Seniors hear about African excursion at congregate dining session in Clifford

CLIFFORD – Seniors’ Centre for Excellence program coordinator Helen Edwards welcomed 50 people to the congregate dining program on July 19 at Knox United Church in Clifford.

She gave a special welcome to Robert Harris from Bedfordshire, England who was visiting his sister Doris Jaunzemis and brothers Brian and Ray and their wives Barbara and Rose and families.

Volunteer Mary Cain said grace before Donna Gingrich served the meal of lasagna, broccoli cauliflower salad, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and lemon blueberry trifle.

Professional photographer Mark Garbutt of Acton explored nature in the wilds of Africa, where he awoke early to capture the rising sun and creatures stirring near the camp.

Garbutt started his presentation on Africa via Tanzania, Kenya, Zambia, Botswana and Madagascar with the sights and sounds of lemurs jumping, dancing, and calling to each other, chameleons in camouflage, and a red skinned tomato frog basking in the sun.

Labourers pulled mud from the river to kiln-dry into bricks and a lady cooked dinner by candle light illuminating the third world extreme way of life. At a private game reserve, white and black rhinos moved freely among the elephants, fish eagles, impalas, cheetahs, storks, crested eagles, and a most beautiful bird – a lilac-breasted roller. In Namibia, tourists climbed challenging sand dunes, walking past free-standing petrified trees to find lush green fields filled with flourishing flowers. Lions sipped from shallow water holes, zebras played, and painted dogs shared a meal.

Garbutt captured poignant moments between a matriarchal family of elephants, 80-year-old tusked elephants, love birds, Goliath herons, mountain gorillas, and even a bat-eared fox and dwarf mongoose.

Members of a Maasai tribe adorned in tribal dress danced, thankful for the chance to rest after their daily 26 mile cattle drive. Seeing thousands of animals migrate following the food source reaching chaotic water crossings filled with crocodiles awaiting their food source was a sight to behold.

Garbutt brought  food and supplies to an orphanage he supports. He gave a young man a camera, mentored him, and five years later, the young man is employed at a newspaper. Garbutt hosts tours of Africa with six to eight guests. They travel the terrain protected in trucks, discover the beauty of the dark continent, and shop for local batiking and beadwork. At day’s end, the setting sun provides the perfect vista for surreal serene solitude. View more of Mark’s photography at or contact him at 416-819-8189.

The Seniors’ Centre for Excellence encourages participants to phone 519-638-1000 to sign up for the program held the third Friday of the month at Knox. The meal at noon is $12 and the presentation is free.