other better, to socialize, to make friends, hoping that these friendships are going to be long-lasting as well as for the friendships established among the grownups.

In the course of April this year, through USAID’s Interethnic Integration in Education Project, numerous partnerships of this kind have been established within which different schools from different parts of Macedonia pay mutual visits, organize joint performances, creative clubs, debates, joint newspapers, math quizzes, sport events and other similar activities that have positive impact on students, teachers and parents and build new friendships. The enthusiasm and the energy of everyone included in this process is noticeable because the activities are tangible, useful and interesting for all. And when you cook with smile, with positive energy around you, with friendship and with love, the dishes are tastier. Cheers!