Wellesley for Caribbean Development (WiCkeD) is a student organization that focuses on creating a safe space for Caribbean students and those interested in Caribbean culture. While it is an open organization for any students on campus, it is under Harambee House. Amadi Mitchell ’23, the current president of WiCkeD, has aimed to expand the organization’s reach.
“We just want to make Caribbean culture known on campus, not many people know too much about the Caribbean,” they said. “I feel like everybody knows where Jamaica is, what Jamaica is, because it’s kind of like the face of the Caribbean by default, essentially, but there’s so [many] other countries … and every country is different, every country has its own culture.”
Mitchell noted that WiCkeD does not have many events as a smaller organization, so they aim to make sure the events they do have have a strong impact and are enjoyed by attendees. They wanted to have a “Taste of Caribbean” event to provide Caribbean students a comforting meal and students interested in Caribbean culture a variety of foods to try.
“You know, everybody wants a taste of home, so we got together as an e-board and put together our funds,” Mitchell said.
They, and the rest of e-board, compiled several dishes that Treasurer Eunice Beato ’23, Social Chair Jivonsha Ffrench ’24 and Co-Publicity Chair Mellany Smith ’24 cooked. Mitchell mentioned the importance of being conscious of each culture’s origins because, while the Caribbean is united in many ways, different countries have their own unique foods and traditions and they wanted to avoid only representing one or two countries if possible. Ffrench adds that there were limitations on what the students that were cooking knew what to make and where they were from.
“We chose dishes based off the people that were there, the places they represented, and what they could actually make,” she said. “[It was nice] cooking with everyone and learning about different foods from their cultures.”
From Jamaica, they made curry chicken and rice and peas, which consists of rice, beans such as pigeon peas or red kidney beans, coconut milk and seasonings. They made Haitian mac and cheese, which can include onions, bell peppers and garlic. For the Dominican Republic, they made fried salami and morir soñando, a sweetened orange juice drink with evaporated or regular milk. For general Caribbean cuisine, they made fried dumplings, a Jamaican staple similar to a dinner roll that has become common throughout the rest of the Islands, sweet plantains and tostones, which are flattened green plantains fried to be crispy.
“It was like a gift from [the WiCkeD e-board],” Mitchell said. “You know, ‘Come enjoy your time with us, come spend time with us, come mingle with other Caribbean people on campus and enjoy some good food.’”
Ffrench adds that being around food from her culture and around people she likes added a lot to the event.
“It was fun because, though we were cooking, we were having conversations and talking about our experiences at Wellesley, our shared experience with Caribbeans parents and cooking,” she said. “It was just very comforting to be around the smell of cooked food from our cultures with people we enjoy spending time with.
According to Mitchell, the hope is that the Taste of Caribbean event will be the beginning of a good send-off for the year and a lead up to WiCkeD’s annual culture show, Expo, which will be themed on Caribbean history this year. They added that the event was an embodiment of their feelings of Caribbean people.
“I feel like [in] the Caribbean as a whole, the people, we try to be very welcoming, very giving, very homely, so we try to do that, especially with food,” they said.
They emphasize that while WiCkeD may have fewer events than other organizations on campus, the e-board works hard and tries to make big events happen.
“We don’t really have a lot of events, so the few ones that we do have, we really like to make sure that they hit hard in the community and that people really enjoy them,” Mitchell said.