THERE’S a grand conspiracy afoot to send enough books to Simbu to equip every one of its 400 schools with a small library.
The co-conspirators are old Simbu buddies of over 50 years standing – Terry Shelley of Nowek Limited in Goroka and Murray Bladwell of Brisbane in Queensland.
It all began with Terry identifying a gross shortage of decent reading material (or, for that matter, any reading material) in Simbu schools.
He offered to provide a container if someone in Australia could identify a supply of books.
Now a container-load of books is no small challenge.
Think 11,000 books packed into 360 cartons in a shipping container of 15.6 cubic metres weighing 5,450 kg.
As Murray says, “The heavy lifting begins - definitely not a leaner!”
Toowong Rotary, which has a connection with PNG, has committed to a project to collect sufficient children's books to fill the container.
“It will be a massive task to locate, collect, categorise and package the books and locate metal library shelving units,” says Murray. “We estimate it will take up to six months at minimum.”
The project will also put together a number of boxes of adult fiction and non-fiction as well as classics to help develop an exchange library (including shelving) for the Simbu Writers Association.
“This is great news for the kids in isolated areas,” said Terry, who added that he will send photographs of the schools where the books are to end up.
The books will be gathered over the next six months and placed into storage. Murray reckons that, when the goal is reached, the Rotary fellas can pack a container in one day.
The first boxes - donated by Brisbane Boys College – have already been received.
And Terry has confirmed that he will cover all the expenses involved in getting the shipment from Brisbane to Goroka and then on to Simbu.
It’s a great project initiated and managed by two great blokes.