Spokane North Notes
A weekly bulletin of the Spokane-North Rotary Club
February 23, 2015
Editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink
Program coordinator: Jim Minkler
          Happy meals: “It’s time to gather restaurant donations for the club’s annual fund raising project,” Steve Boharski announced.  For several years area restaurants have generously donated two-for-one coupons to support the club’s drive for projects at Holmes Elementary.
          Destination Nelson: The Rotary clubs of Nelson, British Columbia, are hosting this year’s District 5080 annual meeting, May 8-10.  Assistant District Gov. Jim Schindler of the Aurora Northwest Club showed a welcoming video from Nelson Rotarians.  Golf and home hospitality highlight the agenda Friday, May 8 and the conference includes a Saturday night dance and a Sunday Mother’s Day brunch.
Gift-giving: Incoming Rotary International President K.R. Ravindran has selected a yearly theme for 2015-16: “Be a Gift to the World.”
Workable rest room a big project for a small African school
          For Sister Bernie, happiness is completing a “potty project” for her nursery school in Uganda.
          Sister Bernadette Mary Nannyonjo – “but just call me ‘Bernie’” – this year’s George M. Kuroiwa honorary club member, shared her background story at the Feb. 23 luncheon.
          Sister Bernie is on sabbatical from her posting at the Cabana Nursery School in Kisubi, Uganda. She studied at Gonzaga and transferred to Spokane Falls Community College.  She was born in 1957 into a Ugandan family of 10 children, five of whom survive.  At age 11 Bernie was placed in a family as a baby sitter, which helped her raise funds for education tuition.
          After high school she entered religious training, made her vows and was sent to Nairobi, Kenya for studies in social work.  In Mozambique as a missionary, she learned Portuguese and taught English in an elementary school.  After two years Sister Bernie returned home as national coordinator for children at the Uganda Catholic Secretariat.
          Following a posting as a preschool teacher, she was sent to the Cabana nursery, where many of the 128 students are orphaned due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
The area’s poverty is evident in the school.  The old toilet, a “squatter” latrine, consisted of a trench dug in the dirt, with no waste treatment.  “It was poisoning the school yard,” said Sister Bernie.
          The new facility is a 12-station modern lavatory with tiled brick walls and a septic tank to treat wastes.  Digging the foundation took two weeks.  She wants a slab or concrete aprons to cover some of dirt the surrounding the toilet, to keep the facility cleaner, especially in rainy season.
No running water is available in the school, so four large tanks are planned to collect rainwater.
           Sister Bernie estimates the cost of tiling the bathroom walls at $790 and the cost of each water tank at $1,250.
          “My second dream,” she said, “is to expand the school to five classrooms,” adding primary grades to the nursery school.  That would be a $21,000 project.
          Club member Jim Minkler, who helped Sister Bernie with the slide show, said she has presented her project to Club 21’s International Committee and a decision on any contributions from that club, plus outreach requests to other local clubs, is due in March.
          Minkler said the “potty project” terminology surprised him until he saw the December Rotarian magazine.
          Actor Matt Damon joined the “ice bucket challenge” to raise funds to fight ALS by drawing a bucket of water from one of his house’s toilets and dumping it over his head.  This was done to emphasize his water.org campaign for clean drinking water and waste treatment for the estimated 800 million people worldwide who lack those amenities.
          Damon’s initiative was prompted in part by a mile-long water collection trek with a 14-year-old girl in Zambia and a similar episode years earlier in Ethiopia.
          “We are happy people in Uganda,” Sister Bernie told the club.  “But we are a small nation and many have taken advantage of us.” 
          Having a modern toilet facility for her school helps make Sister Bernie happy.