Expo 2023 Familiarises Visitors With Cultural Green Practices From Around Globe


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Khalid Elsawi | The Peninsula

Doha, Qatar: The Expo 2023 Doha has drawn visitors from across the globe to its diverse pavilions, offering them insights into the cultural richness of participating nations.

Since its inauguration on October 2, 2023, this international horticultural exhibition has already welcomed over 2.5 million visitors, according to Mohammed Al Khouri, the Secretary General of Expo 2023 Doha.

Beyond showcasing agricultural and environmental sectors from various countries, Expo 2023 Doha has offered visitors a unique look into different cultural green practices as well.

KENYA

At the Kenyan pavilion, one would see hand-woven bags that were made using Sisal- a type of flowering plant that is abundant in Kenya.

"The fiber from the plant is used in weaving many of Kenya's bags and clothes," Kenyan pavilion supervisor Esther Mburu told The Peninsula.

Kenya, as Esther described, has made a shift from single-use plastics to factory manufactured multiple-use bags.“We stopped using plastic bags. There are factories making reusable bags now, and you can even buy them from the store.”

Kale, displayed prominently at the Kenyan pavilion, "is often grown in kitchen gardens by most Kenyans, and is the most common food you can find in Kenya. Most people have kitchen gardens. We have spinach and Sukuma wiki, and maize," said Esther.

The name given for Kale in Kenya is Sukuma wiki, a Swahili word that translates to“push back the week.”

“When people are at the end of the month and they don't have much money that is what they eat, Sukuma wiki, it pushes the week,” she explained.

CUBA

At the Cuban pavilion, one can find a range of cultural artifacts as well as Cuban-produced organic products.

"Cuba's history, culture, and agricultural exports have been a driving force behind the impressive number of visitors," Dr. Janet Alfonso Simonetti of the Cuban Plant Health Research Institute told The Peninsula.

“We have had over 10,000 visitors in the past 5 months,” she said. The several people walking around and inspecting the items were a testament to the attractiveness of the pavilion.

Eng. Julio Cesar Hernandez, specialist in protected crops and seedling production, explained how the word Guajira – the name given to a type of Cuban peasant dance song – refers to a female farm worker. Julio further explained that the male counterpart to "Guajira" is "Guajiro," gesturing towards a straw hat typically worn by the Guajiro as he tills the fields.

The hat sits inside a glass cabinet that contains maracas, claves, and other musical instruments used in much of Cuba's popular music; a musical heritage that is closely aligned with agriculture.

Opposite the glass cabinet is a shelf that is decorated with many local Cuban produce, among which are“organic” liquids that aid in expediting the growth process, Julio tells The Peninsula.

Around the pavilion, produce has been planted in front of the shack. Julio explained that some of the products had been giving treatment with the organic“bio stimulants” and“bio fertilizers,” while others were grown in fertilized soil, and the rest that were simply irrigated with water.

The organic liquid he explained is extracted from sugar cane, which is one of Cuba's top agricultural exports. He also listed tomatoes, habanero chillis, bananas, sweet potato as some of the many other vegetables Cuba is known for exporting.

When asked about his favorite Cuban dish, he responded“Arroz con Pollo.”

Arroz Con Pollo is a chicken-rice dish that is particular to many Spanish speaking countries in the world.

Julio described it enthusiastically as“so well seasoned with so much nice spices and flavors” before pointing to rosemary that was grown during the Expo.

SUDAN

At the Sudanese pavilion, The Peninsula was treated to a wealth of information regarding the cultural green practices in Sudan.

The Sudanese pavilion commissioner Awatif Abdullah, pavilion director Ayesha Al Jaili, and pavilion garden manager Samia Abdallah highlighted the significant role Sudanese women have played in promoting sustainable green practices since ancient times. Sudanese women, Samia explaied, would harvest cotton – one of Sudan's biggest exports – and then bring it back home to make it into mattresses, quilts, clothes for their family.

Trees are an important part in Sudanese society, and are the first thing a Sudanese person thinks of after having built their house. A Sudanese house must have trees planted in front of it.

“When people would congregate, they would assemble under a tree, and all important meetings take place under a tree. Trees also have a religious dimension to them, as the Quran in the past was taught under the shade of a tree, and in some areas in Sudan it still is,” Awatif told The Peninsula.

“The planting of a tree for shade is something that Allah also rewards, which acts as an incentive to plant them as well,” she continued. "There would even be three or four big trees in a neighborhood that everyone would meet underneath, to nap, to chat, to eat, have coffee or tea, to weep over the dead, and to read even."

Education in Sudan, as per the three, started from under the shade of a tree, and many examples and recollections of school lessons were learned under a tree.

Round cans of tomato paste can turn into children's toys, wood chippings can be used to help preserve ice during long transport, and several straws bound together by rope and used to roof three upright pikes – A rakoba as it is known in Sudan – can help farmers endure the harsh heat from the sun. Sudanese society, Ayesha remarks, has had green practices ingrained in its culture without knowing they were considered“green.”

TUNISIA


Picture by Amal Oueslati, representative at the Tunisian pavilion

The Tunisians also have special uses for tomato cans as well beyond their primary purpose; they use it to pot plants in.

Amal Oueslati, representative at the Tunisian pavilion, told The Peninsula that agriculture is a“cultural heritage” that spans over 7,000 years old.

"From the days of the Capsian culture, to the glory of Carthage, to the Roman Empire, Tunisia has always retained its greenery, and this greenery is the result of early education that is instilled in every Tunisian child," she said.

“In school, every student must learn how to garden, it's in the curriculum. Every Tunisian who has gone to school knows how to plant something, whether its beans, chickpeas, olives, they teach us when to water and when to not, how to make fertilizer from manure.”

Tree planting in Tunisia is also encouraged and endorsed nationwide.

“Every year, we celebrate National Tree Day, and campaigns to plant trees in the country are in the thousands.”

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