Sunset Rotary Club of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois (USA)
Paul S. Anderson and his wife, Noeli V. Anderson, are founders and charter members of the Sunset Rotary Club of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. Paul is also a past president of the club (2008/2009).
Weekly meetings are held Wednesdays from 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm in the fourth floor Community Room of Heartland Bank at 200 W. College Avenue, Normal, IL.
The club’s website at http://www.bnsunsetrotary.com includes weekly program information as well as project and fundraiser details.
The Sunset Rotary Club of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois, USA, in partnership with the Geneva, Illinois, USA Rotary Club and Nelspruit Rotary Club of Nelspruit, South Africa, designated the Demulani village in rural northeastern South Africa as the recipient of books, school supplies and educational materials.
In March 2001 five members of Sunset Rotary Club (Paul, Ed, Karla, Bob and Gary) visited Demulani and Miss Georgiana Kendall, a US Peace Corps volunteer, who informed them of the educational needs in her community. Indeed, most of the rooms in the schools were little more than empty shells. Since then, much has happened. Georgiana mobilized the community to build shelves for books to build a community library to serve all the schools in her area. The library will be based in one of the six creches Georgiana helped organize for pre-school children.
On Friday, July 20th, Paul and Noeli Anderson joined Billy Ras (member of the Nelspruit Rotary Club) drove a few hours from Nelspruit to Demulani to meet with Georgiana (see above picture by cameraman Simon Anderson) and representatives of the various schools who were waiting to receive the donations of books, writing utensils, and other instructional materials brought by Paul and Noeli for the six creches and several schools in that area.
When Paul, Noeli and Billy arrived, the ladies (school representatives) helped unload the three trunks, each weighing approximately 70 pounds (32 kg). The visitors watched in amazement as one of the ladies picked up a heavy suitcase and carried it on her head (it is common practice in Africa for the woman to carry heavy loads on their heads) – see the first photograph in the gallery below.
After Georgiana introduced the Rotarians, each in turn had a chance to say a few words, and presented the containers. The women sorted through the books with delight.
Once the representatives had a chance to look through the items they took the visitors to interact with a group of children in one of the classrooms. There they met, read to, and sang with the kids. Paul and Noeli made an attempt to greet them in their own language, Shangana. Their accents might have been off, but it was apparent that the kids understood after they replied.
Paul and Noeli stayed throughout much of the afternoon touring the community, the main elementary school, and the other crèches. The ladies were very happy to show them their facilities and told them much about how they teach and get along with the minimal amount of resources they have. They even took the time to teach Paul and Noeli’s son, Simon, how to count to ten and other phrases in Shangana. (Simon picked up on the pronunciation and accent much quicker than his father). [Note: Preparation of this website entry was done by Simon, to whom we are grateful.]
In addition to the assistance from the Sunset Rotary Club, the Geneva Rotary Club is sending several crates with more books donated by Houghlan-Milflin. Also, through a matching grant, the Geneva and Nelspruit Rotary Clubs will equip the crèches with school materials, playground equipment, a stove and refrigerator each. The kitchen equipment will replace the present cooking facility which consists of an outside fire on the ground covered with an iron triangle with legs (or three stones) to hold the pot. Each crèche building has a room designated as a kitchen that currently is totally empty. This is done with the support of the Nelspruit Rotarians who will receive and make sure all is installed properly and will continue to give their support in that area.