Prayer Bus Tour Brings Awareness to Different Cultures in Sioux Falls

SIOUX FALLS, S.D.-There are people from over 100 different countries living in Sioux Falls and several organizations want to bring awareness to the different cultures.

The Multi-cultural Center along with Presentation Sisters and Pax Christi held their second Prayer Bus Tour of the year. On these trips people learn about different cultures, such as Ukraine, Armenia and Turkey.

You don’t have to travel far in Sioux Falls to experience different cultures. That’s why the prayer bus tour offers people a field trip to learn more about their neighbors.

“We are building bridges among the ethnic communities and showing our support to the different religions and different ethnic communities in town,” said Christy Nicolaisen, Executive Director of the Multi-cultural Center.

This month’s tour group visited Igor Avetisov at his store Beryozka European Grocery off of East 26th street. He sells Eastern European foods. During the tour he gave everyone a run down of all the foods he sells, how they are best used for cooking and where the products originate. Then the group got to taste some of them. While at the store many purchased some of his foods to try out in their own cooking.

“In Sioux Falls there’s so much variety and that’s one of the things that makes our city so great the ability to learn and to experience other cultures from around the world right here in our own backyard,” said Josh Grode-Wolters, Chair of Pax Christi South Dakota.

On these trips, they also get to hear people’s stories. Igor shared how he came to the United States and why he opened this store. He is from Azerbaijan in Eastern Europe.

“1994 we move to United States and the reason why because over 750 thousand people Armenian Nationality were moved out of Azerbaijan permanently from 1988,” said Igor.

He loves South Dakota and plans to stay here. That’s one of the reasons why he opened this store, to share his culture with others. He enjoyed being a part of the prayer bus tour.

“Because I like to talk with people, I need to know story you know from people from all other countries. I’m very friendly and people very friendly We should be open for each other all the time,” said Igor. These tours began a year and a half ago. this is the seventh one and they hope to continue doing more.

They are always looking for other ethnic groups in the community to partner with for their tours. If you are interested in that or being a part of a tour contact Josh Grode-Wolters at jgrode@gmail.com.

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