A long way from home

Mahala Majida Moxey on adjusting to a new culture

Elena Cornwell

A street bursts  with people; costume glitter and feathers fill the air that smells of Caribbean food cooked to perfection. The music is loud and pulsing, and the party is only just beginning. It’s 5:00 a.m. on the morning of Mahala Majida Moxey’s favorite day of the year, Boxing Day.

Boxing Day occurs December 26, and the beauty and noise of the Junkanoo festival make it her favorite holiday of the year.

“Some people say it is from slaves making costumes out of junk, and others say it is from John Canoe, a West African prince and local hero,” explains  Moxey. Visually, it’s a lot like Carnival, the famous Brazilian holiday that occurs in the spring each year.

After Christmas Day, everyone stays up until the festival begins at 4 or 5:00 a.m. in the morning. The dancing, music, and costume competitions last until around 11:00 a.m. with the parade mob taking a couple laps to ensure everyone’s has a good view.

Moxey is a junior biology, pre-vet major from Nassau in the Bahamas. Attending Union College was her first time outside of her country for more than a week. This summer, she was back not only to eat mangoes and avocados, but also to conduct research. She received a research internship from Loma Linda to study the eating habits of rock iguanas on San Salvador, and while she  wasn’t the biggest fan of the reptiles at first, the research was in her island chain, so she packed up and went.

After studying the iguanas for three weeks, Moxey can tell you that their favorite food is white bread, but they will also eat carrots. “They all have their own personalities,” explains Moxey. “I think they’re cute, but my friends say I think everything is cute.”

“The weather changing for me is weird. In the Bahamas we say that we have two temperatures, hot and hotter. So I miss the clear blue skies. Here, the weather is weird and cold and not what I really enjoy.”

Though Moxey misses home, she really enjoys Union. She doesn’t have avocados, bananas, sugar apples, guavas, or grapefruits growing in her backyard, but the people and the atmosphere truly make Union home.  

Elena is a senior pursuing a personalized major.