By Cynthia Grau
Posted May. 7, 2014 @ 9:59 amPontiac, Ill.
Several performances from a country half a world away came to Pontiac yesterday, in the form of six Zambian children, who played several songs for the local Rotary Club, which helped institute the school they all attend.
Eustis, Eric, Frederick, Bertha, Dinas and Vivian, along with a teacher from the school, Annie, took part in Tuesday’s Pontiac Rotary meeting and special lunch at Baby Bulls Fine Dining. Accompanying the guests were the heads of Lifesong For Orphans, an organization located in Gridley.
“We want to share with you the effect that Rotary has had with our Lifesong group,” said Wayne Steffen, orphan advocate and liaison to Zambia. “You have given to we at Lifesong the power to live the words of your Rotary foundation motto, and that is very important. That is, ‘doing good in the world.’ I couldn’t put it in a shorter sentence and make it more effective.”
He went on to say ten years ago, he didn’t know much about Rotary, but a lot of things have changed since then.
“Because of you, our kids who have never seen a computer are now using Skype. Because of you, our kids are now drinking water from deep wells. Because of you, our kids will now be able to go into high school. Because of you, our kids have one of the finest small school libraries in the Kitwe, Zambia area. All thanks to you, Rotary,” said Steffen.
He then introduced the five youngsters to the audience and they performed a handful of songs, both in English and one in Bemba, a language common to northern Zambia.
After the performance, Pontiac Rotary President Steve Walters told the crowd that one of the things that makes the Lifesong project so exciting for him is they have come up with a model for sustainability for paying their own way. He also said that Lifesong guarantees any donor that any money donated goes straight to the children.
“Their operation in Gridley pays the overhead and administrative cost for each project,” Walters said.
He added that he couldn’t think of anything he’s done that means as much to him as this project means to him.
“These kids are the Trevor Runyons (2013 Rotary Citizen of the year, who was present at the event) because of you and people like you who have donated money so they could have a school. You’ve heard some of their dreams, which are just like the dreams the kids here have, but they don’t have a school or support,” Walters said. “Without that, you can’t become a pilot or nurse or any of that. If you want more Trevors in the world, and we do, this is what makes that happen. This is how it works.”