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Seniors plan for International Day on June 29

Iva Harris prepping dishes from her native Jamaica during the Senior centers International day.  There were 7 countries represented with food and music-trinidad and tobago, jamaica, united states, spain, west indies, puerto rico, and guyana.  Before the meal each country had a representative come up and share some history from their country.

Iva Harris prepping dishes from her native Jamaica during the Senior centers International day. There were 7 countries represented with food and music-trinidad and tobago, jamaica, united states, spain, west indies, puerto rico, and guyana. Before the meal each country had a representative come up and share some history from their country.

COVINGTON -- If you've longed to visit a far away island, a country where the culture is entirely different than your own or even another region of the U.S., the Newton County Senior Center is offering a capsule view into life in other lands.

The members of the center will celebrate International Day from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 29 at the Turner Lake Complex at 6183 Turner Lake Road. The public is invited and tickets are $5 each. Proceeds from the event will be used for ongoing and new activities at the center.

"This is the second year we've had International Day. It went over real well last year. There were all kinds of food, all kinds of costumes, all kinds of games and activities that come from each area represented," said Newton County Senior Services Director Josephine Brown.

Countries and regions represented this year will include Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Kenya, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, Canada, England and the U.S.A., divided up into northern, southern, eastern and western regions.

Brown said the idea for the event came after they noted an increase in members from other areas.

"We found out we had seniors from various parts of the world and the U.S., specifically throughout the U.S., who were not born in Georgia, but found themselves migrating this way," she said. "Some of the things we did to try to familiarize them with Newton County and the state of Georgia is we'd take them to areas where we could give them a brief history lesson ... we'd always try to find a historical point in the area to give them a little bit of history of Newton County and what Newton County has to offer the residents."

Brown said on their Friday outings the membership has visited Burge Plantation, the Mansfield area, Alcovy Trestle, Almon, tours down Ga. highways 11, 212 and U.S. Highway 278 and the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers.

"Then the idea came that those who come from other cultures and other parts of the world should share their history with those of us who were not familiar with their history and cultures," she said.

Members Yvonne Francis, originally from Trinidad & Tobago, and Audrey Carey from New York, decided to enhance the sharing of history by dressing in native attire, preparing native foods and displaying products from their area.

Francis and Carey are both on the committee for the event again this year, along with Howard Tuttle and others.

Last year the event was not open to the public, but because it was so widely accepted at the center, they wanted to share it with the community.

"We think of ourselves as a family. We have good times and we have bad times, but we decided a way to minimize the bad times would be to enhance our knowledge of each other," Carey said. "Last year we did that and people who don't normally come every day came. The community room was full and overflowing."

Francis said there would be a table set up representing each country and region with lots of good food and music.

"Last year they gave a history of their countries, but this year we tried to change it around and have a flag parade and give the meaning of the colors of the flag," she said.

"Even though it's fun, it's an educational program, too," Brown added.

Tickets can be purchased at the door.