By Ben PaniaguaFebruary 27, 2009
(FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas) - About 150 Soldiers from the 32nd Medical Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, enjoyed a fun, entertaining and cultural awareness night Feb. 19 celebrating Black History Month at the Fort Sam Houston Hacienda Recreation Center.
The annual event was hosted by the 264th Medical Battalion and presented in partnership with the 32nd Medical Brigade Equal Opportunity Office and the Hacienda Recreation Center.
The theme for this year's event was "The Quest for Black Citizenship in the Americas" and featured guest speaker, Lt. Col. Carlene A. S. Blanding the S1/Adjutant for the 32nd Medical Brigade, a rousing African dance performance by the dance group Mnwendo, refreshments and a trivia game with prizes for the Soldiers in attendance.
Blanding spoke on the journey African Americans have taken on the road to the present, "A very long journey," she said. Blanding was born in Jamaica, British West Indies and she and her Family migrated to Poughkeepsie, New York and later to Bridgeport, Conn. Her education is wide and varied and includes a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, and a Masters Degree in Health Services Administration.
"I really liked it," said Pvt. Shawn Jefferson, A Company, 264th Medical Battalion. "It was very tasteful, very different and very interesting."
Refreshments for the evening's event consisted of fried catfish, green peas, hush puppies and punch. "The Soldiers really enjoyed the food and I heard many great comments on how tasty the fish was," said Dwayne Terrell, Hacienda Recreation assistant. "Many of the Soldiers were coming back for more," he said.
The dance group, Mnwendo, gave a spectacular dance and percussion performance that had the Soldiers on their feet. Soldiers were asked to go on stage to dance with the group. They quickly learned the dance steps and brought the house down. Authentic African drums were used for the dancers and each drummer gave a background history of the drums, further enhancing the intended cultural awareness of the program.
"It was interesting and a great learning experience for me," said Pvt. Miguel Aispuro, C Co., 187th Medical Battalion. The show was really good. I like food and it was also very good."
A trivia contest was a big highlight of the evening. The Soldiers were asked questions on black history and Soldiers answering the questions correctly were given nice prizes.