Laura Wiens, The Triplicate

Ethnic dinner aids outreach to Ethiopia

Friday will mark the third annual "Taste of Africa" benefit dinner for the Atse Zeryacob School in Debre Birhan, Ethiopia.

Doors open at 5 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 359 H St., Crescent City.

There'll be both silent and live auctions with buy-it-now opportunities, and a market with African-inspired art, afghans and quilts. African baskets filled with African crafts, foods and artwork will be auctioned off, and African jewelry sold from $5 and up.

In 2010, Dave Zuber, a former principal of the Bar-O Boys Ranch, visited the school during a Rotary International-sponsored humanitarian trip to Ethiopia as part of a polio immunization team.

During the visit, he was "shocked at the lack of modern equipment," he said. "They were using slates to write on. Three kids shared a bench. It was pretty rudimentary."

But what struck him most was that many of its 1,500 students were hearing impaired, vision impaired or had a learning disability. "They were trying to make do with so little."

Back home in Crescent City, Zuber gave a presentation at a Rotary Club meeting and told his audience, "We should try to do something for this school."

A committee was formed, and by the following year the first "Taste of Africa" benefit was held.

Now in its third year, "Taste of Africa" features a sampler of African cuisine: flat bread and hummus, doro wat (Ethiopian chicken), bobotie (African casserole), spring salad, roast pepper salad, yellow rice and couscous.

Doro wat is a slow-cooked chicken dish simmered in a tomato sauce with mild seasoning. Bobotie is a meat casserole with beef, curry and other spices, raisins, apple pieces, apricots and almonds, topped off with a custard.

"It's very good," said Zuber, "It's one of my favorites."

The menu is catered by the Bar-O Culinary Program. "They do a wonderful job," he said. "Everyone just seems to rave about it."

Since the event started, enough funds have been raised to purchase a couple computers for the school, Internet service, books for the library and athletic equipment.

Zuber said other than the local university, the school is the only place in the city that has Internet service.

"It's pretty remarkable," said Zuber. "It's made a huge impact on the school."

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for ages 5andndash;12. They can be purchased at Del Norte Office Supply or at the door.

For more information, call Zuber at 458-3404 or Barbara Williams at 458-3604.

Reach Laura Wiens at