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Build Africa Schools dinner set for Jan. 24

Posted: Sunday, Jan 20th, 2013

Pictured are Emily Ruiz, Jason Fosson, Kathy Bella and Melanie Whitmore. HERALD PHOTO/Liz Hoefler

EVANSTON — Explore Africa, like never before! On January 24, the Evanston High School’s Build African Schools group will present an African-themed dinner, with great food and fun for the whole family.

In 2008, a group of students from Evanston High School came together and established Evanston Build African Schools. Their goal was to raise $48,000 to build a five-room schoolhouse operated with solar power, and including a computer lab, in a remote village in Kenya. The group’s goal was to bring to light the plight of children living in remote villages in southern Kenya.

“Since the school was built in 2010, students have been attending since January 2011, and in a continuous effort to establish ongoing education and growth the group has created the BAS scholarship,” Kathy Bella, teacher and coordinator of the trip, told the Herald. “The scholarship fund is designed to serve two purposes. One purpose is to help send a Ndatani Village High School graduate to college, and the other is to assist one of our local students to visit the Ndatani school and experience Kenya firsthand.”

In 2012, through the funds raised by the Evanston Beer, Brats and Bluegrass Festival, the group was able to provide a $1,000 scholarship to a Ndatani student, as well as two $1,000 travel scholarships to send two EHS students to Kenya.

This year’s group, consisting of eight students — Tristen Belnap, Emily Ruiz, Jazmine Gruber, Melanie Whitmore, Hyrum Haack, Jason Fossey, Natasha Loyola and Aubrie Condie — and six adults, including Kathy Bella, teacher and coordinator of the trip; Elizabeth Cooper, teacher; Rod Ruiz, parent; Ann Condie, teacher and parent; Vernon Condie, parent; Cornellie Squires, parent; will be traveling to Kenya in July 2013 to visit the school and present the scholarship, participate in a humanitarian service project and go on a photo safari at the world famous Masai Mara Game Preserve.

The Jan. 24 dinner will help make this trip possible and continue Build Africa Schools’ work in southern Kenya. During the dinner, guests will be serenaded with authentic African drumming by the University of Wyoming’s African Student Association. There will also be a silent auction and plenty of fun and adventure for all ages.

Tickets are available by calling Bella at (307) 789-8010.

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