Well, so much for sleeveless Halloween costumes! Maybe a monster suit over a winter coat would be more in order with our chilly temperatures! Happy trick-or-treating to all tomorrow evening and don’t forget to donate leftover candy to Treatin’ the Troops (see Noteworthy Note below).
Around Davidson today takes a look a travels to and from Africa. In September Merle Schuh and Ralph Levering visited South Africa with side trips to neighboring countries. This month, Davidson welcomed visitors from Kenya who have a partnership with the Davidson College Presbyterian Church.
VISITORS FROM KENYA
Many in our town got to meet three delightful visitors from Kenya during their recent visit to Davidson. Hosted by church families, they were busy during their days with us. Mur Muchane, a Davidson resident with his wife, Mary, and two sons, was kind enough to send us a recap of the visit. This visit was especially meaningful since his parents, Kagwe and Ruth Muchane, were instrumental in forming the partnership, which Mur refers to in the following:
As part of a partnership between Davidson College Presbyterian Church (DCPC) and the Presbyterian Church of East Africa, Sigona, (PCEA-Sigona), three visitors from Sigona church spent a week and a half this month visiting DCPC. The partnership between the two congregations began almost a decade ago when two elders at Sigona, Kagwe and Ruth Muchane, invited the then DCPC senior pastor, Allen Brindisi, and his wife, Ann, to visit PCEA Sigona.
Over the past several years the two congregations have exchanged visits every other year. The visitors this month were the Rev. John Kagiri Churu, Sigona’s pastor, Ms. Hilda Manjie, the chair of the Child and Youth Development Center, and Mrs. Anne Ngugi, a member of the Sigona congregation. Working together, the two churches have raised funds to build an educational center at Sigona. The center houses a school for the less fortunate members of the Sigona community and a computer-training center for youth.
While in Davidson, the guests participated in World Communion Sunday at DCPC on October 7th and attended a church service at Davidson Presbyterian Church (DPC) on Sunday, October 14th. Led by Linda Steber, DCPC Director of Christian Education with responsibilities for Global Missions, and Rebecca Clark, DCPC Chair of the Global Missions Committee, the visitors also attended the PCUSA Kenya Mission Network Conference, a gathering of PCUSA churches which have mission projects in Kenya.
All in all, the visit solidified the continued commitment of both churches to engage with one another for mutual spiritual growth and cultural exchange.
And just a note of thanks to Autumn and Jeff Michael and their four children for hosting Hilda and Anne and to Sherrill and Jane Holland for hosting Rev. John. It was special for these visitors to experience family life. A special bond developed between Hilda and Anne and the Michael children who found the importance of helping hands whether checking homework or clearing the breakfast table. Gordon and Rebecca Clark also played an important role in making these visitors feel at home with a stay at the Davidson Village Inn during their last weekend in Davidson and travel in our N.C. mountains with Gordon.
JAMBO! VISITING SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
Ralph Levering and Merle Schuh wanted to travel to Africa. When their wives decided not to join them on this adventure, they were not the least deterred. Starting last January, they made plans to join Smartours out of New York City and before they knew it, it was September and they were on their way. For these two energetic residents of Davidson, it was a wonderful trip – notwithstanding the 15 hour flight each way from NYC to Johannesburg, South Africa. (Another time they plan to shorten the journey by a few hours by flying from Atlanta.)
Did they have an outstanding time in Africa? Ralph sent Around Davidson his trip report which follows.
We spent the first four days in and around Cape Town, which has by far the most beautiful natural setting of any city that I’ve ever seen. Like most tourists, we enjoyed the cable car ride to the top of Table Mountain, the excursion around the Cape Peninsula (including getting close to penguins), and the visit to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where several types of proteas (flowers native to South Africa) were in full bloom. In addition, we saw huge fields of wildflowers and several types of antelopes and other animals on a day trip to the West Cape National Park.
The real highlights for the forty people on our tour were the two game drives in the Hluhluwe Game Reserve north of Durban and the three game drives in Kruger National Park. We saw at least a dozen animals many times, including three of the so-called Big Five—elephants, rhinos, and cape buffalos. In Kruger we saw the other two: lions and leopards. Seeing a leopard in a tree with his breakfast in tow (an impala) was certainly a highlight. My favorite big animal was the giraffe, of which we saw at least a dozen in both parks. Giraffes are so stately and peaceful; they truly tower over the landscape.
We also enjoyed seeing Soweto and, in particular, visiting Nelson Mandela’s home where he lived in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It was a very dignified house, but well under 1,000 square feet (probably closer to 500 square feet).
Merle and I, plus fifteen other members of our group, also got to do the three-day extension to massive Victoria Falls (the Zimbabwe side) and the Chobe National Park in Botswana. Victoria Falls is so large (about eight-tenths of a mile wide) that visitors can’t see the full expanse of it. While staying near Victoria Falls, we were able to do a “walk with lions”—8 month and 14 month old ones. The lion handlers kept them safe for us. We also got to visit my favorite game park, the Chobe National Park in Botswana. A boat ride along the Chobe River let us see hundreds—perhaps thousands–of elephants and other animals, and our safari in the land portion of the park also allowed us to see many large animals, including three lions. Getting to see two of the lions “chat” with each other for several minutes and then mate twice was also a real highlight for me. I felt I was back in the days millions of years ago when mammals larger than humans controlled the earth!
Merle concurred with every sentence of Ralph’s “trip report” but also added that they enjoyed some beautiful scenery from the bus, especially when traveling through the Mpumalanga (formerly Eastern Transvaal) panoramic wild countryside and the Blyde River Canyon.
For many in our town who have traveled to sub-Saharan Africa, the flights are indeed long but those many hours spent in the airplane pale in comparison to the beauty one encounters on the ground. Thanks, Ralph and Merle, for sharing your adventures with us.
NOTEWORTHY NOTE -TREATIN’ THE TROOPS
The Angell family of Davidson reminds us that this Halloween will be the Seventh Year to collect candy donations after Trick o’ Treating for our troops overseas. Collections dates are November 1-9 and drop off bins are located in Ben & Jerry’s, Ace Hardware, Lake Norman YMCA, the Community School of Davidson and Kadi Fit. All types of candy, including chocolate, will be accepted and all making donations are encouraged to include a note, card, drawing or personalized message for service members. Charlotte USO is responsible for getting the “treats” to the troops.
Back in 2006 when Mom Dani Angell and children, Zac and Kara, started small by asking friends to donate candy to send to Dad Mike Angell who was deployed overseas. Although Mike has since retired from the military after 21 years of service, the family continues the tradition – knowing how grateful the troops are.
Thanks to the Angell family for caring and making a difference for our military.
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