It’s Almost Party Time…



There’s something magical about the organic rhythm of an African drum beat that forces you to dance. We were taking a stroll down Hawthorne Avenue in Southeast Portland and became entranced by a street performance connected to Hawthorne Day. Young and old alike were gathered on the street corner, held captive by the group’s musical powers–and it got us really excited for the Africa Bridge Harvest Gala coming up on August 29th.

We aren’t the only ones ready to feast on Charles Stilwell + Devil’s Food Catering’s African-infused delectables, move to the soulful sounds of Obo Addy and Sébé Kan and get inspired by Africa Bridge founder, Barry Childs, and The Nike Foundation’s managing director, Lisa MacCallum. Our friends at ReTree International— partner to Africa Bridge and local crusader against deforestation worldwide–are pretty stoked as well. We wanted to share some of the words ReTree’s Ed Buursma wrote about why ReTree International supports the work Africa Bridge does in Tanzania and why we all should too.

Dear Friends,

“As you probably know, ReTree has been involved in an annual tree planting program in Tanzania since 2005.  Our partner in this effort is an organization called Africa Bridge, which is headquartered right here in West Linn.

In 2005 AB president Barry Childs invited ReTree to begin a tree planting program in the villages in SW Tanzania where Africa Bridge was active in trying to improve the lives of the people there, particularly the children. Not only were they struggling with the effects of poverty, but they were dealing with the impacts of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which has ravaged families and left many children orphaned due to the high rates of this disease.  AB has worked hard with the people there and made tremendous strides in all areas- health, education, economy, agriculture, etc.

When Africa Bridge arrived less than 50% of the children in the Rungwe district were in school; now over 90% attend. Farming cooperatives have improved agricultural and economic conditions.  Clean water sources have been developed and a new medical dispensary is being finished; just a few examples of their work.  What they have done there has been impressive and most importantly, rather than imposing solutions, AB has involved the local population in developing and implementing solutions to these problems.  The locals have enthusiastically embraced this partnership.  ReTree’s part of this effort has been to develop a tree planting program with schoolchildren and last January we completed our 4th annual planting project.  I can personally attest to the good work that AB has done in Tanzania having travelled there with my family twice in recent years to participate in the tree planting and I’ve witnessed what is happening.

Obviously work like this requires funding and both Africa Bridge and ReTree have been generously supported over the years by folks like yourselves.  On August 29 Africa Bridge is hosting a Gala, or Ngoma, to celebrate their work there and to raise funds to continue these efforts.  Please share [the details] with anyone you know who may be interested.  I urge you all to consider attending this wonderful event so AB can continue doing the incredible work they have been so successful with.  As I said, I have seen first hand what has been accomplished and it’s truly impressive.  It’s so important in these tough economic times to keep this vital work going.  And this sounds like a great end-of-the-summer party!”

Ed Buursma

ReTree International

Join us for a night of festive celebration and inspiring dialogue on how to uplift humanity out of poverty–one child at a time. The Africa Bridge Harvest Gala takes place Saturday, August 29th, at 5:00pm on Nelson Farms, Sauvie Island. Visit to get your tickets today!

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