Thanks to Gary Muldoon and several of his family members, seven schools in Africa now have libraries.
Gary described how he began Books Are Power to the Waunakee Rotary Club at the April 20 meeting.
Gary’s wife’s sister’s son, Dr. Rob Koram, and his wife, Stephanie, began working in Africa in 2013. Gary gave some information about Africa, the second largest continent (Asia is the larges) and the second most populated.
There are 44 million people living in Kenya, the capital of which is Nairobi.
Gary said Kenya gained independence in 1963, so like many African countries, it is newly independent and still finding its way in the global economy.
Stephanie had told him about Valley View Academy, a school she admired but noticed had been falling apart. She raised $400,000 for the school to be rebuilt with a library and a computer room.
They began to plan for a library, thinking they would need books, shelves and a way to transport the items. They found the Rotary Books for the World. They also realized they would need a classification and lending system, and so Gary consulted Google and found a 211-page document titled “How to Set Up a Library in Africa.”
Gary sent the books through the company, LincTech, as other shipping methods had been foiled in the past. Rotary had sent a shipment which was held up in port for a bribe and ended up being auctioned off.
So Gary and his wife traveled to Nairobi, where the population is 500,000 within a 3-mile radius.
Valley View has 1,000 students attending. Its founder said the mission is to prevent kids from getting involved in child labor and crime. He told Gary that “books are power.”
Gary said the students applauded when the shipment arrived and had lots of pictures of avid readers.
In addition to the 17 boxes Gary had shipped, he and his wife brought 200 pounds of books along with them, mostly from Rotary Books for the World.
Gary also helped get the SOAR Kenya library up and running at a school that Rotarian Don Hoffman has helped support and develop.
“You guys have done a fantastic job helping this school These guys are really great. The teachers are really great,” Gary said.
Over the years, he has helped develop a pen pal program with kids in Kenya and in Cross Plains, establish computer labs at several schools and volunteered in finishing new libraries.
“Kids in Africa are just like our kids,” Gary said. “They have hopes and dreams and like to have fun.”
Other News:
–Todd Schmidt reported big news for the Waunakee library. The village now owns the land at the former Waunakee Alloy site on N. Madison Street to build a new library on.
–The Club received a thank you from the Waunakee Community Foundation for its $2,500 donation toward the sculpture planned at the high school.
–Bob Klostermann circulated a description of the small dishes available at the Drumlin Ridge Winery, where about 40 members are planning to meet on April 26.
Guests: ??
Visiting Rotarians: ???
Greeters: April 27, Sara Whitley and Phil Willems; May 4, Rich Wipperfurth and Brent Ziegler; May 11, Jim Ableidinger and Peggy Acker-Farber.