| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

East Africa culture explored at Elfinwild church camp

Wednesday, July 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Participants of the inaugural Cultural Discovery in Christ Camp at Elfinwild Presbyterian Church took a trip to the other side of the world last week to discover music, food and worship in Africa.

Elfinwild Presbyterian Church hosted the new camp to give children in grades one through six the opportunity to explore different cultures, which this year focused on countries in East Africa.

Participants learned songs in the native languages of Kenya, Zimbabwe and Malawi as well as tried foods traditional to each country. They also learned how drumming is incorporated into worship services in the region's churches.

“There are different ways to worship, so in order to find those ways we're focusing on East Africa,” said Bethany Harbaugh, children's pastor at Elfinwild Presbyterian. “It doesn't always look like it does at our church on Sunday mornings.”

Anna Meyer, 11, of Fox Chapel said she learned that in East Africa worship can include song, yelling or drumming — even during funerals.

Camp participants had the opportunity to try their hand at playing African drums when Bryan Fazio, of New Brighton, visited the camp last week to introduce conga and djembe drums as well as facilitate a drum circle. Throughout the week, the camp participants also worked to create and decorate their own djembe style drum.

Native East Africans or people who have lived in one of the East African countries came each day to talk to the camp participants about life in Africa and to share some of the traditional foods.

“The Kenyan pancake things (chipati mayai) were really good,” said Peter Lesnett, 10, of Shaler Township, as he looked for seconds of the biscuits served from Zimbabwe.

Elfinwild staff is working to expand the camp by bringing in local professionals to lead camp sessions and hopes next year it will attract more participants to explore cultural aspects in a Christian environment.

At the conclusion of the camp, participants shared their lessons with the Elfinwild congregation last Sunday by sharing the African songs they learned and leading the service with a drum circle while inviting churchgoers to join them on musical shakers participants made during the camp.

“There are different people in Africa that worship different ways than us,” Virginia Lesnett, 10, of Shaler. “We're doing the same thing, but they're doing it differently.”

Bethany Hofstetter is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-772-6364 or




Show commenting policy

Most-Read North Hills

  1. New Shaler North Hills Library program makes participants smile
  2. Marshall Mangler features running, bike races on North Park trails
  3. Pine-Richland pushes up final day of classes to June 5
  4. Hampton event to look for middle ground, discuss ‘Gun Safety in a Free Society’
  5. Grandmother’s illness leads Shaler Area student to join cancer fight
  6. McCandless library offers chance to ‘Meet Our Local Authors’
  7. Gala in Hampton to raise money for scholarship program
  8. Spaghetti dinner to benefit West Deer boy with rare condition
  9. Hampton seeks input on off-road vehicle rules
  10. North Hills assistant superintendents get raises with extended contracts
  11. North Hills Rock Orchestra performs to a different beat
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.