One motto of the Friendship Force is — it’s all about faces, not places — but Nancy Lundstrom has been to a lot of places to see those faces. Lundstrom, of Des Moines, has visited Austria, Norway, China, Russia, Germany and other nations as part of the effort to, simply, spread friendship. Today (Tuesday) is the group’s World Friendship Day. Lundstrom, spokeswoman for the group, says they want to recognize other people in the world and to make the world a better place to live, saying, “A world of friends is a world of peace.” The Des Moines chapter of Friendship Force is holding a dinner tonight while other chapters across Iowa are sponsoring similar gatherings, coffees, pot lucks and buffet dinners. Lundstrom says her organization is different from Sister Cities and Sister States, for example, which work toward better civic or governmental relations. She says Friendship Force targets the big picture from a smaller scale. We go into other people’s homes for a week at a time and live like they do and learn how they go about their day, their work, the social issues and economic issues. She says you come away with wonderful experiences and friends that last a lifetime. Those hosts usually reverse the tables and come to visit you for a week to learn about your life. Lundstrom recently hosted a couple from the South American nation of Venezuela. She didn’t speak their language but was able to overcome the language barrier by charades, smiles and songs. Other Friendship Force chapters are located in: Ames, Atlantic, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids and Davenport. The club has 350 chapters in 41 states and 56 countries. For more information, surf to “www.friendshipforce.org”.
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