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Zieglers document missionary trip at senior center

Dressed in traditional African garb, Gus Ziegler displayed a collection of artifacts from his time spent in Africa, including the skull of a lion he hunted. Robert Williams/FOCUS

Gus Ziegler, along with his wife Betty, chronicled the couple’s missionary trip over nine rainy seasons in Africa for a group of seniors at the Perham Senior Center last Wednesday.

Ziegler presented a slideshow depicting photographs of life in Senegal and displayed cultural artifacts collected from the family’s time spent overseas.

“When we got there, it was absolutely depressing,” Ziegler said. “How are we going to live out here? The roosters crowed; the donkeys bayed; the dogs barked and the babies cried. That was our first day.”

Throughout the Ziegler’s presentation, it was apparent how much the couple came to enjoy their work in Africa, where they taught language and provided a Christian presence in a mostly Muslim area of the world.

The Zieglers, who live in Vergas, brought their children along. During the school year, they were separated from the kids by 200 miles. They would meet once a month, as the children stayed in dormitories while attending school away from where the couple lived.

The Ziegler’s children finished their schooling back at home at Frazee-Vergas High School.

Gus was also an avid hunter while in Africa, and last Wednesday he displayed a warthog and other trophies on the outside wall of Ma’s Little Red Barn, attracting the attention of passersby.  He has a large collection of trophies at his home, including a mounted giraffe head.

Ziegler is a regular pinochle player at the Perham Senior Center, which is open Monday through Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“We’d like to invite people to stop by for a visit, play cards and have a cup of coffee,” Senior Center Director Carol Peeters said.

The senior center is located inside Ma’s Little Red Barn at 301 Main Street.

For more information on happenings at the senior center, call 218-346-2262.

Robert Williams, Perham Focus

Robert Williams

Robert is the Sports Editor of the Detroit Lakes Tribune. Williams worked prior as the Sports Editor in Perham for the Focus, a Forum Communications newspaper, from 2010-14. 

(218) 844-1442