SIOUX FALLS (AP) – A retired South Dakota State University physiology professor has taken the first steps toward his goal of building a library in his childhood home of Masaka, Uganda.
Henry Kayongo-Male says Masaka has more than 100,000 residents but no public library, the Argus Leader reported. He said he hopes to change that by raising money through the sale of children's books he's writing based on African stories he heard as a kid.
"They've never left me," Kayongo-Male said of the stories.
Kayongo-Male came from Masaka to the U.S. for graduate school in the 1980s. He started working at the university in 1985 and stayed for about 30 years as a physiology professor.
"His teaching is just legendary," said Mary Jo Benton Lee, who has worked at SDSU for 29 years and is a close friend of Kayongo-Male's family.
She said Kayongo-Male's passion for teaching touched the lives of many students, so it's no surprise that he's approaching his library project with the same enthusiasm and commitment.
"He really isn't retired," Lee said. "He's just kind of changed his work."
Kayongo-Male's first book, "The Rat Family," was published last month, and another, "The Lioness and Her Cubs," is due for publication in October. He has several more stories planned for the future.
Kayongo-Male plans to use the proceeds from book sales as the starting funds for the library, something he says the community dearly needs.
"You don't want to see young people wanting to learn, and they have no resources," he said.