May 20, 2010

Chestnut Hill Dining Guide

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Hiller changing lives in Africa
Girl abused, raped, orphaned: ‘Don’t forget me!’

Kitsie and Victo, who developed malaria when she was five months pregnant, went to see Dr Sam Mugundi, at the Soft Power Health Clinic (started in Uganda by a New York physician), for treatment. The other child (second from right) is Victo’s friend, Mary Nafungo.

The author, 68, is a long-time Chestnut Hiller who is currently living abroad.

Sponsoring a child’s secondary education has become a much more complex and, ultimately rewarding, adventure than I ever dreamed possible. On Valentine’s Day last year, I flew to Uganda to teach art at the vocational school that was started in the village of Bududa by Barbara Wybar, who lived on Rex Avenue in Chestnut Hill for many years and whose remarkable accomplishments have been chronicled in the pages of the Local. There I met Victo (Victoria) Nabutuwa, a 14-year-old 6th grader at the local school. I met Victo, who is now 15, walking on the road to her local elementary school. It has 900 kids in a remote, rural part of the country. The school has no food and no books.

Every afternoon, after class Victo appeared quietly with bananas or a carefully folded note written in English on lined binder paper: “Dear Katherine, I am so happy to meet you. You are my best friend in America. Do not forget me. God bless you and your children and your grandchildren. Your best friend in Uganda, Victo.”

Beauty more than skin deep at Erdenheim’s True Skin

They have a background in treating what goes inside the body, but two local residents are now concerning themselves with what is on the outside of the body instead.

With the recent opening of True Skin at 523 Bethlehem Pike in Erdenheim, West Meade Street resident Dawn Kalin and Wyncote resident Jacquee Rudy are turning their attention to the largest organ in the human body.

Sexy-voiced chef, food, beer-ific at Swift Half Pub

If Jessica O'Donnell ever gets tired of cooking for a living, she should be able to get a job at Verizon making those generic phone tapes that drive us crazy when we call a large corporation or government agency: “This is the XYZ Corporation. For the human resources department, push one. For accounting, push two. For public relations, push three. For questions about your bill, push four. To file a complaint about service, push five. To arrange a new payment schedule, push six. For more options, push seven.” (Has anyone on the planet ever been able to figure out what those “more options” are? I doubt it.)

Visit eight beautiful gardens in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill

Syd Carpenter’s property on the 6900 block of Greene Street has a stunning hillside garden surrounding an 1875 Mansard twin that thrives beneath mature maples.

A cluster of eight delightfully personal city gardens will be open to the public on Sunday, May 23, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in Mt. Airy and Chestnut Hill. This special tour has been organized as part of the Open Days Program of The Garden Conservancy, a national organization raising funds to preserve fine American gardens.

The spirit of community that joins these garden hosts is also special. The owners have chosen to share a portion of the proceeds with the Weaver’s Way Community Programs. Those who visit the gardens are also invited to explore the Co-op store on the corner of Greene and Carpenter. Other local shops that will provide refreshment for mind and body are The Big Blue Marble Bookstore and High Point Cafe. Access the area via Septa’s R8 line, the 23 Bus from Germantown Avenue, by bicycle, walking, or if you must, driving – but include friends! Admission to the gardens is through purchase of a special pass costing $30 that will permit entry to all eight gardens. The pass will be available the day of the tour at two of the gardens:  19 W. Willow Grove Ave. in Chestnut Hill and 6608 McCallum St. in Mt. Airy. The pass can be purchased in advance through the Garden Conservancy. The May 23 date is rain or shine (after all, gardens always are a pleasure to behold whether wet or dry!), and reservations are not required.  The Garden Conservancy organized the first Open Days Program in 1995 as a means of introducing the public to gardening, providing easy access to outstanding examples of design and horticultural practice, and proving that exceptional American gardens are still being created.


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