Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002 Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002
Sandpoint Magazine

Sandpoint Magazine Winter 2002

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Above, the gallery inside Global Village is filled with African artifacts, photos and crafts. Right, owner Tina Friedman poses with her dog, Kelsi, who she calls the “official greeter.” Photos by Ernie Hawks
Global Village brings world cultures home

Global Village International Cultural Center opened near Sandpoint last November, but it started as a dream Tina Friedman had while traveling in Africa in 1995. In the middle of her trip, she came down with malaria and took two months to recuperate – that’s when she visualized a center to tell the Africans’ story.

The first center was in a temporary location in the Bonner Mall for a month in 1997; close to 1,000 children came on school tours. She was dismayed to find some people feared coming to Sandpoint. “I felt if there’s a fear, we really need to educate kids. I wanted them to see diversity in a powerful way,” Friedman said. For the tours, she organized performances, speakers and slide shows, raising $3,000 for the village in Zimbabwe where she had stayed with a Tongan tribe.

Returning to Africa in 1999, Friedman delivered cash, medical supplies and clothing, all from local donations, to that Tongan tribe. Once again, she opened a center upon her return in a temporary location on Cedar Street for two months, hosting about 1,700 students on school tours. She shared stories about what daily life is like in an African village, and children looked at photographs, examined artifacts and played African instruments.

Today the permanent center is located 1 mile south of the Long Bridge on Highway 95 in an open, airy building. On display is an impressive exhibit of photographs of African people taken by Friedman on her travels there. Besides artifacts from remote villages, there are handmade arts and crafts for sale: drums, masks, sculptures, baskets, mud cloths with stories painted on them and more.

“My heart is still in Africa,” Friedman says. “Everywhere in Africa there is need.” And Global Village is her way to show love and support for tribes in Africa, as net proceeds will support education there.

Global Village is open free to the public Tuesday through Saturday or for tours by appointment; phone (208) 255-7207.

– Billie Jean Plaster

Summer 2003

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