For a short month, February sure seems to last a long time, doesn’t it? We’ve experienced three seasons this last week alone. Seems one area school is celebrating FUNbruary with daily activities to get students over the winter blues hump! Around Davidson is staying alive by meeting great folks and sharing their exploits. Madeleine Wright went to India for two weeks! Members of Davidson Friends Meeting have started Hands and Hearts to create warm shawls. And Nicaraguan Artist-in-residence, Gerardo Hernández Arias, is making progress on his sunny and hopeful mural at DCPC’s Congregation House.
YOU HAVE A FRIEND IN DAVIDSON
When members of Davidson Friends Meeting considered starting a prayer shawl group, the words hands and hearts kept coming up. The newly named Hands and Hearts group started meeting on Thursdays nights. The first projects were prayer shawls but their needles also work on many useful items to include hats and even laptop covers! The hats ultimately went to the Needlecraft Center’s annual collection for charity. The laptop covers were inspired by the E2D project (see article) and was the meeting’s way of contributing to the town-wide effort. Because not all the computers came with protective covers, Hands and Hearts knitted and crocheted colorful cases. Some members even brought in their sewing machines to create additional styles which included protective quilted bags.
Members of Hands and Hearts enjoy knowing that their shawls bring solace to patients undergoing medical procedures, comfort to those enduring a loss or times of stress and peace during bereavement and terminal illnesses. They tell us that shawls also make wonderful gifts. Around Davidson did a little research and found that in 1998, Janet Severi Bristow and Victoria Galo, two graduates of the Women’s Leadership Institute at The Hartford Seminary in Connecticut gave birth to the prayer shawl ministry. Compassion and the love of knitting and crocheting were combined into a prayerful ministry and spiritual practice which reaches out to those in need of comfort, as well as in celebration and joy. Many blessings are prayed into every stitch.
Whether they are called Prayer Shawls, Comfort Shawls, or Peace Shawls, the shawl maker begins with prayers and blessings for the recipient. The intentions are continued throughout the creation of the shawl. Upon completion, a final blessing is offered before the shawl is sent on its way. Some recipients continue the kindness by making a shawl and passing it onto someone else in need. Thus, the blessing ripples from person-to-person, with both the giver and receiver feeling the unconditional embrace. The Davidson Friends Meeting Hearts and Hands group meets the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month from 7:30pm to 9pm in the Davidson Friends Meeting House at 625 South Street and is open to all area needle-crafters.
ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Nicaraguan artist Gerardo Hernández Arias has begun a month long residency at Davidson College Presbyterian Church where he is painting a mural celebrating their two international partnerships in Nicaragua and Kenya. Gerardo is a workshop facilitator and painting instructor at the Cultural Center of Batahola Norte in Managua. This community center offers music and art classes to children, scholarships to the college bound, practical skills training for under and unemployed adults, and a community library. It is a cultural oasis for the underprivileged people of Managua. Gerardo also designed their mural that celebrates the limitless possibilities of education.
Gerardo has been a collaborator in the church’s partnership with the Kilambe region of Nicaragua. The artist was introduced to the DCPC congregation on January 29th during Wednesday Night Live and has since visited the Kindergarten through 5th grade Sunday School classes. On February 15th from 4pm to 5:45pm and again on Monday from 10am to noon, Gerardo will lead a Children’s Art Workshop in the Congregation House where he has set up his temporary studio. That evening at 6:00pm, Gerardo will direct Common Grounds Café. On Sunday February 23rd Faith and Families will host Gerardo and at 11am there will be a celebration and dedication of the new mural. Additionally he will visit area schools and participate in some Davidson College classes.
Frank Medrano, from CEPAD (Council of Protestant Churches in Nicaragua) in Managua, serves as a translator for Gerardo. Additionally, Frank will share news and highlights on the work of CEPAD. CEPAD facilitates the church’s partnership in Nicaragua and is one of the agencies which receives money from their mission budget. This non-governmental organization (NGO, a non-profit, voluntary citizens’ group) is working hard to preserve Nicaragua’s abundant natural resources, but the people still struggle with food security. One delegate from DCPC said that on their way to Kilambe in the mountains near Honduras, Gerardo said to him “Joy is the fuel of Nicaraguans…that and good humor. The area is isolated and the people are very poor. They don’t have a lot of money so they run on joy.” Those who travel to Nicaragua see the desperate and hopeful realities of their future. Gerardo’s mural shines bright with hope.
MORE FUN THAN A BARREL OF MONKEYS
Community School of Davidson 9th grader Madeleine Wright went to India with her family over the winter break, and she shared news of her adventure with Around Davidson. Madeleine’s mother, Rea, is from Mumbai (Bombay), the capital of west coast Maharashtra state and the country’s most populous city. Madeleine, Rea and her father Doug Wright had been to Bombay in 2001, but this was the first trip for her bother, Liam.
It was a journey: A two-hour flight to DC with a two-hour layover, a 12-hour flight to Dubai, with a five-hour layover, and then three hours more to Bombay. The jet stream headwinds make the trip back even longer. Madeleine says they were joined by her grandfather and spent a lot of time with aunts and also a cousin who had flown in from San Francisco with his wife. Their home base was in Bombay and they took advantage of several local trips.
The tour included a 45-minute hike to see monkeys at the inland Hill Station Matheran; a stay at a nice Parsi establishment called Lords, where they dined in great style; and a ferry trip to visit friends in the beach town of Kashid. Madeleine and Liam jumped into the Arabian Sea while the locals shivered and said it was too cold!
In Bombay, there were lots of visits to friends, who were warm and welcoming. Madeleine said she wore a sari to a friend’s navjote, a religious ceremony for Parsi children, akin to a bat mitzvah).
Madeleine said the city’s crowds were not what she anticipated, and the poverty was not so evident, at least not where they stayed. In fact, she best describes Mumbai as “a slightly more rural New York City… well, if cows walked around the streets in New York!”
Traveling was a terror. She says there seem to be no lanes or speed limits on the roads, and traffic was chaotic and loud. Liam said the cars were yelling at each other. All in all, Madeleine says she had a lot of fun and can’t wait to go back. Click here to view a video.
The Mental Health Forum to be hosted by St. Alban’s Episcopal Church was cancelled due to snow has been re-scheduled to February 25th at 7pm. The event will feature multiple speakers and take-home materials and is intended to disseminate information both for those with mental disorders and for their family members.
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Have news for Around Davidson? Write to Brenda Barger at firstname.lastname@example.org.