Celebrating Black History and Culture: The Diverse Faces of GOSH International and Private Care
In honour of Black History Month, we embark on a vibrant journey of celebration and recognition here at GOSH International & Private Care, we took a moment to appreciate the cultural diversity within our team at GOSH International and Private Care by asking our Administration staff some questions. Our dedicated staff members, including Demi, Dionne, Lynda, Arianna, and Senimili, share their unique experiences, heritage, and insights into black history and what this month means for them.
Dionne - Scheduling Manager / Chair REACH Staff Network
Dionne's Montserratian roots carry historical significance, having been named by Christopher Columbus in 1493, before that Montserrat was known as Alliouagana. Her beloved national dish, Goat Water, is a stew that reflects both African and Irish ancestry. Dionne fondly recalls her participation in playing Mas (masquerade) in Montserrat Carnival, celebrating her black culture. She also passed her love for Mas down to her daughter who has also done Mas several times in the London Notting Hill Carnival. To Dionne, Black History Month should not be confined to a mere month; but it's a reminder of the contributions of Black people to the UK's growth and global standing which is a testament to resilience and should be an ongoing celebration.
Demi Kasim - Admission Coordinator
Demi, hailing from Guyanese heritage, takes pride in sharing the intriguing fact that Guyana is home to the world's largest single-drop waterfall, the Kaieteur Falls. Her favourite traditional dish, Chicken Curry, and Roti, beautifully reflects the culinary richness of her culture, which is a harmonious blend of African, Indian, European, and Indigenous influences.
Demi's cherished childhood memory involves attending the Notting Hill Carnival, a celebration of her Caribbean heritage. Here, she would immerse herself in dancing, savouring the music, and relishing the diverse array of foods on offer.
For Demi, Black History Month holds special significance. It's a time to celebrate the contributions of Black individuals, educate others about this heritage, and provide an opportunity for everyone to experience the richness of our cultural foods, music, fashion, and businesses.
Lynda Mandu - Scheduling Coordinator
Background: Kenya and Uganda
Lynda's heritage spans both Kenya and Uganda, two East African countries deeply shaped by their diverse tribes and languages. She informed us that Kenya, in particular, boasts 42 distinct tribes, each with its own language.
Her favourite dish, chapatti, reflects the fusion of Indian cuisine into East African culinary traditions. This blending of flavours resulted from Indian communities displaced from their homeland by the British Empire, who then settled in Kenya and Uganda.
One of Lynda's cherished childhood memories involves participating in traditional rain dances in her village during the dry season. She described the experience, saying, "We would get dressed in our tribal wear, go around to our neighbours, meet up with all the families and head to the river and dance and sing for the rain. We brought drums, sticks, or any available instruments to perform these dances."
If Lynda could meet any influential figure, it would be Jomo Kenyatta who was Kenya’s first president. She says, “Many western countries viewed him as an agitator and cruel man for promoting anti-colonialism, but we remember him for leading the resistance against British colonialism and fought for Kenya to be an independent”.
For Lynda, Black History Month is an opportunity to educate, dispel stereotypes, and celebrate the invaluable contributions of Black individuals to the UK. It's a time to recognise and honour their achievements and cultural significance.
Arianna Bell - Scheduling Administrator
Arianna, with Jamaican heritage, hails from a place renowned not only for its significant contributions to the world of music and sports but also for its iconic Blue Mountains, which produce the world-renowned Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
Arianna shared with us her appreciation for her national dish, Ackee and Saltfish, a well-known breakfast delicacy, and other famous Jamaican dishes like Jerk Chicken and Fried Dumplings. These diverse flavours are a testament to the rich culinary traditions of her homeland.
Arianna's recollection of learning about Rosa Parks in school serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of those who fought for racial equality. She expresses, "If I could have dinner with anybody dead or alive, it would be with Martin Luther King. His fight for equal rights of Black people, as well as his speeches, proved powerful for today's society. His assassination also meant that his fight was cut short, therefore it would be interesting to know more about his journey to who he was."
For Arianna, Black History Month is not merely a celebration; it also serves as a platform to share the extraordinary accomplishments of Black individuals throughout history. She emphasises, "Black History Month is also a lovely opportunity to share Black heritage and culture."
Senimili Kamikamica - Practice Manager
Senimili, hailing from Fiji, is from an island country located in the South Pacific Ocean where faith and rugby stand as pillars of the culture. “Fijians love their rugby; it’s always a serious affair when Fiji’s national team plays in international tournaments, such as the current Rugby World Cup in France.”
Her favourite traditional dish, fish, and seafood with coconut, is a culinary delight that reflects Fiji's strong fishing culture. Fishing has been a traditional way of life for indigenous Fijian communities for generations. It is not only an essential source of food but also a key aspect of their culture and identity.
Senimili, shares heartwarming childhood memories of collecting shellfish with her grandmother and relishing them, roasted over hot stones and coconut shells. Additionally, she recommends the book 'Americanah,' a 2013 novel by the Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as an inspirational work that provided insight into interracial relationships, something Senimili can relate to.
For Senimili, Black History Month is a time of celebration, remembrance, and reflection. She sees it as an opportunity to delve deeper into understanding race relations in the UK and promoting true equality for all
As we conclude our celebration of Black History Month and the celebration of some of the diverse backgrounds within GOSH International & Private Care, let us carry forward the valuable lessons and stories we've encountered. Black History Month serves as a reminder of the history and remarkable achievements of Black individuals, both within our organisation and in the broader global community.
Beyond this dedicated month, let's remember that the celebration of diversity and the recognition of Black heritage should be a year-round commitment. We thank our staff for sharing their unique experiences, and we remain committed to a more inclusive, diverse, and harmonious future where every voice, heritage, and culture are celebrated and valued.