By Miriam Raftery
July 13, 2010 (Sa Diego’s East County) – El Cajon Sunset Rotary Club hosted an English high tea amid an African motif at a La Mesa home on Sunday—all to raise money to bring clean, safe drinking water to villagers in Kenya. Currently, children in the Machakos District near Nairobi must walk five to ten miles each morning before school to fetch water for their families.
“The water is not clean. Often it is contaminated with parasites and other problems. The money we raise will allow us to go to Kenya and provide rainwater collection tanks in the Machakos District,” said Dominic Gunder, who added that the El Cajon Sunset Rotary Club can obtain matching grants through Rotary International. Providing clean water not only saves lives, it also allows children to spend more time studying, he added.
The group is also working in partnership with Water for Children International, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization founded by El Cajon resident Vickie Butcher.
“Every time we go, we also bring school supplies, HIV/AIDS supplies, and hospice supplies,” Butcher told East County Magazine. “Bishop Desmond Tutu begged us to help people die in dignity,” she said, adding that simple supplies such as surgical gloves are desperately needed in Africa.
Donations of supplies as well as money are welcome. Funds are used for water tanks and water drilling equipment, training for water supply repair and maintenance, water for agriculture, healthcare supplies and medical equipment, training for mothers of HIV infected infants, transportation for volunteers, school supplies and computers. These activities are focused on small African institutions such as schools, orphanages, clinics and small communities, where funds provide the maximum benefit to children.
At the tea, elegantly attired guests feasted on crumpets, cucumber sandwiches, fruit, scones and African sweet bread in an outdoor garden setting with mosquito netting-draped tables, also savoring a variety of teas including African red tea and McGee sweet tea.
Chanelle Chestnut, who will be leaving July 20th to spend five months in Africa, spoke about her enthusiasm for the project. A storyteller entertained guests with African-American folk tales and a tea expert advised guests on the history and traditions of an English high tea. Visitors from Africa were also introduced.
To make a donation, visit www.waterforchildrenafrica.org.
Bethel Memorial A.M.E. Church
Dominic Gunder and Charlene Norwood, as well as Vickie Butcher, are members of Bethel Memorial A.M.E. Church in San Diego. Vickie Butcher regularly leads a delegation to Africa, in her "Water for Africa" project.