African Mandela Scholars Visit Small Town Iowa

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MANNING, Iowa- Twenty-five Mandela Scholars from the continent of Africa paid a visit on Thursday to the western Iowa town of Manning. The group has been on a six-week residence at Drake University.

“It’s a US state department grant that brings about 700 already successful young leaders from nations in Africa to the US to study at universities,” said Lance Noe, or Drake University. “Also to get out in the community and experience how the United States approaches community development.”

The concept was communicated through a project done in Manning. A group found they could obtain an antique German Hausbarn, which was disassembled and brought to Iowa. The group had to come up with a place to build this structure. It has since expanded and become a tourist draw in this Carroll County Community.

Coming to Iowa for me has been a life changer, because I’ve seen how the community works I’ve seen how the community collaborates,” said Jack Chimbetet, of Zimbabwe. “I’ve seen how people are able to do things together, and thats one thing if we could take back home to Zimbabwe.”

The group had lunch at Deb’s Corner Cafe in downtown Manning. On the menu: Thick hamburgers and corn on the cob, with cobbler for desert.

“When you hear about America you hear about the big cities,” said Doreen Noni, of Tanzania. I love Iowa, and the culture here is so rich, the people here are so kind, and accommodating, at the moment I landed here I felt like I was at home.”

Many in this group were impressed by the “can-do” attitude of Manning.

“Coming to small town Iowa it’s a big change, but I’m seeing the same things, I’m seeing innovation even if it’s a small town these people are so proud of their place,” said Chimbetet “Even the changes that Ron was showing us, how they want to build their place, they want to use their hands,they don’t stop with time, that’s so refreshing.”


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