By Patricia Nwobodo
Although I’m a thousand miles away from home, I’m never more than a couple steps away from home. Literally.
As a Caribbean or African student living in a foreign country, there are bound to be times when you feel homesick, whether it is simply missing your traditional food or just from missing the comfort of being in a familiar environment with people who are just like you.
Being from Nigeria and attending boarding school in Massachusetts, I’ve been away from home for a long time; so trust me when I say that just like you, I understood the struggle of just wanting to be home once in awhile – that is until I came to Holy Cross. I remember the first time I visited Holy Cross. I walked into the Hogan Ballroom and right in the middle were a couple of girls next to a table with a large sign that read Caribbean African Student Alliance (CASA). They yelled enthusiastically, while waving their hands and motioning for my brother and I to come over and visit their table – and we did just that.
A few months later, I found myself in that very ballroom again, writing down my name on a sheet of paper that read CASA; I was now officially a member of the Caribbean African Student Alliance. Little did I know that such a small gesture would make all the difference for my time here at Holy Cross.
The Caribbean African Student Alliance, also known as CASA, is Holy Cross’s student organization targeting Caribbean and African students at the college. Other students not from the Caribbean or Africa are also welcome to join, as some existing members in the club are neither Caribbean or African. CASA provides many exciting ways for members to get involved, such as our campus-wide fashion shows! From strutting down the runway displaying the wonderful prints and colors of African and Caribbean attires, to working behind the scenes of the shows, there are many ways to get involved. And as a bonus for being a member, you can attend these fun-filled events for free!
Another event which I love that makes me feel like I’m back in Nigeria again is CASA’s culture night. During this, many Holy Cross students, whether they are from Worcester or halfway across the country, get a taste of what Caribbean and African culture is really like. A wide range of African and Caribbean food, music, dance, and prose are presented and performed and by the end of the night, students, as well as teachers, leave this event feeling more enlightened and enriched about our culture.
Along with these wonderful ceremonies, the tight knit community CASA has been able to form aside from these events allows me to always feel close to home. My home and my culture make up my identity and are things that define me as a person. I carry them with me everywhere I go. As I continue to embark on my Holy Cross journey and get to know more about other Holy Cross students and their cultures, I want them to be able to know more about me and my culture as well. Now I no longer have to merely just tell people who I am. Through CASA’s array of events, I can now also show people the real me and let them live in my world too.
As cliché as it sounds, in a small, secluded college a thousand miles away from home, I was able to truly find my home away from home.