Club News Archive
South Haven Rotary celebrated its 59th Paul Harris Fellow on Tuesday, June 23. President W.C. Askew is pictured presenting the award to
member John Harding. John has been a member of South Haven Rotary since 2004. The Paul Harris Fellow recognition acknowledges individuals who contribute, or have had contributions made in their name, to the Rotary Foundation of Rotary International. It was established in 1957 and today the number of Paul Harris Fellow exceeds one million. See South Haven's Paul Harris Fellows
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South Haven Rotary Club sponsored its third community pancake breakfast of the summer on Sunday, Sept. 6. Nearly 600 breakfasts were served. The proceeds from the breakfasts will be used to support South Haven Rotary's community outreach programs which last year totaled $14,000 given to more than 20 organizations. Enjoy photos from our breakfast. - See more at: Haven Rotary Club sponsored its third community pancake breakfast of the summer on Sunday, Sept. 6. Nearly 600 breakfasts were served. The proceeds from the breakfasts will be used to support South Haven Rotary's community outreach programs which last year totaled $14,000 given to more than 20 organizations. Enjoy photos from our breakfast. - See more at:
The Power of One Rotarian’s Vision to Bring
Sustainable, Safe Water to a Region in Need
Sometimes all it takes is a person with a dedicated and compelling vision coupled with the
energy, imagination and network reach of a local Rotary club to achieve that objective.
According to Samantha Marshall, of the “Global Majority E-Journal”, over 40% of Kenya’s
population does not have access to clean water. That is about 17 million people at risk, every
day, to polluted water, which has causes cholera epidemics and multiple other diseases that
affect health and livelihoods.
When South Haven Rotarian Dr. Martin (Marty) Graber began his work in Kenya with the
Maasai Tribe in 1980, there was no reliable source of clean water, and there were no
medical facilities or medically trained personnel and no schools. The nearest health care
facility was a three hour drive. Infant mortality was 34%, which explained why Maasai
families did not typically name their newborns until they reached the age of two. Many
infants were dying from contaminated water, dehydration, and dysentery.
Dr. Graber graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1964. He had a
successful career as an emergency room practitioner. So, how did he end up in Africa?
He explains that he had heard a missionary nurse speak at the church he attended as a
pre-teen. She served in Africa and spoke of the great need for trained medical staff in
Africa. As he says, “I thought I might do that, after I grew up...After I became a physician,
I met Dr. Ernest Steury, who was from northeast Indiana where I was born and was a
missionary doctor in Kenya, and the rest is history.”
Doctor Graber quickly determined that the only hope was to focus on the most of essentials to improve
 the quality of life. The plans involved:
• Finding and developing clean water sources,
• Building a general curative and preventative medical facility, with an emphasis on
maternal childcare, pre- and post-natal care, labor delivery, and recovery,
• Educate native medical personnel to staff the medical facilities,
• Provide medical equipment and supplies,
• Build staff housing,
• Build a school with classrooms.
These projects are providing a safer, more educated life for those of the Maasai Tribe and
they have been completed and are improving lives and livelihoods among the Maasai.
Once the hospital was developed and had become self-sustaining and medical services
were being provided to all who were in need, Dr. Graber turned his attention to the next
most pressing need; a sustainable source of safe, clean water.
When Dr. Graber announced that he would be retiring in 2020, he wanted to pursue one final
project to assure that the hospital would have clean water available for all of its needs. Up to
this point, the funding has come from various sources, but no single source of funding
exceeded the funding that Dr. Graber, himself, provided! Because of the size and scope of
the rainwater harvesting system it was determined that the best way to move forward with
this would be to apply to Rotary International, in hopes of qualifying for a Global Grant, to
fund a rainwater harvesting system, which would collect rainwater from the 7,000 feet of
metal roofing of the hospital facility.
Dr. Graber’s vision of a rainwater harvesting system involved the construction of a 160,000
gallon (600,000 liters) underground, steel-reinforced concrete cistern, adjacent to the Lions
Hospital-Ngoswani Community, Maternal and Child, within the village of Ngoswani, Kenya;
however, it also included a number of out-patient outdoor latrines and hand washing
facilities. This certainly marked an important milestone for Dr.Graber and the South
Haven Rotary Club’s decades-long mission to provide healthcare, education and safe
water for the Maasai Tribe living in the South Narok district of Kenya.
The rainwater harvesting system cistern and related construction were funded through
$75,000 in grants made available through Rotary International, Rotary District 6360, and
contributions from the South Haven Rotary Club, the Milimani Rotary Club, as well as from a
few other Southwest Michigan Rotary clubs and generous individuals.
While South Haven, Michigan, may be thousands of miles from Kenya, Dr. Graber’s
vision for sustainable health care, education, housing and reliable sources of safe water
was compelling. Rotarians in South Haven were eager to not only share that vision, but
to make it become reality for the Maasai people of Ngoswani. The South Haven team
soon learned that building and equipping hospitals and schools, training local healthcare
worker and teachers and creating reliable sources of clean water half­ way across the
globe was going to take a community of global partners.
For the first time in their club’s history, the South Haven Rotary Club created a global
enterprise through formal partnerships with the Milimani Rotary Club of Nairobi, Kenya, the
Africa Gospel Church and Africa Water Bank. Since Dr. Graber had to relinquish control of the
hospital and its property before a global grant could be approved, he donated the hospital, its
contents, and all property to the Africa Gospel Church, a local church. William Luka, the
hospital administrator, is also the Associate Pastor of the Africa Gospel Church.
South Haven Rotarians worked with other Rotary Clubs throughout Michigan and the United
States, receiving contributions from the East Lansing and Union City Rotary Clubs in
Michigan and the Lake Chelan Rotary Club in Washington State. Several individual
Rotarians made personal contributions and the local South Haven Black River Lions Club
and Lions International also made significant contributions to help bring the various elements
of the project to completion. As interest and financial support grew among the smaller
Rotary Clubs, the South Haven team was in a position to work with the Rotary District 6360
offices and Rotary International to secure various forms of grant funding that allowed the
project to evolve into its present state: a school, a hospital and a sustainable source of safe,
sanitary water for the hospital in Ngoswani.
People in Kenya, like William Luka, the hospital administrator, David Dalton-Morgan, CEO
of Africa Water Bank, and Jackie Musyoka, Rose Barassa, and Joshua Otieno, who have
provided leadership from the Milimani Rotary Club, continue to work with Rotary and
others to promote the health and well-being of the people of Ngoswani for generations to