A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT: FROM WHERE I SIT
This newsletter marks the end of my two years as President of Asheville Sister Cities. We have accomplished much as evidenced by the lengthy stories on our committee activities that have been told in this publication every quarter.
All committee chairs, board members and volunteers are to be commended for their success, especially this year which saw some of our most challenging undertakings. We are fortunate to have such talent associated with ASCI.
Please join us at our Annual Meeting on Sunday, Jan. 27th at 3:00 PM ACSI office at 33 Page) to celebrate (as in great food), learn more about this outstanding organization and welcome Russ Martin as your new President.
BOOKS, BEARS & BEER – OH MY! THE VALLADOLID REPORT
By Karon Korp, Chair, Valladolid Committee
The Valladolid Committee welcomed a Delegation of seven people in October. A busy week filled with meetings and activities sent our guests home filled with ideas! A trolley tour of the city familiarized them with Asheville’s beautiful sights, and lunch at the Mediterranean downtown filled their tummies with yummy Greek salad and gyros. Sustainability and recycling were the key words for tours at Curbie and Danny’s Dumpsters, and the Highland Brewing Company gave us a behind the scenes look at making delicious beer. Mayor Terry Bellamy graciously received the delegation and spent time talking with them about Valladolid.
School connections were another priority during the group’s time here. Dr. Hank Dunn, President of A-B Tech welcomed the group and talked about student and teacher exchanges for the future with ITSVA (Instituto Technológico Superior de Valladolid). Shelley White assisted with a wonderful tour of A-B Tech’s Small Business Incubator at the Enka Campus. All were very impressed. We also had the opportunity to tour Claxton Elementary and Carolina Day School, both organizations offered fresh and creative approaches to education.
The Battery Park Book Exchange hosted a wonderful book reading and signing by Doña Chela (Rosa Alba de Quiñones), followed by a fabulous reception at 33 Page, with delegates in full costume, videos of Mexico and A-B Tech as our host. Vincenzo’s provided the delicious hors d’oeuvres.
Without question, the Yucatecan* Culinary Dinner prepared by the students at A-B Tech’s Culinary and Hospitality Management Departments was over the top! Completely sold out, everyone agreed it was one of the best dinners they had attended. Our special guest that night was the Mexican Consul General in Raleigh, Sr. Carlos Flores and his wife. After dinner, we were treated to an interesting and informative lecture by Dr. George Stuart on the Archeology of the northern Yucatan Peninsula, and again, the event was very well attended.
*Editor’s note: This is the correct word.
The tour to Cherokee and the Oconoluftee Village showed our Mexican friends how similar the two cultures are, and that awareness seemed to make our bonds even stronger. The Wine & Cheese & Christmas Trees party at Barbara & Dennis Hodgson’s home was a special night for all, complete with a sing-a- long that had everyone joining in.
Everyone was WOWED at the sight of Biltmore House, and delighted in the tour of the home. Of course, shopping was a necessity, as was the tour and sampling at the winery! Seven hours later, it was all we could do to tear them away and prepare for the upcoming party. The Halloween Hoot at Gwen & Carroll Hughes’ home was a TREAT for the delegation and committee members. Outrageous Costumes, an American barbecue, topped off with a bonfire and s’mores gave the delegates a taste of a good ol’ American Halloween party!
Finally, the group was able to tour the Basilica of St. Lawrence and attend the Spanish Mass, led by Father Morris Boyd. They were introduced, presented with gifts, and then treated to a reception with food and hot chocolate….it seemed the entire community turned out to welcome them! The evening ended with a wonderful dinner at Havana Restaurant and farewell gifts shared, along with laughter and sweet memories of time spent here and new friendships formed.
To be honest with you, the MOST exciting event for the group was a sighting of four bears as Russ picked up folks at Bonnie Habel’s house. They screamed and squealed like children, snapping photos, and could not stop talking about it!
These delegation visits give ASCI members an incredible opportunity to share cultures, learn new things and make lifelong friends. We encourage you to get involved with the Valladolid Committee in 2013!
ASCI’S BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS 2012 WINDOW AT OUR 33 PAGE OFFICES
A fantastic design and decorating job by Stephanie Smith and her crew!
OSOGBO COMMITTEE GRANT REPORT
The Asheville Sister Cities, Osogbo Committee is currently finishing one grant project and is embarking on another. The projects are initiated and administered by Sister Cities International. The projects are designed to alleviate poverty and improve health in African Sister Cities.
The African Urban Poverty Alleviation Program (AUPAP) has finished digging twenty boreholes (wells) in Osogbo, Nigeria, that provide clean, accessible drinking water to its residents. Eric Gant will travel to Osogbo, Nigeria this December, to complete a final report.
The Sino-African Initiative (SAI) will upgrade two existing maternity clinics so that better care can be given to their patients. The unique feature of this project is that an African, Asian, and American Sister City must coordinate to bring about a successful conclusion. Add to that mixture two local governments in Osogbo, and you have quite a challenge. Wallace Bohanan and Britt Castañeda will be traveling to Nairobi, Kenya to receive training in assisting with this grant. They will be training with the delegates from Nigeria, China, and Raleigh, NC.
Asheville, North Carolina has worked with Wilmington, Delaware to successfully complete the AUPAP Project. We are currently working with Osogbo, Nigeria; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Xiangyang, China to successfully complete the SAI Project. Raleigh is the Sister City of Xiangyang.
The completed project was funded at $115,000. The current project is funded at $100,000. The Asheville Sister Cities Osogbo Committee was one of only four Sister Cities to successfully complete the AUPAP Project. The Asheville-Raleigh team is one of only three recipients Sister Cities International selected in 2012 to receive the SAI Grant.
Scenes from the annual Osun Festival:
ASCI CALENDAR OF COMMITTEE ACTIVITIES
- ASCI Board Meeting: 2nd Thursday of each month – 5:30 pm, 33 Page Ave. (in February, meeting date will change to the 3rd Thursday)
- San Cristóbal Committee: 3rd Tuesday of each month – 5:30pm, 33 Page Ave.
- Saumur Committee: 4th Monday of each month – Contact Committee Chair for venue.
- Karpenisi Committee: Time and Date TBA
- Valladolid Committee: Last Wednesday of the month – 5:30pm, 33 Page Ave.
- Osogbo Committee: 3rd Tuesday of each month – 6:00 pm, 33 Page Ave.
- Vladikavkaz Committee: Time and Date TBA – Contact Committee Chair.
If you have a particular interest in a committee, please email the chairperson to confirm time & place. If you have not paid your dues, please contact Marylyn Seyler at [email protected].
WELCOME NEW MEMBERS!
- Elaine Kabat
- John Eric Gant
INVITING ALL FRANCOPHONES TO SPEAK YOUR MINDS!
French speakers at all levels are invited to participate in an hour of casual conversation each Thursday from 12:30 to 1:30 in the Sister Cities offices in downtown Asheville. After meeting for five years, the conversation group recently relocated to the Sister Cities offices at 33 Page Avenue. Each participant simply wants to practice and improve their French, so members are very supportive of one another. There are no rules or expectations except that everyone speaks only French–no matter how imperfectly-during the hour. Usually a native speaker is on hand to help out when someone just can’t find the right word. Participants are welcome to bring their lunches. Formore information, contact Phyllis Stiles at 828-545-4282 or email to [email protected].