Monday, September 26, 2011

Dinner benefit for Ethiopian school

Del Norter  to return to Africa in October
To benefit a school in Ethiopia that struggles to help its special needs students, all locals have to do is follow their nose.

David Zuber, a former principal, has put together “Taste of Africa,” a benefit dinner Sept. 30 for the Atse Zeryacob School in Ethi­o­pia.

Zuber visited the school during a humanitarian trip to Uganda and Ethiopia with Rotary International as a member of the Crescent City Rotary Club last year.

At the school, he found that many of its 1,500 students were hearing  impaired, vision impaired or had a learning disability.

“What touched me,” Zuber said, “it was the first school I saw in Africa that was trying to help hearing impaired, vision impaired and learning disabled kids.”

Typically in Africa, those special needs kids would be begging on the street, he said.

The school had “horrible conditions,” Zuber said, but “the kids were eager to learn, the teachers were eager to teach and the administrators were eager to help.”

Compared to Del Norte County where only a handful of its 4,000 students are deaf or blind, Zuber thought the school’s number of disabled students was very high and some help was needed.

“Maybe there’s something we can do to help make their dream come true,” he said.

All money raised will go toward buying supplies for the school, including an abacus, audiometer, bed and bedding, braille books, puzzles, toys, tape recorder and books on tape.

The students at the Bar-O Boys Ranch will be preparing and serving African dishes at the dinner.

Zuber used to be the principal of the school for troubled juveniles mostly from out of the area. Bar-O has a culinary program that teaches the boys how to cook and prepare a meal. For several years the culinary students made an African meatloaf called bobotie.

He thought it would be a good fit for the dinner.

“Part of the program is the boys learn to give back to the community,” Zuber said.

Also on the menu is flat bread and hummus, Ethiopian chicken called doro wat, a spring salad, roast pepper salad, yellow rice with couscous and for dessert mango and blackberry fooles.

The dinner is $20 for adults, $10 for children 5–12 years old and free for children under 5 — Zuber recommends people buy the tickets soon.

There will also be a silent auction for a basket of African beer and wine, a basket of African tea and coffee, African lap blankets and an African wood salad bowl.

Zuber will be taking supplies brought along with funds raised directly to the Atse Zeryacob School in October. He will be going again for two weeks with Rotary to give polio immunizations and visit the school.

He’s hoping the “Taste of Africa” benefit dinner will be become an annual event in Crescent City and work with the school on long-term goals.

“I think it’s a good program,” Zuber said. “I appreciate the support of the community.”