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It gets dark so early, the sky was already delivering a peachy sunset as I drove to town to attend a fundraising dinner for Ugandan Children with Aids.

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I arrived early and the drum circle was practicing rhythms on some beautiful African Drums.

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Three area churches joined in this humanitarian effort to raise money for aids afflicted children, most of them in orphanages, having lost their parents to aids. People lined up for a buffet dinner.

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The authentic East African dinner was bunyaro beef and onion stew, braised chicken with curry and coconut milk, chorako sauce made with mung beans and peppers, and stewed spicey greens with tomatoes and onions.  The food was delicious and they had extra spice for those of us who like it that way. Dessert of coconut cookies and peach pudding with pomegranate berries. It was served on bamboo plates with a wooden fork and spoon. (Plastic is so unrecyclable.) Wine went with the dinner, donated by local wineries. Lovely.

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I knew Tami Chestnut and her sister Teddi and husband, Joe Jackson, and the girls’ mother, Melva Anderson, would be there.  They were so busy I didn’t get a picture, but I was surprised at how many old friends I met. Joanne and Bob Reagan, above, I know through Community Club, and CCTV, just two organizations they  volunteer for.

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Dianne and Fred Kett, old friends from American Field Service. Our kids went to High School together. Dianne and Fred had a student from Columbia at the same time as my student from Indonesia.DSC01937 (Copy)

Carol and Nancy Burton, also AFSers.

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I don’t know the woman on the left, but she was with two good friends, Christyne Mollet and Pastor Jo Siders. Jo and I promised to meet for coffee, soon.

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After the dinner, Pastor Hollenbach  (we’ve never met and I don’t know that I have the name right) had the drummers pass out drums through the crowd so we could participate in an interactive drum circle. Hollenbach, I heard, did missionary work  in Africa.

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Here, my friend, Nancy Stehura, who I met in an Investors Club I once belonged to, gets a chance to play one of the beautiful drums.

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The drums are interesting because they come in many different sizes and shapes. They’re made from an exotic wood we don’t normally see. Each size and shape produces a unique sound.

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Not only drums, but sticks, marimba and maracas were passed around.  Here, Amanda, who I met for the first time, has a go at the sticks. She was my dinner partner.DSC01950 (Copy)

The pastor taught some African phrases in a song. Everyone seemed to enjoy it as did my friends Dave and Pastor Meg Self. I didn’t get to talk to them, just a wave from across the room. Dave in the red jacket, Meg in the blue dress. Meg was my Vice President when we both served on the board of the East Calaveras Democrats Club. Dave served on the board at one time as well. Murphys is a very friendly community and volunteerism in our county is huge. A big part of why I love Murphys.

There was also a silent auction, with items donated. One necklace exactly matched a bracelet I was wearing. It seemed a shame to have them separated, so I donated my bracelet to the cause. It was a fun night and I very much enjoyed running into old friends, most of whom I hadn’t seen in several years.


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