Tag Archives: UFAR

UFAR’s African Soiree 3/19

2014 elsie and daniel
Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR, with Prof Elsie McKee, UFAR supporter and founder of another Congo-based charity, FEBA: Woman, Cradle of Abundance. 

This is an alert about and an invitation to this Saturday’s African Soiree to benefit the United Front Against Riverblindness,  founded by Lawrence resident Daniel Shungu, who has an amazing story — he took early retirement from Merck to “give back” to his home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo.

My church, Princeton United Methodist, sent a mission team to the Congo in 2008. That was the year we had four (count ’em 4!) fundraisers including the “first annual” African Soiree.

2016 3 15 P1010646 geri vasanth at buffet
Geri LaPlaca, left, Anne Fikaris and Vasanth Victor enjoy the authentic African buffet at the Soiree

Here, a picture of the bountiful feast — the multi-course home-cooked African and American dinner prepared by volunteers — a major feature of the African Soirée. On Saturday, March 19, it starts 5  p.m.(doors open at 4:30 p.m.) at the  Mackay Campus Center of Princeton Theological Seminary, 64 Mercer St. Princeton NJ. Tickets are $70 per adult and $35 per child at www.riverblindness.org. For free parking, enter from College Road.shankadi mask

At the Soiree you can shop at the “African Market,” bid on exciting auction items, and get an update on the progress of the UFAR mission by Dr. Shungu. If you’ve attended in the past, you know how much fun it is — Thursday is not too late to get tickets. 

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Daniel Shungu, founder of UFAR, with Prof Elsie McKee, UFAR supporter and founder of another Congo-based charity, FEBA: Woman, Cradle of Abundance.

In 2008 to get support for the mission trip, adults and kids from PUMC acted out what it means to be blind in the Congo — where riverblindness ruins two lives, the adult who is blind and the child who must leave school to lead the adult with a pole. This photo shows how we marched through Communiversity with children leading adults to bring the message “$10 saves 7 people from going blind.”

Every year since then UFAR sets up a table at Communiversity in front of the church. Look for them on April 17 on Nassau and Vandeventer at  “the friendly church on the corner.” .

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Oh what a beautiful . . . duo: Allyson and Cardenas

 

KarinAllyson2015_Ingrid_Hertfelder_7I’ve never been a groupie but am learning to be one for Karrin Allyson, who sang and played a Steinway on September 20 at TCNJ. For those who had not seen her, it was an eye/ear popper.

Even for those of us who had been at last year’s benefit concert, Chansons pour le Congo, it was a revelation to have an additional voice on stage — Allyson’s plus the blues of Steve Cardenas’ bass guitar, cradling the tones between the notes in a heart-twanging response.

The brand new CD, Many a New Day, with Rodgers & Hammerstein tunes and Kenny Barron and John Pattitucci on bass, was similar to the concert but I’m sorry to say for those who weren’t there, the concert was way better. At least for me. Partly because you could see Allyson really ‘getting into it,’ standing slim and strong, sparkly bracelet on her wrist, shakin’ her shaker, red stiletto shoes tapping back and forth, crooning and belting in that Midwestern girl-next-door accent with the sexy under-breath. Or at the Steinway, inhabiting that piano, in control, red shoes planted wide, playing that piano like a cello, sole of one red shoe keeping the beat, into it.

For “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” on the CD, Allyson sets up the dawn version of a stride piano  — delicate octaves like bird calls — and lights into the tune that recalls a cowboy riding past corn ‘as high as an elephants eye.‘ But this is no cowboy song. Oh no. And at the concert it was even more intimate, a sleepy-eyed aubade, S. O’Hara waking up on a beautiful morning after a beautiful night. And then Cardenas took that tune, caught it, and caressed those descending half-tones on ‘mor…n…ing,‘ a lover’s response.

What makes me a groupie — I want to hear it again on stage, because — good as Kenny Barron is on the piano — that song on the CD doesn’t evoke the heat of the live performance with Allyson playing as well as singing. I want to hear Cardenas and Allyson sing it again, live. Put me on the list!

Allyson will intro her album at Birdland, October 6-10. Kenny Barron’s show tours to McCarter on October 23. Allyson will be back in NYC in April at the Greene Space and Birdland.

Disclosure: I wrote some pro bono press releases for this concert, to benefit Congolese charities UFAR and FEBA

Many a New Day Will Shine — to benefit Congolese charities: Karrin Allyson

KarinAllyson2015_Ingrid_Hertfelder_7Now is the perfect time, says jazz artist Karrin Allyson, to revisit the Rodgers & Hammerstein songbook. Listen to her new album, Many A New Day, click her for a preview video.

See Allyson in person at a benefit concert “Chansons pour le Congo III” at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ),  . The concert, which benefits two Congo-based charities, will be Sunday, September 20, at 3 p.m. at the Mildred & Ernest E. Mayo Concert Hall, 2000 Pennington Road, Ewing.

“These songs are innocent yet wise, hopeful yet nobody’s fool, calling us ever forward to be decent human beings,” says Allyson, who features Kenny Barron and John Patitucci on “Many a New Day” on the Motema label. “Sadly, the song ‘You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught,’  from ‘South Pacific’  (a musical that was written with the intention to fight racism) still resonates all too well today.”

The event is presented by the College of New Jersey, Women and Gender Studies Program, Women in Learning and Leadership and Office of the Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences.  Allyson will be accompanied by bass guitarist Ed Howard. A reception to meet the artists will follow the performance.

Tickets (available online here) are $70 for adults, $50 for seniors, and $30 for students, with a discount for TCNJ students.  Sponsorships range from Patron  at $240, including three tickets. to Karrin’s Circle for $1,000 with six tickets. For information  call 609-688-9979.

This will be the third concert that Allyson, a four-time Grammy nominee, has given to benefit the two charities. Founded  by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, Woman, Cradle of Abundance (FEBA) supports a sewing school for girls, medical care for women and children living with HIV/AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans .

UFAR, founded by PUMC member Dr. Daniel Shungu, is an African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit charitable organization that aims, in partnership with other organizations, to eradicate onchocerciasis, a major public health problem in the Kasongo region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Women of the Congo have amazing strength,” says Allyson, “and I only want to help with their goals of a safe and healthy society, freed from diseases like AIDS and riverblindness, and to help the world see that they are FIRST class citizens.”

Amazing African Art in Soiree Auction

3 Luba Shankadi mask

This amazing Luba Shankadi mask will be in a live auction, at the African Soiree to benefit United Front Against Riverblindness. It starts at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 21 at the Princeton Seminary and includes a buffet of African and international foods, entertainment, and an update from UFAR founder Daniel Shungu.

Anyone may buy items at the African marketplace, from 4:30 on, but you need to be at the dinner to participate in the Kuba art auction. Go to the United Front Against Riverblindness website for $70 tickets.

Other yummy items — this cowry-shell and beaded purse, a whimsica3 cowry shell and bead pursel double-entendre since cowry shells were a form of money. 

Traditional Congolese “Kuba” art was affected by influences from abroad that arrived during the era of colonization, but the individuality and variety of tribal customs has been preserved.

Below left, a modern sculpture. Below right, a museum quality headstand. And the textiles– my photos don’t do them justice so here is a link to a gallery.  Starting prices for the auction range from $100 to $500. If you can’t get there Saturday but want to bid… hmmm, shall I bid for you?

2 Luba Shankadi headrest

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Songs for the Congo: Sunday, Nov. 9

2014 a Karrin_Allyson_2LEnjoy a terrific jazz afternoon and support United Front Against Riverblindness. Together with another worthy charity for Congo, Woman Cradle of Abundance, UFAR presents its second annual benefit concert with 4-Time Grammy Nominee Karrin Allyson.

When: Sunday, November 9 at 3:00 PM
Reception with the artist will follow. Doors open at 2:30 PM.

Where: Solley Theatre, Arts Council of Princeton
Corner of Paul Robeson Place and Witherspoon St. in Princeton

Tickets are $70, $30 for students. Click here or call 609-924-2613.

UFAR, founded by Daniel Shungu of Lawrenceville, works to stamp out riverblindness in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where one-third of the 60 million people are at risk for getting it. It starts with a rash and leads to sight loss, forcing children to leave school to care for parents.

Woman, Cradle of Abundance, also known as FEBA, aims to change the dismal future for many women in the DRC, known as one of the world’s most dangerous places to be a woman. Founded in 1999 by an ecumenical group of Congolese women, it supports a sewing school where girls learn a marketable trade. It also provides medical care and support for women and children living with HIV / AIDS, counseling for survivors of rape and forced prostitution, and school fees for orphans. The US partner is raising funds to help the Congo project build a Women’s Center.

Karrin and BillHelp both causes by enjoing a jazz afternoon with Karrin (shown here with her partner Bill McLaughlin). She is described as “always globetrotting and delighting audiences all over the world with her unique and personal style — straight from the heart.”

To Publicity Chairmen: Make it Easy

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With Robert Bullington, president of the Kiwanis chapter

Today I had a delightful lunch with the Kiwanis Club of Trenton at Leonardo’s II. The program chairman asked me to offer tips that would help this nearly 90-year-old chapter publicize the Times-Kiwanis Camp Fund, founded in 1955 in partnership with the then Trenton Times.

My 10-minutes talk focused on war stories, PR successes and failures, everything from the New Jersey State Button Society show to a Congo mission trip by Princeton United Methodist Church on behalf of UFAR. Titled “Make it Easy: Ask ‘How High,'” the talk focused on how to encourage donors to give, editors to print press releases, and individuals to leverage their connections.

Does anyone else want these tips? Have talk, will travel.

 

At the UFAR African Soiree

Here is what Pat Tanner wrote when she attended the African Soiree to benefit the United  Front Against Riverblindness. Thank you, Pat for helping us spread the news.

And here is an account of how the family of the late Peter Meggitt received a very special award.  soiree presentation Hugo Liz TomFrom left: Hugo Meggitt, Liz Meggitt, and the presenter, Rev. Tom Lank.

This statuette of a child leading a blind adult was made by a third-generation sculptor from Burkina Faso. It represents the tragedy of the disease that affects more than just the infected person — and the hope that, with sustained community-based mass treatment, this common depiction of the disease will soon disappear.

The fifth annual African Soiree, held on March 1 at Princeton Theological Seminary, raised $16,000 for UFAR, the African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit that aims, in partnership with other organizations, to eliminate and eventually eradicate riverblindness as a major public health and socioeconomic problem in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

In 2010 Peter traveled with a Princeton United Methodist church mission team to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and he made significant contributions to UFAR’s fundraising efforts for the past five years.

Also presented that evening: a certificate showing that a village has been sponsored in Peter’s s name. This sponsorship, which includes a picture of the village chief, keeps the entire village from going blind.

More than one-third of the 60 million people in the DRC are at risk for contracting riverblindness, according to Dr. Daniel Shungu, UFAR founder.

Photo by Robin Birkel.

African Adventure: March 1 UFAR Menu

Too many cooks won’t spoil the broth on Saturday, March 1, at the African Soiree to benefit United Front Against Riverblindness. Along with listening to folktales, shopping in an African market, and bidding on auction items,  Soiree guests will enjoy a feast prepared by two dozen cooks and chefs from two restaurants: Makeda and Palace of Asia.

From the Democratic Republic of Congo:2014 soiree buffet 2013

  • Cassava/manioc
  • Bitekuteku
  • Pondue
  • Fufu
  • Goat a’la Congolaise
  • Chicken moamba
  • Banana snack
  • Makayabo/fish & collards,
  • Sliced mangoes and pineapple

From Ethiopa: injero, shero wat  and doro wat (chicken stew)

From South Africa: oxtail casserole and chicken birnanyi

From Sierra Leone, Bean patties and fritters ‘Oleleh and Akara Balls’

From India: Samosa, meatballs, and goat

And for less adventurous appetites: chicken fingers, Chinese fried rice, green salad, tetrazzini, and barbecue wings.

2014 soiree table 2013

The African Soiree is 5 to 8 p.m. at the Mackay Center of Princeton Theological Seminary. Tickets at $60 ($30 for kids and students) are still available by contacting event chair Susan Lidstone at UFAR@PrincetonUMC.org or 609-688-9979. Offstreet parking is free.

“We welcome the community to the fifth annual Soiree,” says UFAR founder Dr. Daniel Shungu. “As we enjoy the entertainment and the delicious African meal, we will enable UFAR to keep an entire village from going blind.” He will present a special award to the family of the late Peter Meggitt, a UFAR supporter who traveled to the Democratic Republic of Congo with a Princeton United Methodist Church mission team.

Photos by Robin Birkel

African Soiree Auction: “Ballerinas”

This painting by Rhinold Lamar Ponder is one of the items to be auctioned at the auction for the African Soiree, held at the Princeton Theological Seminary Mackay Center on Saturday, March 1, 5 to 8 p.m. It will benefit the United Front Against Riverblindness (www.riverblindness.org). For tickets,  UFAR@princetonumc.org or call 609-688-9979.

Michele Tuck-Ponder, a member of the mission team from Princeton United Methodist church, will call the live auction of items. In the auction are also a framed needlepoint picture yby Susan Lidstone, specially designed copper bracelet from Randi Forman of Nassau Street-based Forest Jewelers, a needlepoint picture, a quilt that Tuck-Ponder made from African fabric. Aruna Arya, owner of the Palmer Square-based fashion store Zastra , will donate one of her designs. Elsie McKee will contribute items made by a Congo-based charity, Woman, Cradle of Abundance. A professor at Princeton Theological Seminary and a member of Witherspoon Street Presbyterian Church, McKee is in charge of local arrangements and the African market.  

More than one-third of the 60 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are at risk for getting riverblindness. Caused by a parasite and transmitted by the black flies that live near the river, the disease takes two lives – the life of the adult who goes blind, and of the sighted child who must leave school to be the caretaker. The medicine is provided free by Merck & Co., but the distribution is a challenge. Using a community-directed approach that involves villagers who are appointed by their village chief, UFAR is able to treat more than two million persons each year. Annual treatment for each person in required for ten years to eliminate the disease.

UFAR is an African-inspired, Lawrenceville-based nonprofit charitable organization that aims, in partnership with other organizations, to eradicate onchocerciasis, a major public health problem in the Kasongo region of the DRC (riverblindness.org).

Quilting for UFAR

2014 michele Scott 2

This gorgeous quilt, sewn with African fabrics by Michele Tuck-Ponder (shown here with Scott Langdon), will be auctioned at the fifth annual UFAR African Soiree on Saturday, March 1, 5 to 8 p.m., at Princeton Theological Seminary’s Mackay Center.

To benefit the United Front Against Riverblindness, it will include a buffet of international and African food, folk tales told by actor Scott Langdon and UFAR founder Daniel Shungu, a showing of African fashions, and an African marketplace. Tickets are just $60 ($30 for students). Call 609-688-9979 or email UFAR@PrincetonUMC.org.

The king-sized quilt features Adinkra symbols native to western Africa.The symbols, hand stamped by the quilter during a visit to Africa, give a unique spin to the traditional log cabin block design. Many of the fabrics were purchased in Africa and supplemented by fabrics from the quilter’s own collection. The quilt is made in shades of purple, orange and green with tan and brown borders. Professionally quilted in a Greek Key design. The estimated retail value of the quilt is $750.00.

A former mayor of Princeton Township, Tuck-Ponder not only made the quilt, but will call the live auction, which will also include a specially designed copper bracelet from Randi Forman of Nassau Street-based Forest Jewelers, and a scarf designed by Aruna Arya, owner of the Palmer Square-based fashion store Zastra, and a painting by Rhinold Ponder.

A special award will be presented to the family of the late Peter Meggitt, a UFAR supporter and Princeton resident who traveled with the mission team.

More than one-third of the 60 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo are at risk for getting riverblindness but UFAR is able to treat more than two million persons each year.