Gala to raise funds for East Africans
It’s a fundraiser, dinner-party, auction and a slideshow-talk by Dr. Jill Seaman, Tuesday, Aug. 14 at the Moravian Fellowship Hall. Proceeds support Dr. Seaman’s Sudan Medical Relief project in Old Fangak, South Sudan. The $20 admission fee for adults and children 12 and over includes a vegetarian lentils and rice dinner, drink and dessert. Accompanied children under 12 are admitted free. Dinner and silent auction begin at 5:30 p.m., slideshow at 6:30 p.m.
The auction includes plane tickets, items and services from local merchants and friends. A selection of unique African pieces include a 12-piece ebony nativity set, carved bowls, salad servers, woven baskets, a large batik, candle holders, carved animals, jewelry, an Afghani prayer run and a host of other items. The shopper will also find a grand assortment of uniquely Bethel services and items. Last year a case of TP made it an auction with truly something for everyone.
For decades, Dr. Seaman, one of the a dedicated humanitarian, has served both Bethel Natives and indigenous communities in remote reaches of East Africa. Her medical skills are complimented by her warmth and compassion. And it’s her quiet demeanor that belies Dr. Seaman’s accomplishment as a world expert in the deadly disease of kala-azar, also known as the black plague and visceral leishmaniasis.
For four years an epidemic has affected thousands of people in the Great Sud or swamp in South Sudan. There, on the shores of the Zeraf River, Dr. Jill, as she is affectionately known, lives a basic existence for seven months of the year. As the only physician for many miles around, she provides care for all the usual medical maladies, as well as obstetric emergencies, snakebites, spear wounds, malaria, TB, leprosy and kala-azar. Patients come by boat or walk for hours or even days to reach the clinic.
Logistics are a nightmare. Between caring for patients, Dr. Jill manages the daunting tasks of importing medicines and supplies, ordering from Holland or Kenya, sometimes having to stage the shipments or truck them from point A to point B before flying them into the village. Other times she is trying to bring in or send out the occasional well-meaning volunteer (who receives much more than they give); I know because I’m one of them. Transportation costs are tremendous and hardly anything goes as planned.
The talk by Dr. Seaman will focus on the people and the project in Old Fangak, devoid of personal tales of her achievement, challenges or complaints for the hardship under which she lives and works the greater part of her life. The photographs will show a proud people — trusting and gracious in the midst of poverty, illness and hunger.
The funds raised at the gala quite simply, save lives. The evening will bring together the generous community of Bethel for a special and worthy cause.
Checks for dinner and auction items are made to Danatas; donation only checks are made to CCII with SMR on the byline.
Those who don’t make it to the gala can send a tax-deductible donation to Crosscurrents Int. Institute, 7233 Hardin-Wapak Rd, Sidney, OH 45365.