By Pat Love
Pagosa Springs Rotary Club
It didn’t take long for the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club to discover “twinning is winning.” Just a few short months after deciding to become a twin club with the Rotary Club of Niamey, Niger, in West Africa, our first project came to fruition.
Using local workers in Niger and funds from the Pagosa club, 120 new school desks were built, eight desks were repaired and several blackboards were refurbished. In a country where school is often a designated spot under a tree, having a structure is rare, but having desks and a blackboard is even more rare — no wonder over 300 people showed up for the dedication ceremony honoring this momentous accomplishment.
To put this project in perspective, Niger is a West African country where 49 percent of the population lives in poverty, earning less than $1.90 per day. With such limited resources, there is very little money for education, regardless of the fact that it is highly valued and seen as a reliable way to improve one’s station in life. On the other hand, the money we send has an exponential impact; our dollars go a long way. By investing in local projects such as improving the educational infrastructure of a community, and by supporting local workers who are making that possible, the resources we share have a powerful effect.
Residents of Pagosa may be delighted to know that showers of blessings are coming your way from Niger. Many of those who spoke at the project dedication, 6,670 miles away, sent blessings directly to the Pagosa community. As you support our club, resources are reaching around the world and coming back to us in the form of good will and good wishes.
This gratifying project was made possible by the talent, dedication and very capable leadership of David Smith; his committee members, Kim Moore, Jim Garrett and Pat Love; and the financial and moral support of the Pagosa Springs Rotary Club and the Rotary Foundation.
Rotary International has 35,000 members in 160 countries. We invite you to join us at the Tennyson Event Center Thursdays at noon. We look forward to more opportunities to be of service here at home, as well as around the world — and to be showered with even more blessings.