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Fulbright Students Learn about Culture at Waterloo Village

By: Joe Carlson/NJ Herald
08/12/2013, 11:57 AM

BYRAM— Living in Sussex County, residents may lose track of the history of the area, but at least one international student who toured Waterloo Village on Thursday believes that it is something that should never be forgotten.

“I had no clue of the life of Native Americans. It is something that I’m interested in knowing,” said Khaled Hamadeh, a college student from Lebanon who will attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. “We tend to think of America as a country with very recent history, but you come to look at what a rich history the natives have. This is something that we should not forget.”

About 50 foreign students in the Fulbright Program, representing 34 countries, toured the Native American village with the Winnakung at Waterloo, a nonprofit organization that gives tours of the historic property to schools, giving a hands-on experience of what Native American culture in Sussex County was like.

“This is something that they will not see anywhere else in the country,” said Nancy Paffendorf, Centenary College dean for community and college affairs, as to why she chose to bring the Fulbright scholars to Waterloo.

Each Fulbright student is attending a U.S. college in the fall. Thursday’s activities at Waterloo Village were part of the Fulbright Gateway Orientation held all week, primarily at Centenary College, featuring interactive workshops on topics such as handling culture shock and understanding U.S. academic culture and political life.

The goal was for the students to develop a better awareness of the United States and their leadership role as Fulbright scholars.

Fulbright scholars are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential. They are given the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns, according to the program’s website.

In addition to visiting Waterloo, scholars were given presentations on U.S. politics and people; adjusting to U.S. culture and avoiding culture shock; and understanding U.S. academic culture.

In addition to Waterloo, the students also visited a historical site in Bethlehem, Pa., taking the Steel Stacks Historic Tour on Wednesday night.

At Waterloo, students were given the opportunity to use a bow and drill to simulate starting fire, sculpt clay into pinch pots, and throw ears of corn through a ring into a basket to simulate hunting with a spear, in order to learn how the Lenni Lenape lived.

They were also taught about the Lenape language, growing fruits and vegetables, and the medicine the natives used to rid themselves of illness.

“I really enjoyed playing with the clay, and how they made clothing was fun,” Hamadeh said. “I can say my favorite was how the medication was back in the day, scaring away the souls of the sickness.”

Waterloo’s resource interpretive specialist, Andrea Proctor, said it was wonderful that Centenary chose to take students to Waterloo because it shows community support for the historical venue.

“We thought it would be nice to stay local and have them see something that they would not see somewhere else,” Paffendorf said. “They are commenting on the landscape here. We’re hearing that it’s gorgeous. It is fun to see through other people’s eyes what we are used to seeing every day.”

Before leaving the students, Proctor explained to the students the Lenni Lenape did not have a word for “goodbye,” only a phrase, “lapich knewel,” meaning “I will see you again.”