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Tree of Mercy Dinner

African ChitengesIn southern Zambia a small hospital sits in the shade of a sycamore fig tree. A few years ago this hospital was just a dream.  Today the dream is a reality, partly due to funds raised at a dinner held each fall.  Every dollar raised at the annual Tree of Mercy dinner has the potential to change the life of a person that needs medical care.  Somehow I have inherited the job of planning table decorations for the event, and it brings out the penny pincher in me.  Here is a look at some of the elements we used on our tables this yearChitenge Collage

I own a ridiculous number of these African chitenges.  My daughter and I always bring back a few of these multipurpose 2 meter lengths of fabric from our annual trip in July.  Since many Zambian women own only one chitenge, it feels a bit embarassing to admit to owning so many of them.  Closeup of African Chitenges

 Tree slices were generously donated by Thornton’s Tree Service.  I love the texture and patterns of the wood.

Tree Slices

Trees Slice Collage

Mums provided some low-cost color to the tables.

Assorted Mums


Purple Mums in a Cart

Foliage and berries from the tree outside my bedroom window added texture and interest to the potted mums.

Berries on Tree

Finished them with sage from my kitchen garden, twigs from the plum tree in my backyard, and a little rosemary added here and there

mum centerpiece

I don’t believe any of these little tablescapes would win a floral-arrangement award, but the overall effect was colorful, and dollars spent were minimal.

yellow mums

purple mums


A lot of tables, not a lot of money spent. 

Tree Slice Centerpieces

The important part of the evening was not the decorations on the 43 tables, but the caring people sitting around the tables.  These people spent their evening hearing about ways they could help people they have never met in a country far away, and they responded with great generosity.  Now that is a beautiful way to decorate a room!

One Comment

  1. Posted 11 Jan ’11 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    Wow! Genius…and fragrant…and beautiful. You’re my hero!

One Trackback

  1. By A Hug for My Head on 25 Jul ’11 at 11:06 pm

    [...] thin cotton African chitenge makes a great head [...]

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