Making a difference mountains away 

Slide show, reggae and raffle raise funds for Namibia orphanage

Two Whistler leaders will deliver funds raised by the Whistler for Africe Slideshow to an African preschool and orphanage.
  • Two Whistler leaders will deliver funds raised by the Whistler for Africe Slideshow to an African preschool and orphanage.

By Nicole Fitzgerald

What: Whistler for Africa Slideshow

When: Tuesday, May 8, 8 p.m.

Where: Dusty’s Creekside

Admission: $5 donation

Sometimes the world’s problems feel so big, an individual dismisses their ability to help or to have any lasting impact on an issue that is literally continents away.

A group of 10 Whistlerites and ex-Whistlerites are traveling from all corners of the globe to Namibia, Africa where they will volunteer at an African preschool and orphanage for three weeks later this month.

“I always say Africa puts things back in perspective: they have so much less than we do, but their approach to life is so different,” said Kelly Mabey, one of this year’s leaders who has traveled to Africa three times, offering free dental work to Africans.

“They know how to live day to day and not spend money they don’t have. They appreciate small things in life. Community is huge there. People close to you, your neighbours, are a part of your family. It is refreshing to be a part of it.”

Mabey, along with Abbie Orpia, both members of the Whistler Church on the Mountain, invite Sea to Sky residents to become a part of it by hosting a Whistler For Africa Slideshow fundraising showcase on mountain life on Tuesday, May 8 at 8 p.m. at Dusty’s in Creekside. All proceeds will directly benefit a Namibia preschool and orphanage.

“We’ve been really blessed with how the community has pitched in with prizes and people contributing to the yard sale this weekend,” Mabey said. “I hope people come out of the slide show feeling like it is their (effort) and they have taken ownership and responsibility. They have a part in this, not just 10 people, but the community owns the project. We are representatives of Whistler.”

Kim Thompson and Jill Funk have organized a group of local photographers to share their love of mountain culture while raising awareness about life in Namibia.

Rich Prohaska, Jordan Manley, Toshi Kawano and Anastasia Chomlack will showcase their work. Prohaska is a certified mountain guide who led expeditions from the Antarctic to Zimbabwe. Manley is a Vancouver-based photographer with an obsession with Mother Nature in action. Chomlack is a Whistler-based family photographer and Kawano is a Pemberton sports action photographer whose images have graced the pages of Skier, Transworld Media and other Japanese publications.

The evening will kick off with a live performance from Kostaman with plenty of world-beat reggae to groove to. A raffle auction will also be interspersed between the slide shows.

“It’s kind of a Robin Hood moment for our community,” Orpia said. “We have so much. Some of us work a lot to live here, but we do have the means to take from that wealth and give to those in need.”

Admission is by a minimum donation of $5.

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