Focusing on folklore — in the tradition of African storytelling — the community-wide UFAR African Soiree will be Saturday, March 1, 5:00 to 8 p.m.

Come and invite your friends to the community wide UFAR African Soiree, an important and fun event in the life of the church! We held the first African Soiree five years ago. That was when our church sent a mission team to the Democratic Republic of Congo to see, first hand, the work of the United Front Against Riverblindness, founded by PUMC member Daniel Shungu. Peter Meggitt was on that team, and there will be a special presentation to honor him. For the entertainment this year, PUMC member Scott Langdon will join Daniel to present African folktales.

It will be Saturday, March 1, 5:00 to 8 p.m. on the first floor of Princeton Seminary’s Mackay Center. For $60 reservations ($30 for students) contact Susan Lidstone, Soiree chair, at or 609-688-9979. Offstreet parking is free.

We always look forward to Susan’s clever decorations. And we enjoy the sumptuous international buffet of food donated by PUMC cooks from the DRC, Ghana, Nigeria, and Ethiopa. Youth from our church will show African fashions, and there will be a an African market and live auction called by Michele Tuck-Ponder. In the auction are a specially designed copper bracelet from Forest Jewelers, a needlepoint picture, a quilt that Michele made from African fabric and a painting made by Rhinold Ponder. Aruna Arya, owner of the Palmer Square-based fashion store Zastra, will donate a design. Professor Elsie McKee will contribute items made by a Congo-based charity, Woman, Cradle of Abundance.

Caused by a parasite and transmitted by the black flies that live near the river, riverblindness 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 (

“We welcome the community to the fifth annual Soiree,” says Daniel. “As we enjoy the entertainment and the delicious African meal, we will enable UFAR to keep an entire village from going blind.”