EAST AFRICAN SCHOOLS REUNION PICNIC -14th OCTOBER 2001

Mary-Jean Brill (Allen -- " Loreto Eldoret '63): I attended with my brother Bill Allen (ex St Michaels Soni, Tanzania and St Michaels & St Georges Iringa, Tanzania). My husband Sandy and our daughter Judith (ex-Loreto Coorparoo, Brisbane Qld) joined us as did Bill's wife Amanda - she packs a wonderful picnic! (group photo).

The reunion was held in Lane Cove National Park - a lovely rugged park (reminiscent of E.A.) right in the middle of Sydney with the Lane Cove River running right past the "spot" where we all gathered. Dave Lichtenstein (ex Hill School and Duko) had organised the weather and the BBQ shed - which we were to share with a very large Armenian family celebrating a 32nd birthday - more about them later.

Dave had had 54 former Hill Schoolians (64-ers) at the dinner cruise on the harbour the night before (as part of their inaugural world-wide reunion) and a successful night was had by all. So successful in fact that not all made it to the picnic/BBQ (to which all East African Schools' folk had been invited) on Sunday!! Dave had sheets of sticky labels - each sheet printed up with the appropriate SCHOOL BADGES!! That made life easy for everyone - well done Dave! As we had to do was add our name and year then look for similar badges!! I was one of 4 LOGs attending - I borrowed a camera to take a few photos only!!

Margaret Knowlden (Boase) (her sister is Sister Pauline at Loreto, Mwanza, Tanzania and was at Loreto Eldoret when I was - she was Sister /Mother Joseph back in the early '60's!) - Margaret was with her husband - see photo - and it was lovely to hear all about her last visit to East Africa and of my old home town Mwanza.

Then there was Jan Cheal (Moen) - see 2nd photo - who had come all the way from Northern Ireland! What a safari? Jan had been to Hill School and Highlands School, Eldoret as well as Loreto Mombasa. Another young lady - ex-Msongari Vivien Harradine (Moore) and her parents (Aussies but had been in Kenya during 1970 - 1983). Vivien assures me that it is even very different now from when she was over there!

My brother Bill and I had lots of fun - as did everyone - meeting "new friends", and we even met Ted Downer - whose parents were neighbours of our parents at Sao Hill, near Iringa. Lots of old friendships were renewed.

Dave would have to have been pleased with the turn out - someone came from Seattle (Corrado di Gennaro ex Kampala Primary, Hill School, Duko and ex St Marys), another from Switzerland with an ex-Hill School staff member (Trevor Watson) arriving from Thailand and points around Australia and New Zealand. One very innovative lady (Karin Blowers -- " nee Drews ex Arusha Primary and Boma from Brisbane), wore a "Tusker Beer" T-shirt, came round offering home-made samosas to everyone. They were delicious. There was "mahindi", "biltong" and of course Tusker beer and real genuine "chai" to wash it all down - along with the superb picnics and BBQs that people had. There were even a couple of genuine fly whisks (Jomo style) to keep away the flies.

About those Armenians - there were almost as many of them as there were East Africans! Their patriarch - a little old man in very long shorts - very expressive features - went around sharing their tea, their kebabs, Armenian sausages and cake - reminiscent of a humorous silent movie - he hardly spoke a word of English and certainly no Swahili - but he bridged the communication gap. They carried on celebrating with their music and dancing (no ngomas though!).

I do apologise for not knowing everyone's names - you'll have to get in touch with Dave Lichtenstein for those. It was an excellent day - one to remember! Wish you could have been there! (14-11-01). A similar All East African Schools' picnic (following the inaugural Sydney Hill School dinner reunion the previous night) had been held at the same spot on July 2 2000.

My thanks to Mary-Jean Brill for the write up (Dave Lichtenstein):  Below are few more photos and names:

Brandon Brooksbank (right) from Perth catches up with two of his Mitchell House (Duko) contemporaries residing on the East Coast:  John Blackwell (left) and Rob Choppin (right)

L-r Bill Allen, Alan Francis, Dave Lichtenstein, Roy Cordell, Brian Houlton.  Sitting Margaret Chamberlain, Judy Maughan & Carol Cordell

L-r Brian Houlton, Judy Houlton, Margaret Chamberlain, George Chamberlain, Carol Cordell, Dave Lichtenstein & Roy Cordell

L-r Andy Vesey-Wells, John Blackwell, Alan Francis, Dave Lichtenstein, Roy Cordell, Brian Houlton, Margaret Chamberlain, Margaret Knowlden & Judy Houlton

Visible: John Blackwell, Ben Christie, Brian Turner, Dorothy Wright

Recognisable: Daphne Francis, Pat Klynsmith

John Wynn-Jones, Tim Wynn-Jones, Mike Lazar, John’s partner, Willa Wynn-Jones, Karin Blowers

That’s what it is like mingi Wa-East Africans

I recognise the three Old Yorkists in the rear: Andrew Barnett, Brandon Brooksbank & Corrado di Gennaro

Sitting: Trevor Watson (left) with Linde Watson (sitting) with their son and/or daughter?  Both former Hill School, Eldoret teachers.  Looking on Steve Taylor & Ben Christie with Brian Turner with his back to us

I recognise Brian Adam, “Small Downer”, Keith Wright (in front), Dorothy Wright, Mike Lazar, Eve Christie, Rose Ann Lichtenstein & Penny Brooksbank (at the back)

Again a scene of the Wa-East Africans relaxing at the picnic

Two generations of Loreto Girls with proud husband/father

If you want to savour some of the atmosphere on that day please point your Web Browser to http://eastafricans.org/picnics/2000

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