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Petawawa Grannies prepare for our annual GranAfrican dinner on Sunday, April 10

By Hilda Young

Submitted photo
This panelled stained glass design with candle behind it created by Judy Cummings will be up for grabs as part of the silent auction at the Petawawa Grannies GranAfrican dinner on April 10.

Submitted photo This panelled stained glass design with candle behind it created by Judy Cummings will be up for grabs as part of the silent auction at the Petawawa Grannies GranAfrican dinner on April 10.

The Petawawa Grannies are eagerly preparing for our annual spring event: the African evening at the Petawawa Legion. The goal is to have fun while raising funds to help the Grandmothers of Africa raising children orphaned by the AIDS/HIV epidemic.

Our group of grannies, grand others, spouses and want-to-be grannies have the event planned down to the last detail. Our first priority is to book the Petawawa Legion. We have a great working relationship with two members of the Ladies Auxiliary: Zita Welsh and Lee MacDonald and the caretaker Gord. The legion ladies help in the kitchen doing dishes, showing us how to work the ovens.

Next to confirm the entertainment. Many of our regulars such as Julie McBride, who brings her grandchildren, ask for the Wula drummers. The Wula drummers are a group of amateur drummers led by Jean Brereton of Golden Lake. The drums are African and the participants come from all over Renfrew County. We enjoy listening to them play a variety of music. Jean usually asks members of the audience to participate and there is usually one or two line-dancing events. Most people join in the fun!

Next, to confirm our MC: Barbara Clarke, who is multi-talented with her musical abilities and skill of upselling, is a constant hit. The other talented duo of Hellen and Tom was confirmed. Next step, to contact the group of volunteers and check on their availability for the date. It is a go. Publicity and planning continues as we contact local business for their support. Glen MacGillivray of Glenergy usually donates his African flags for our use.

Jackie Patterson from Pembroke comes every year for the food. This year she also booked two extra tickets to share the enjoyment.

Our setup includes co-operation of many people. Patricia Elford uses her creative talents to symbolize an African family: which she created, for the most part, out of recycled items. She is busy creating families of two for our 14 tables of 10.

Our menu was suggested by the Stephen Lewis Foundation five years ago. We have changed to accommodate our guests. As some of our members have various allergies we have created items such as gluten-free cakes to accommodate them. There is a variety of food such as: African salad (romaine lettuce and Mandarins), steamed rice, Mboga Kitoweao (Vegetarian Stew), Collard Greens, Maharage (African Black-eyed Peas), Chicken Joloff (chicken and ham stew), Grilled Chicken Coconut, Grilled vegetables, Baboti (Beef Curry), Ethiopian Beef Curry (with Berbere) Mbatab (Sweet Potato biscuits), Pumpkin Sheet cake, Chocolate cake, and lots of fresh fruit. Coffee and tea are also available. For those who prefer alcoholic beverages with their meal, the bar is open.

The silent auction table run by Jean Ostrom is a fun place to shop. Donations from various businesses and members of the community include massages from Pembroke Massage Therapy, a round of golf for four from Petawawa Golf and Country Club, a photo shoot by Holst Photography, family heirlooms, costume jewelry, gift certificates from The River Club. The market sales tables are also filled with appealing items—some old favourites, some new, including at least one Judy Cumming stained glass piece.

The Petawawa Grannies are fortunate to have members with a variety of talents who give their heart and soul to the organization. They would love to share the evening with you. This year we have a new supporter, Renata Boulanger, who is originally from Rwanda.

Tickets are available by reserving or at the door. Contact Jean Ostrom at 613-687-2053 or, Esther Gaudet at 613-732-4984 or or Hilda Young at 613-687-1476 or

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