Rotary clubs' sisterhood helps S. African students


March 10, 1997|By Lyn Backe | Lyn Backe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

AS THE MIDDLE ONE of three sisters, I have a lifetime's appreciation of the communication and learning that's inherent in sibling relationships.

The same kind of learning and sharing is at the root of the popular international practice of sisterhood, not feminism, but community: sister cities, sister schools, sister ships.

The Parole Rotary Club has a sister chapter in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, that has adopted a black school. The school, like other black schools in that country, had traditionally been given a low priority to receive textbooks and supplies.

The Port Elizabeth Rotary turned to the Parole Rotary Club because of its involvement in a book project that has sent more than 400,000 books overseas in the past 10 years.

Leonard Blackshear, who has been coordinating Books for International Goodwill in Parole for 18 months, said nearly 170,000 volumes have been contributed during that period. An initial 40,000 went to Ghana, 40,000 more are being readied now for Port Elizabeth, and 90,000 are being readied for other countries.

Operating out of the empty Pepsi warehouse on Admiral Drive, the Parole Rotary has become known as the leader of District 7620 in handling books. Three other clubs in the district are participating, and the number could grow to as many as 65.

That's a big goal for Dr. Steve Frantzich, chairman of the political science department at the Naval Academy, who is taking over management of Project BIG from Blackshear. When asked why he chose to be involved, he said, "I write books and use them in my teaching. I hate seeing them wasted."

The BIG project takes textbooks, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children's books -- anything except volumes in chronic disrepair or pornography. The books are accepted at the warehouse on West Street from 9 a.m. to 12: 30 p.m. the second and fourth Saturdays of each month.

One of Frantzich's first challenges with the BIG project is coordinating some unusual volunteer helpers March 22.

The USS Maryland will be in Annapolis harbor on a goodwill visit, and 15 crew members will join a group of midshipmen at the warehouse, taking books from donors and sorting them according to age level, topic and condition. Eventually, the books will be packed into 40-foot containers for shipment.

Frantzich said paying for the shipments is an international project as well. The Parole Rotary pays some of the cost, International Rotary pays a portion. The group is also seeking local government help. Negotiations are under way with the Department of Defense to include book containers in overseas shipments on a space-available basis.

Spring cleaning time is coming up fast, and if your shelves, attic and basement are anything like mine, you have an abundance of books that you'll never read again.

Dust them one last time, and take them to the BIG project March 22 or the second or fourth Saturday of any other month.

Information: Frantzich, 293-6851, or Blackshear, (410) 841-6920.

Musical history tour

"Annapolis on the Half Shell," a musical history tour, is being presented by "Them Eastport Oyster Boys" -- Jeff Holland and Kevin Brooks -- Saturday at the 49 West Coffeehouse.

Irreverence is a prime factor in the Holland/Brooks presentation, but it's all based on a loving understanding of how the city works, in its own life and in the greater context of the bay.

"Annapolis on the Half Shell" was first presented last month to SRO crowds, and Brooks said: "The locals got all the inside jokes, but there was a lot for out-of-towners [and newcomers] as well. We have a lot of fun with what we do, and that's contagious."

Slide images of the area by Dan Beigel add to the evening.

Cover charge is $5 Saturday for "Annapolis on the Half Shell." The coffeehouse is accessible to the disabled.

Shows are at 7: 30 p.m. and 10 p.m. Information: 626-9796.

Bay Bridge run

Jeff and Kevin may very possibly have a song or tale or poem about the four-mile-long Bay Bridge, whose first span (now eastbound) was built in 1954.

It changed the region's economies and countless lives, making ferries obsolete and opening the Eastern Shore to D.C./Baltimore/Annapolis commuters. The westbound span, completed in 1972, made travel even easier, and ultimately made possible the 13th annual Governor's Bay Bridge 10K Run, conducted jointly by the Annapolis Striders, the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources.

The race benefits the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the Maryland State Park Foundation.

The May 4 race is limited to 3,000 runners. The deadline for entry is April 10, and the field usually fills quickly.

Runners ride from Sandy Point State Park to the start on Kent Island, then go two miles uphill and two miles down on the bridge, and another two miles on flat roads back to the park.

The $20 entry fee includes a long-sleeved T-shirt and refreshments at the end of the race.

For an entry form, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Annapolis Striders, P.O. Box 187, Annapolis 21404-1165. The Striders' Hotline is 268-1165.

Pub Date: 3/10/97

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