Sharing culture through games

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Juffah Tamula, second from left, gives William Wang, left, Loiqi Xie, and Parker Shahsavari some tips on how to play the African game bao during the multicultural games day at Jack Blanchard Family Centre on Sunday. The day also included games of backgammon, mahjong, dominoes and crokinole as well as some international food.

Islanders and newcomers alike got a taste of some different cultures this weekend.

The P.E.I. Association for Newcomers to Canada held a multicultural games day at Jack Blanchard Family Centre on Sunday.

Yvette Doucette, information officer with the association, said the day came after holding mahjong events for the past three years.

“This year we decided to have a multicultural games day and just have some games that originated from different parts of the world,” she said.

The day saw mahjong, as well as bao, backgammon, dominoes, crokinole and even a little bit of chess played.

The day also saw some international music and food, including samosas, dumplings and sushi.

Juffah Tamula spent much of the day teaching others how to play the African-based board game bao.

The strategy-based game is also called mancala depending on what region of Africa it’s played in.

It sees each player assigned two rows. A back row is used for storage, while much of the game involves trying to capture an opponent’s front row.

“There are a lot of strategies on how to capture those. I would almost compare it to chess,” said Tamula. “There’s a lot of math in it and you need to make a lot of calculations.”

Tamula has been teaching the game to Islanders since moving to the province seven years ago.

He said holding the multicultural games day was a good idea.

“It’s a good feeling to be here and share the cultural experience I have from my country as well as experience some other cultural backgrounds,” he said. “I would encourage Islanders to come to these multicultural events, you learn a lot from each other at these.”

Doucette said the goal of the day was to bring the whole community together.

“This is a great way to do it just having fun and spending time together learning these games,” she said. “Newcomers to Canada contribute a great deal to the economy to the fabric of our lives so creating a place where people can feel a part of the community and they can feel be introduced to more established islanders and make connections and friendships is a really important part of the work we do at the association.”

Doucette said the group hopes to expand on the day as an annual event.




Organizations: P.E.I. Association for Newcomers

Geographic location: Canada, Africa

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