On October 30th the Friends of Woni team was at Los Angeles, we were hosted very well at H. Savinar wherein we held our event Friends About Africa and gave talks based on our shared years of experience on the continent and an abundance of first-hand experiences and travels. This event was our well-intended endeavor to undulate from hands-on knowledge, incorporating personal stories to give a contemporary overview of what brought the spirit of meaningful conversations.
“When I signed up to participate in the Savinar presentation, I must admit that I thought, “Another Safari presentation where only the animals of African have any importance.” What a wonderful and surprising surprise to meet and talk to you! What an inspiration! As a State Department diplomat who spent 15 years in West and Central Africa, my perspective is so different from most people I meet, but that was not the case with you. You are doing such wonderful things. Thanks so much. I look forward to the Nov 19th concert.” – Judy Francis
Joey who was instrumental in preparing for the event set the stage on a good note with an inspiring introduction about their store, H. Savinar Luggage CO. which has been in operation since 1916 and thereafter, he introduced Evie Treen with a video of her in a remote Maasai village where she spent time watching a water drilling project on site. Evie shared with the attendees her moving story as the founder of Vision Adventure Safaris and later Friends of Woni Kenya International and her milestones in the past decade before she introduced Marcia Nielsen to share her experience after having visited Kenya with members of Friends of Woni.
Marcia spoke about her experiences, having been a supporter of Friends of Woni since inception; she elaborated how she had supported the projects and initiatives over the years as well as effect she felt when she saw them in the different communities they visited. She mentioned her new role in the organization as the president and presented with an abundance of enthusiasm about her trip findings and her drive moving forward to continue the legacy that Evie has created. She finished with a strong assurance to the audience; together as a team we will ensure more people are impacted positively by the Friends of Woni mission before she called upon Frank Stewart to share his experience from having visited Ethiopia last fall.
Frank Stewart who is a retired professor in history at UCSB gave a very interactive talk based on the rich history and the very existent heritage of Ethiopia as he went through his presentation while engaging the audience from time to time which led to very thoughtful questions after his presentation, and he answered very informatively as well as going on to genuinely explain about the current unrest that Ethiopia is experiencing from its southern regional tribes. Finally he also mentioned that he had received communication from two friends that he had met on his trip who had explained to him the situation as is on the ground before wrapping up for a short break.
Miguel Avila charmed the audience with some high-energy enlivenening words before he announced the Friends of Woni’s 10th Anniversary Celebration that will be happening at Marjorie Luke Theater on November 19th and topping with some intriguing vibe about Santa Barbara special breakaway must see and eat-out places. Everyone who attended got themselves their tickets and some got more for their family members and friends whom they thought would more than likely be willing to join them.
Joey had the final say with appreciation comments and offered unbeatable offers to all who were in attendance which was hard to pass, by most. Finally, we showed a video which was shared by our friends and members of Friends of Woni, Cherie and Bill Erickson who won last year’s adventure travel raffle ticket for a safari for 2 to Tanzania and made a trip extension to Rwanda’s Virunga Mountain where they tracked the rare mountain gorillas and spent an hour long with them in their natural environment.
“What can you say after those comments? It was a great day for all of us involved, the presenters as well as the audience members. I would do it again! I enjoyed myself! The organization did itself proud!” Frank Stewart
“It was a good day in LA yesterday for our Friends of Woni projects in Kenya, we met with a lot of good people, it was a lot of fun.” Miguel Avila