Brother Is Pilot, Teacher In Africa

Date: March 13, 1967
Location: Dayton, OH
By: James Dressler
Newspaper: The Journal Herald
Page: 17

Brother Paul Koller, Society of Mary, is back at his missionary work as a high school teacher and pilot in Africa after a three-month refreasher aviation course at University of Dayton. He’s starting his second three-year hitch there.

Brother Koller, a 1949 graduate of Chaminade high school, was graduated from UD with a B.S. degree and earned his Master’s degree at Ohio State university where he learned to fly.

Before leaving for Africa a few days ago he said he was anxious to get back, because “there’s so much to be done over there.”

Brother Koller teaches science at Mangu high school 40 miles from Nairobi, Kenya, and acquaints students with aviation.

In addition, he assists the United Missionary Air training and Transport (UMATT), which transports doctors and nurses and makes other mercy missions throughout East Africa.

Operation and administration of UMATT is under the care of Marianists in Dayton. Service is provided on a no-charge basis.

“I’m not the full-time UMATT pilot,” Brother Koller explained. “I’m sort of doing double duty as a pilot and instructing in science and aviation at the high school.”

He and fellow members of the Society of Mary comprise half the staff at Mangu high school. Natives make up the rest.

The Society of Mary contracts with Kenya to provide teachers.

Salary is unimportant to the missionaries, brother Koller said.

“Actually I don’t know what we are paid. We live in a common fund which supports us,” he added.

He said boys at the high school learn fast, but are hampered by lack of background.

“They have no technological background at all,” he said. “That makes it difficult for them, especially when they come into direct contact with an airplanefor the first time.”

Only top students qualify for high school. Brother Koller estimated only 10 per cent of all elementary students attend high school.

“And there are many who never even attend elementary school,” he added.

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