When companies send employees abroad, their families usually go with them. After having lived abroad and understanding the difficulty of living in a country where everything is foreign, often including the language, three wives who had returned to the United State had a plan. They wanted to help the wives coming to this country who had to manage households and children, often with no idea of what was available, and often not knowing the language. These three, Judy Clay, Diana Leitch and Veronica Eid formed the International Women’s Club in 1988. Knowing what it was like to suddenly be in a foreign country, they wanted to provide support and information about life in the United States for newcomers, but also to provide multi-cultural enrichment for the American members.
Anyone may join the IWC, and it is about half Americans and half foreigners. There was obviously a need for the group as the club began to expand rapidly. Today it has more than 200 members from more than 50 countries.
Newcomers to a foreign country are often lonely. Not allowed to have a job, in this country the wives become isolated. The club has a doughnut and coffee gathering every Wednesday and Thursday morning from 9 a.m. to noon at St. Joseph’s on the Brandywine September through May. They hold classes, the most popular being English, taught by the Americans, but there are many different classes. All classes are free as they are taught by the members. They include Japanese, paper crafts, gardening, crafts, exercise etc.
They also have lectures, tour of nearby historic places of interest and helpful hints on thing like how to get a driver’s license and where the hospitals are located
Members of the club live in Wilmington and the area around it. The membership is divided geographically into four sections, each with a leader. The four areas are Wilmington (north and central), West End (Hockessin and Newark) West Chester/ Chadds Ford and Kennett Square/Landenberg/Avondale. If someone needs help, the leader finds the most logical person who is nearby to help. One woman from France needed to get her husband to the hospital quickly and was not sure her English was good enough to explain things at the hospital. The leader was able to put her in touch with an American who taught French, who not only showed up but went with her to the hospital. When someone is sick, the members bring food and help however they can.
I attended a luncheon recently where the members brought a dish typical of their home country. It was a feast for an emperor. Many of the ladies wore costumes from their home countries, ranging from saris to cowboy hats. I sat at a table two Germans, two Americans and a nurse from the small African country of Lesotho, whose son just happens to be a Rhodes Scholar. It is a fascinating group of ladies.
Anyone is welcome to join the club. Dues are $55. For information go to www.iwcdelaware.
This Saturday is NanoDay at the Delaware Museum of Natural History from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. “Nano” is the scientific term for one-billionth, from the Greek meaning “dwarf.” Family friendly activities from making bracelets from color changing beads to moving air molecules to spin a pinwheel await visitors. This is part of a nationwide festival of educational programs about nano-scale science.
The Spring Yard Sale at the Chadds Ford Historical Society, to be held on Saturday, April 20 from 8 a.m. to noon, would be delighted for any of your donations. Donations will be accepted on Saturdays, April 6, from 2 to 3 p.m. and April 13 from 1 to 3 p.m.
Last week, thanks to more than 700 volunteers who gathered for the 25th Annual Red Clay Valley Cleanup, in four hours they collected 13 tons of trash. This was enough to fill four 30-cubic yard dumpsters, including one that was nothing but tires. They covered 65 miles of streams and roads in Delaware and Pennsylvania. Some of the school groups that participated were Brandywine Springs School, Kennett High School Honor Society and Unionville High School Interact Club. Wouldn’t you like to know just who the people are who keep trashing the place?
The Slavic band Sviraj is one of the best known Slavic bands in the United States. The musicians are all childhood friends of Croatian and Serbian extraction who grew up in Steelton. They will be at the Unionville High School on Saturday, April 13, at 8 p.m. The word Sviraj, pronounced sveerye with a rolled r means “Play on” and is traditionally shouted as encouragement when a tamburitzan musician plays particularly well. Hadley Memorial Fund Concerts are free and open to the public.
An opening reception at the Longwood Art Gallery for “Solo Artist Show” by artist Mary Holton will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on this Friday, April 6. Holton paints with a freedom typical of Cape Cod artists. The show will run through April 30.
The Howard Pyle Studios, 1305 N. Franklin St., Wilmington, will have opening reception on Friday, April 5, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. during Art on the Town, and Sunday, April 7, from 2 to 5 p.m. with the artists. The artists showing are Anna Bellenger, Carol Hixon, Kathleen M. Moore and Aileen Mumford.
Penn State Extension will hold an open house this Saturday, April 6, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their Chester County 4-H Center, 1841 Horseshoe Pike, and Honeybrook. Staff members will present talks on gardening, youth development, work and career and agriculture. For more information call 610-696-3500.
The First State Ballet Theatre will present “A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream” at the Grand Opera House on Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 14, at 2 p.m. It’s not midsummer yet, but this exciting production is FSBT’s contribution to Delaware’s Year of the Bard Festival.
Based on the movie of the same name, this play has Elle Woods following her boyfriend to Harvard Law School, much to his surprise and chagrin. This high energy, fun musical will be at the New Candlelight Theatre April 5 to May 19. For reservations call 302- 475-2313.
The Candlelight Theatre in Arden has lined up an all female trio of outstanding nationally known comediennes on April 18. The featured comediennes are Joanne Filan, Julia Scotti and Mary Raszinski. A $25 ticket includes a light buffet. For tickets call 302-475-2313.
This winner of six Tony Awards and two Grammy Awards tells the story of a 1960s girl singing group called The Dreams inspired by the career of Diana Ross and The Supremes. The show will be at the DuPont Theatre April 2 to 7. For tickets call 302-302-656-4401.
The hilariously funny musical “Sister Act,” made famous by Whoopie Goldberg, will be at the Academy of Music April 2 to 7. In the story when Delores Van Cartier witnesses a crime, the feds hide her in a convent, under the suspicious watch of the mother superior. Delores uses her background in popular music to get the nun’s chorus into the modern age. For tickets call the Kimmel Center at 215-893-1955.
The enchanting musical “South Pacific” by Rogers and Hammerstein will be at the Delaware Theatre Co. April 10 to May 5. With such lovely songs as “Some Enchanted Evening” mixed with some tough problems in the Pacific during World War II, this is a timeless classic. For tickets call 302-594-1104.
Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Suzan-Lori Parks has penned a remarkable story -- “The American Play and Other American Cousins” -- about an African American who looks just like Abraham Lincoln who can be shot by John Wilkes Booth for a small fee. When he disappears his wife and son go in search of him. This play will be at Plays & Players, 1714 Delancey Place, Philadelphia. The play will run from April 4 to 21. For tickets call 8oo-595-4849.
“Diary of a Worm, a Spider and a Fly:” Doreen Cronin’s popular children’s books come to life in this hour long musical at the Walnut Street Theatre (825 Walnut St.). Performances will be April 5, 11 and 12 at 10:30 a.m. and April 6, 13 at 11 a.m. For tickets call 2115-574-3550.
Spinto Band will have its first Delaware concert after their recent release of its new LP at the Arden Gild Hall on Saturday, April 6, at 8 p.m. The opener will be “Buried Beds from Philly.” For more information go to www.ardenconcerts.com.
FILM –“The Great Waldo Pepper” – Robert Redford as a bi-plane pilot who missed World War I takes up barnstorming and later a movie career trying to win the glory he missed. He eventually gets a part in a film a dog fights in the Great War. Thursday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m.
Caryl Huffaker lives in Kennett Township.