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Malaysian, Paraguayan Teas a Hit

Howard W. Hewitt – International students bring a distinct flavor to the cultural atmosphere at Wabash College. Often they bring a more literal flavor by sharing native cuisine.

Two International freshmen made presentations Thursday in Detchon Hall to help inform about their native countries. In past years, the presentations were often strictly about the students home countries and traditions.

This year Paraguayan Juan Cricco and Malaysian Barry Ooi elected to focus on native tea to share their homeland’s culture.

Cricco shared the more-than 500-year-old tradition of Terere or Yerbe Mate. The tea is a social drink used by all classes of people throughout the country. There is ritual to the sharing of Terere among friends and a legend the tea was first planted by two Goddess female children.

Ooi gave a presentation on Chinese herbal teas and specifically one called Oldenlandia. The tea is used for medicinal purposes, often to reduce fever.

He told the students, faculty, and staff gathered the tea has been a part of pop folk medicine lore since the Chinese Revolution.

He served up a warm version of the tea at the conclusion of the short program.

Having the students on campus brings a diversity of culture many schools lack. When the young men can share something from home, it heightens our understanding of not just the young men but another culture.