Making Personal Connections

The beauty of Paramount Chief Caulker’s recent US trip was how many person-to-person connections he made. You couldn’t help but feel the connection when Chief talked earnestly of the small village communities he’s working to transform with education and income-producing fruit orchards.

Sierra Leone was no longer a strange and distant land. It was one of girls excitedly going to secondary school for the first time and people planting home-grown trees to improve their lives and protect their environment.

Chief Caulker was able to connect with Americans in five states and the District of Columbia, sharing his personal stories of Bumpeh Chiefdom’s difficult life and his message of hope and hard work. 20160414_215258

Sherbro Foundation especially appreciated making connections with the Sierra Leone community in the US.

Who knew there is a Sierra Leone Group of Cincinnati with a Facebook page? Page organizer Hashim Williams 20160414_214742found my invitation message and brought a group to Chief’s April 6th presentation.

Mr. Michael Foday of the group then extended his and wife Evelyn’s hospitality with a dinner of Sierra Leone food at their home. He and a number of invited guests generously gave their support for the Chief’s Bumpeh Chiefdom programs. (Above L to R, Sanussi Janneh, Arlene Golembiewski, Chief Caulker, Hashim Williams, Michael Foday)

We started the evening as new acquaintances, and left feeling bonded as friends. Chief Caulker poured libation on Mr. Foday’s doorstep (left) in appreciation of the new friendships forged that evening.

Susan and Jim Robinson (below left)  hosted a reception in their home so people like Pam Dixon (far left) could talk with Chief Caulker firsthand. Winona McNeil (below right), Cincinnati Chapter President of The Links, a professional women’s society, joined in meeting the Chief.

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20160330_104104Sherbro Foundation Board Members Arlene Golembiewski and Steve Papelian, left, are former Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Rotifunk, Chief Caulker’s hometown. They reminisced with Chief on their life-changing experience at the steps of the University of Michigan Union, where then-presidential candidate John Kennedy first presented his new concept of the Peace Corps in 1960. The 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps was commemorated at Ann Arbor’s U-M Union with this historic marker, depicting President Kennedy’s speech.

No visit to Michigan would be complete for Baby Boomers without a trip to Detroit and the Motown Museum.  Chief Caulker, a big Motown fan, enjoyed reliving the soundtrack of his youth with Sherbro Foundation Board Director Cheryl Farmer.

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