Adam Montgomery is getting by with a little help from his friends.
The U of M alumnus just finished a two-year stint in the Peace Corps in the South
American country of Paraguay. With assistance from several other U of M alumni, he
built the first-ever library in Potrero Reducción, a village of 200 or so Guaraní
Indians in the remote countryside. He stocked it with donated books, computers, maps
and other amenities.
The library gave access to something the people of the village never had before: technology.
|Adam Montgomery (at right) guides Jorge Portillo and Jose Avilla through a computer
“The main idea behind the library, as with any library, is to give people easy access
to information,” Montgomery (BBA ’08) said. “This is something that the community
has lacked as the majority of people here have never had access to books or computers.
Paraguay is a country in transition, especially in the cities, but that transition
has not filtered out into the rural areas. Technologies, such as the computer, are
growing in the cities, but rural communities do not have access or opportunities to
use these technologies. The new library here is changing that and giving people the
opportunity to familiarize themselves with new technologies and information.”
Living in a developing country for two years has had a fervent effect on Montgomery.
“Before I joined the Peace Corps, I took so many opportunities for granted and did
not fully appreciate how fortunate I have been in my life,” he said. “Then I came
here where the majority of people have so few opportunities and it really opened my
eyes. I should be more appreciative and thankful for the life I have in the United
Russell and Sharon Day (BBA ’88) donated one computer to the library, while an anonymous
benefactor from the U of M donated another. Montgomery said U of M alums and former
Tiger soccer teammates Brennan Somers (’11), Jordan Lynn (BBA ’09), Michael Crider
(BA ’08), Tyler Strom (BA ’08) and Daniel Knop also lent support.