A crowd of more than 1,000 people recently descended upon Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to participate in the DC Metro Area Cultural Fair 2016, organized by Au Pair in America Community Counselors. This very lively crowd included host parents, children, the general public and VIPs assembled to have fun learning about different nations, cultures, languages and customs — and meet au pairs from around the world. Au pairs from 36 countries were in attendance.
More than 200 au pairs attended this cultural fair to represent their home countries, meet members of the community and learn about the homelands of other au pairs. They participated by hosting country tables, providing international cultural performances and making it extra fun for kids in the crowd with coloring activities and face painting. Children also received passports to fill with flag stickers as they visited the different country tables.
What an amazing event! My three boys and my au pair from Brazil stopped by on our way home from DC to NY. We stayed much longer than I thought we would, because they were having so much fun and learning about countries and cultures they hadn’t been exposed to before. By the end of the fair, my twins (age 8) were speaking Spanish to au pairs from Costa Rica and my oldest (age 11) had gathered information for a country project due in school the next week. And my Brazilian au pair was so pumped by the event she wants to join the next one. To all involved, well done!
— Jean Quinn, Vice President and Deputy Director of Au Pair in America
More than 30 Community Counselors from the region organized this wonderful event for the metro D.C. community. Au pairs and host families enjoyed the opportunity to share their experiences, and everyone had a great time learning about so many cultures assembled together for the fair. According to event organizer and Community Counselor Diane Wallace from Virginia:
We try to do a Cultural Fair every couple of years, but this year was something magical. Everyone could feel the energy. I told my au pairs they will never forget this day.
The au pairs put their hearts into their presentations and performances. It just shows how extra special our au pairs are and what talents they bring with them to the U.S. Plus, we are fortunate in the D.C. area to have the embassies located here, supporting the au pairs with their presentations. The Latvian embassy even gave an au pair traditional dress to wear.
I think the event was overwhelming — in a good way — for the families and the children to see so many countries represented and to be able to “travel” to each of these countries to learn more about them. This year we had 36 countries — the most we have ever had participate!
It is hard to put into words how special this event is for everyone who attends and everyone involved. The community here in this area is so international — another reason we were able to reach out to so many and have so much interest in attending. It truly was magical!
- Au pairs from Costa Rica singing “Beautiful Cost Ricans” and “Sugar Cane” in Spanish.
- Au pairs from Thailand dancing a traditional folk dance, “Fawn Thai,” in national costumes.
- Marion Raffin, an au pair from France, singing “La Vie en Rose” (Life in Rosy Hues).
- Lillian Tshabalala, an au pair from South Africa, singing “Qongqothwane” (Knock-Knock Beetle), a traditional song of the Xhosa people of South Africa; “Mama Thembu’s Wedding,” from the musical Ipi ‘N Tombia; and a Swahili song, “Malaika” (Angel).
- Zane Feldmane, an au pair from Latvia performing “Bēdu manu lielu bēdu” (Sorrow, my great sorrow).
- Two au pairs from Poland singing “Nie Mam Nic” (I Have Nothing) and “Czas Nas Uczy Pogody” (Time Teaches Us Serenity).
- Au pairs from Colombia thrilling the audience with songs and a traditional Colombian folk dance, “Checumbia.”
What a great example of the value and impact of au pair exchange — and what a gift in our anniversary year as we celebrate 30 years of au pair exchange! Community engagement events like this demonstrate the power of people participating with Au Pair in America and invigorate our continuing commitment to being the best au pair agency in the world with a global presence to support international understanding and engagement on a firsthand, person-to-person level in our communities.
Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to all of the Community Counselors that organized DC Metro Area Cultural Fair 2016 — and the host families and au pairs that did tremendous work to make this event a resounding success! Thank you all.