Mzezi One Project Continued .....

The objectives of the project were 1) increased cultural humility among all involved: medical students and high school students and 2) a deeper understanding of the importance of acknowledging cultural concepts of health among the medical students and of the association between cultural humility and improved health outcomes.

The students in both countries engaged in several creative processes, allowing them to learn about each other’s cultures while making and designing their masks.  Making art together helped to break down boundaries, helping them to articulate their insights in new ways about their health, or what is needed for their healing and well-being. Artistic expression is a way for people to feel better, articulate insights in new ways about their health, or what is needed for their healing and well-being. 

One of the art forms used was face masks, which were made and designed by all of the participants.  Our face is our most social self; it tells who we are in relation to our community, culture, time and place in history. The program used the creation of masks as a way to express their creativity and explore their identities. Along with the mask making, participants created photodiaries and video that articulated their stories. These masks transform not only the people who make them, but all who see them as well.  Masks have been used traditionally to help people understand themselves and their relationships better; they are a vehicle through which individuals communicate their ideas and thoughts.  Video, photography, song and dance, storytelling were integral in the creation of the project.

The other innovative aspect of the project, cultural immersion, is important as it places a learner in different contexts of culture and language. It allows us to critically examine both our own cultural identity and those of a different culture, and to acquire an appreciation for viewpoints of a culture different from our own.