At our last meeting held Tuesday 11th December our fellow member Rev. Mal Dunnett delivered a Christmas message titled
wantok (plural wantoks)
(Melanesia, Papua New Guinea) A close comrade; a person with whom one has a strong social bond, usually based on shared language.
Usage notes: May be used to casually address a friend: Hello wantok.
Noun wantok 1. a close friend, to whom one gives complete loyalty 2. any person with a shared set of Melanesian cultural values, usually based on speaking a closely related language.
Mal explained to us that in the Solomon Island Christmas is celebrated with the knowledge that although Jesus was born with nothing to poor parents, however he was rich as he had wontok. He was loved by his family and he had mercy, compassion and he cared for others. Wantok is belonging and being loved and valued within the family and extended friends. Mal suggested we use Christmas to celebrate our wantok.
Thank you Mal for your effort.
Mal also told us about his plans for another trip to the Solomon Islands in September 2019 with a team of 8 Indigenous members, 4 members of Anglicare, 4 teachers and 1 CPA. There is room for more participants. If your interested contact Mal.
This is my first post as President. Firstly, I must thank you all for your encouragement. I am very proud to be part of this club and to be working with such fine people. It is a pleasure to be part of such a club in it’s formation years. To be a member of a club with members who have been such experienced Rotarians with other clubs in D9700 , who then took the major step to become Charter Members of this E-Club is an absolute pleasure and their advise and encouragement is valuable to me. I have admired these members for many years, it is a privilege to work alongside you all.
I am a new Rotarian with many years as a partner of a Rotarian and I am still amazed that I now can be part of the District working alongside such dynamic people. To all our members who a relatively new to the club, although you have many years experience in International Projects, it is a pleasure to have met you and hear your stories, I know together we are going to have such an informative year and we will work hard to complete the next steps to ensure the growth of our club.
My major goal is to grow the club and ensure that we can work as a cohesive team with our projects, and hopefully include some ideas to help you feel proud of your club to give you confidence to engage with others in “your little corner of the world”, and hopefully have them join us.
The major ideal of this club is to continue to do community and international service, however, make the meeting schedule and club demands easier and less time consuming for members. Our club is achieving this ideal and yet we have achieved so much in our service.
We need to search out others in the community who would like to be Rotarians who don’t know about the our E- club and who would be suited to the less demands of the club and encourage them to be a part of this new club format. We, the members, fully understand, that time is precious and I am a firm believer in the saying,” If you want something done, ask a busy person”.
I am aware that our members are all busy with their own projects, work and family and yet together we achieve so much with relative ease. I believe this club format is perfect for today’s lifestyle.
Meeting fortnightly is easy and our club is not demanding, and yet we are able to achieve successful outcomes, along with having such fun and our fellowship is so enjoyable.
For those who a reading this message and are interested or curious about E-club’s, don’t hesitate to contact me, either by email or phone, I will be happy to answer you questions.
Everyone, members and non- members are welcome to join our meetings, the next one is on the 28th August, 7.30pm. If you would like to join us , contact me and I will send you the link.
Take care and stay well.
This is my last post as President as at our next meeting I will induct Marilyn Roberts as our President for 2018-19. The ZOOM meeting will be held Tuesday 14th August at 7:30pm. If you are not a member and wish to attend please email me with your details so that the invitational email can be sent to you – [email protected]
Have you ever wondered why Rotarians do what we do? This presentation on how we humans are wired is quite revealing.
“We make a living by what we get. But we make a life by what we give.”
CHANGEOVER MEETING – Tuesday 17th July at 7.00pm EST
Meet our new RI President
Rotary Club of East Nassau
New Providence, Bahamas
Barry Rassin earned an MBA in health and hospital administration from the University of Florida, and is the first fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives in the Bahamas. He recently retired after 37 years as president of Doctors Hospital Health System and continues as an adviser. He is a lifetime member of the American Hospital Association and has served on several boards, including the Quality Council of the Bahamas, Health Education Council, and Employer’s Confederation.
A Rotarian since 1980, Rassin has served Rotary as director and is vice chair of The Rotary Foundation Board of Trustees. He was an RI training leader and the aide to 2015-16 RI President K.R. Ravindran.
Rassin received Rotary’s highest honor, the Service Above Self Award, as well as other humanitarian awards for his work leading Rotary’s relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake there. He and his wife, Esther, are Major Donors and Benefactors of The Rotary Foundation.
Visit the office of the president to:
CHANGEOVER MEETING – Tuesday 17th July at 7.00pm EST
Meet Our DISTRICT GOVERNOR 2018‐19
JOHN GLASSFORD and SUSAN WINGATE‐PEARSE
Member of the Rotary Club of Coolamon
Mobile – 0498 190 880 Email – [email protected]
John joined the Rotary Club of Coolamon on 29th September 2003. He has served for 12 years as a Director in various positions with President in 2008-2009. He also served on the D9700 RAWCS Committee as well as being a Board member of the first Rotarian Action Group, RFFA (Rotarians For Fighting AIDS).
In 2014 John founded the Rotarian Action Group for Endangered Species, RAGES.
He was International Chair for 2013-2014.
John has attended 7 RI Conventions and every D9700 Conference since 2004. John has led 3 Rotary teams climbing the three highest mountains in Africa for the AIDS orphans of South Africa, Kenya and Uganda as well as supporting the School of St Jude’s in Tanzania.
John married Susan Wingate-Pearse 30 years ago. John has 3 children and 7 grandchildren from his first marriage. Susan has one son and two grandchildren.
Together they formed Huff ‘n’ Puff Constructions in 1997 and have now built over 200 straw bale buildings including several large wineries and commercial buildings in Australia.
They live in Ganmain where they operate their straw bale building business.
Just a reminder of our NEXT MEETING – Tuesday 26th June at 7.30 pm EST – Social meeting. An email will be sent on Monday 25th with the link to the meeting.
CHANGEOVER MEETING – Tuesday 17th July at 7.00pm EST
Capture the Moment in Hamburg
|In 2019, the Rotary International Convention will travel to Hamburg, Germany. Registration is now open! To get the best possible rate, register by this Wednesday, 27 June and you’ll pay just $350. With so much to see and do, the convention is an experience you won’t want to miss.
Register and pay today, because this special price of US$350 is good only until 27 June.
Our meeting on Tuesday, 12th June was well attended and I would like to thank members for their contribution on the evening.
GUEST SPEAKER – BEV COONEY
Our guest speaker, PP Bev Cooney, from the Rotary Club of Bathurst gave a great presentation that I am sure inspired us all to commit more to our project work. Over more than a decade Bev has funded and worked to establish a school for the disabled in a remote location in Peru. In addition she has been instrumental in the building of Peru’s first Cancer Clinic and providing teams of Australian doctors and nurses travelling to train and assist the local Peruvian medical personnel. She continues this great work.
Bev has received a Medal of the Order of Australia in 2015 in recognition of her work, as well as an award from Peruvian president Alan Garcia in 2008 for being a ‘Notable Carer’.
INDUCTION OF NEW MEMBER – TEBAO AWERIKA
It was also a privilege for me as President to induct Tebao Awerika from the Republic of Kiribati as a member of our Club. Members of E-Clubs can reside in any locality and we are thrilled that Tebao is our first international member.
Tebao Awerika is the Member of Parliament for Betio, from Ambo, Tarawa, Kiribati.
Kiribati (pronounced Kiribass) is a small developing island state located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. It comprises 33 atolls in three sub-groups namely the Gilbert Group, Line Group and the Phoenix Group. The atolls are scattered across the equator over five million square kilometres of water.
Our next meeting will be held Tuesday, 12th June at 7.30pm EST.
Hopefully we will have an interesting guest speaker and we may also be inducting a new member. It promises to be a great meeting.
Carolyn and I are continuing to enjoy our travels in Queensland after a very enjoyable five days at Monto with the Highway Wanderers (picture below) most of whom live and travel in their motor homes all year round. Some very interesting people.
We are currently staying on a farm stay property near Roma and tomorrow we travel to stay for four nights at Canarvon Gorge. Apparently some spectacular walks and scenery. It is a little cold at night but should be good for walking.
This is a great story by a new member of Rotary.
By Rebecca Fry, a member of the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley
In 2005, I made a seemingly small decision to apply for “science camp.” It happened to be the Rotary-sponsored, National Youth Science Forum. Fast forward 13 years and I’ve been heavily involved in the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), Rotaract and most recently I took the next exciting leap and joined the Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley. Selecting the best Rotary club to join was an 18-month journey.
As a past-president of Sydney City Rotaract, I had existing relationships with a couple of local Rotary clubs in the city, however it was challenging for me to attend their weekly meetings based on meeting location, time and in some circumstances, cost.
A Rotaract friend invited me to attend one of their e-club meetings back in early 2017. I’ll admit I was a little hesitant at first as I love the personal interaction, friendships, and networking that stem from being involved in my local Rotaract club and I was unsure if an e-club would be able to provide me with the same personal connection. Soon I came to appreciate the meeting format, online initiatives, and international network. But there were still some questions I needed to answer – Why was I joining Rotary? and What did I want to both give and get out of my Rotary membership? These are two critical questions that I anticipate many of us don’t answer, yet are essential for us to find the right club.
More specific questions that can help us understand our personal needs include:
- Have you moved to a new city and are looking to make friends?
- Do you have a preference for a morning, lunchtime, or evening Rotary meeting?
- Are you seeking practical volunteering opportunities?
- What skills would you like to bring to a Rotary club?
Upon reflecting on my internal motivations, I realized that with the amount of volunteer work I was doing for RYLA, Rotaract, and Rotary in the professional development space, I needed a club that could flexibly fit around my schedule. I also came to appreciate that I’d love to work overseas in the future, so a remote club with an international network was a big tick. I also found I resonated with like-minded members at Rotary E-Club of Silicon Valley, who were so welcoming and set up Facetime and Skype chats so we could connect despite being thousands of miles apart!
At the upcoming Rotaract Preconvention, 22-23 June in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Florian Wackermann and I will be presenting a workshop on the Road to Rotary for Rotaractors. Our goal is to help Rotaractors to understand the variety of opportunities to remain in the Rotary family and more specifically help you find your place in the Rotary world, where you can continue to create positive change in the world, develop your leadership skills and make long lasting friendships.
After a week in hospital and another recovering I am back on deck and ready for our next meeting – on ZOOM this Wednesday 9th May at 7.30pm Eastern Standard Time.
We will have a report on how District Conference went this past weekend from Ruth and Marilyn. We will discuss our KIVA loans and consider 3 more loans. Also hope to discuss new members at this meeting.
This is a a great success story for Rotary in Uganda
Creating a family
After fleeing conflict in their own countries, a group of young Rotaractors is healing wounds and bringing cultures together in a Ugandan refugee settlement
Mushaho has lived in Nakivale since 2016, when he fled violence in his native Democratic Republic of Congo. After receiving death threats, he crossed into Uganda and joined a friend in the 184-square-kilometer settlement that serves as home to 89,000 people.
The soft-spoken 26-year-old, who has a university degree in information technology, runs a money transfer service out of a wooden storefront that doubles as his home.
Business is booming because he offers his clients – other refugees from Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, and South Sudan – the ability to receive money via mobile phone from family and friends outside Uganda.
He also exchanges currency, and his shop is so popular that he often runs out of cash. On this day, he’s waiting for a friend to return with more money from the nearest bank, two hours away in the town of Mbarara.
Sitting behind a wooden desk, armed with his transactions ledger and seven cell phones, Mushaho grows anxious. He’s not worried about missing out on commission – he’s worried about leaving his clients without any money.
“I don’t like making my customers wait,” he says, looking out onto the lively street of tin-roofed stores, women selling tomatoes and charcoal, a butcher shop displaying a leg of beef, and young men loitering on motorcycles. “There’s nobody else around who they can go to.”
Paul Mushaho organized a team of volunteers and formed a Rotaract club in Nakivale, Uganda, to give refugees something constructive to do.
Yet his story and that of his club are far from ordinary. Established in late 2016, and officially inaugurated last July, the Rotaract Club of Nakivale may be the first Rotaract club based inside a refugee settlement or camp.
Its founding, and the role it has played in the lives of its members and their fellow Nakivale residents, is a tale of young people who’ve refused to let conflict stifle their dreams; of a country that sees the humanity in all the refugees who cross its borders; and of a spirit of service that endures, even among those who’ve experienced unspeakable tragedy.
A place where refugees are welcome
If Nakivale doesn’t sound like a typical refugee camp, that’s because it isn’t one.
Covering 184 square kilometers and three distinct market centers, Nakivale feels like anywhere else in rural southwestern Uganda, an undulating land of banana trees, termite mounds, and herds of longhorn cattle.
Nakivale blends in with its surroundings in part because it’s been here since the 1950s, when it was established to accommodate an influx of refugees from Rwanda during a flare-up of pre-independence violence there.
Over the years, its population has ebbed and flowed as it accommodated those seeking refuge from a variety of regional conflicts, including civil war in South Sudan, violent state collapse in Somalia, and rebellions and armed militias that continue to terrorize eastern Congo, the area that accounts for the majority of Nakivale’s current residents.
Many have been here for a year or two, others for decades, but most consider Nakivale home.
Unlike other governments in the region, Ugandan authorities grant new arrivals plots of land for farming, as well as materials to erect a basic house, so they can move toward self-reliance. Refugees also have access to free primary education for their children and permission to work so they can contribute to the economy.
Uganda hosts more than 1.5 million refugees within its borders and allows all registered refugees to move about at will. If they can do business in cities or towns, the logic goes, there’s no reason they should be trapped elsewhere.
“They’re going about their lives just like you and me,” says Bernad Ojwang, Uganda country director for the American Refugee Committee (ARC), which works closely with the Rotaract club in Nakivale.
Although an abundance of arable land allows for the nation’s liberal refugee policy, he explains, the system also reflects a high-level belief that refugees can be assets rather than liabilities.
“Uganda has realized that the sooner a country looks at refugees not as a burden but as an opportunity, it changes a lot of things,” he says.
A change maker’s idea
This mindset — of refugees as catalysts for change — ultimately led to the Rotaract club’s founding.
Mushaho learned about Rotaract after entering a competition in 2016 organized by the American Refugee Committee (ARC) for the young people of Nakivale.
The competition, co-sponsored by Uganda’s office of the prime minister, challenged young residents in the settlement to propose business plans or innovations that could improve lives.
Out of nearly 850 entries, Mushaho’s proposal – a beekeeping business that would sell honey – was among 13 winners. They each would receive a small amount of seed money and present their ideas to a wider audience in Kampala, the nation’s capital.
More than 60 Rotarians attended the Kampala event in October 2016, including Angela Eifert, a member of the Rotary Club of Roseville, Minnesota, USA, and an ARC engagement officer, and then Rotary president-elect Sam F. Owori.
Eifert, who first visited Nakivale in 2014, had previously proposed creating an Interact club for 12- to 18-year-olds to help engage its large population of young people. After the event, she mentioned her idea to Owori, who embraced it with one modification: He believed the 13 winners could become leaders in their community, so he proposed a Rotaract club.
“He told me, ‘I was once a Rotaractor,’” Eifert says. “When he saw these young people on stage, he felt they were ideal Rotaractors. He loved their ideas. He saw they had talent and potential, and thought we should be getting behind them.”
Leaders from the Rotary Club of Kiwatule in Kampala and Eifert’s Minnesota club agreed to work together to get the club started and support its growth.
The duo then approached Mushaho about serving as the new club’s president. Of the 13 winners, he’d stood out to them. Humble and charismatic, he also spoke fluent English, had helped the other winners communicate their ideas, and appeared eager to assist the wider Nakivale community. Mushaho and another winner, Jean de Dieu Uwizeye, hosted the Nakivale Rotaract club’s first official meeting in late 2016.
“He was really into it,” says Eifert, who began texting regularly with Mushaho. “He was learning everything he could about Rotary. I think it gave him a great deal of reward and purpose.”
Bettering the settlement
For all of Nakivale’s advantages over more traditional refugee camps, daily life remains a struggle for many.
Families are encouraged to farm the land they’re given, but many rely for months, or even years, on UN food assistance. Rations have decreased recently because of a shortage of global funding.
Barious Babu, a 27-year-old Rotaractor from eastern Congo helps young people navigate the daily struggles of refugee life and provides entertainment and dancing with performances by his All Refugees Can Band.
Children in the settlement have access to free primary education, but few families can afford the fees for secondary school – a situation that contributes to high levels of youth idleness, early marriage, alcohol abuse, and domestic and gender-based violence. Even simple boredom, particularly among a population that’s lived through conflict, can be crippling.
Mushaho says he often sees young people loitering around his shop. “They sit for hours, just thinking, and many of them are traumatized. Others just sleep from morning until night.”
The Rotaract club’s first project, launched in 2017, was designed to help Nakivale’s new arrivals, many of whom had endured harrowing journeys to escape violence.
About 30 new families arrive every day. They sleep in rows of tents, which are periodically overrun with bedbugs and cockroaches. After hearing reports of an infestation, the Rotaractors pooled their modest savings and, with assistance from ARC, purchased chemicals and sprayers to fumigate the area. Additional projects quickly followed.
Over the past year, club members have visited the elderly, orphans, and people living with albinism, who face cultural stigmas in the region. Often the Rotaractors bring highly coveted items, such as sugar and soap.
To promote girls’ empowerment, the club also has co-sponsored a jump-rope contest for girls that featured cash prizes. To promote interaction among refugees of different nationalities, they organized a soccer tournament with eight teams from across the settlement.
The Roseville club provided support to both projects, donating soccer balls and hygiene products for the Rotaractors to distribute.
Much of the Nakivale club’s community outreach, however, is self-funded. Members have earned money by raising and selling chickens, and even participated in a 5K race, held in conjunction with World Refugee Day in June 2017, which brought in online donations.
“We don’t want to have to call someone every time, asking for support,” says Uwizeye, a computer scientist who fled his native Burundi in 2015 to avoid being forced into a youth militia. “It’s better to show someone I’ve raised some money on my own – and then maybe ask them, ‘Can you top up?’”
Several Rotaract members have been mentoring other young people in the camp. Alex Ishingwa trains fellow refugees in masonry and helps them bid for local contracts. Byamana Bahati, a dressmaker, trains apprentices at her shop, a short walk from Mushaho’s.
One club member, Jean Lwaboshi, a musician with several love ballads posted on YouTube, spends his mornings making bricks with fellow Rotaractor Martin Rubondo. From their earnings, the two have bought guitars and now give performances and lessons to other young people. “It’s a rewarding feeling to support others through music,” Lwaboshi says.
Mushaho keeps an eye out for refugees who could benefit from the club’s assistance. Recently, when one of his customers approached him about starting a farming project, he helped the woman and a group of friends find a plot of land and connected them to ARC, which provided seeds, fertilizers, and watering cans.
“We appreciate so much that others are thinking of us,” says Ange Tutu, one of the project’s beneficiaries, while tending to her new rows of tomato plants.
Forging a Rotary family
In addition to its own projects, the Nakivale club has galvanized Uganda’s Rotarians to help refugees.
The Rotary clubs of Kiwatule and Mbarara, the closest large town to the settlement, advise and assist with projects. The Kiwatule club has sponsored individual Rotaractors to attend training events and other leadership activities across Uganda. Members of both clubs have donated clothes and other necessities that the Rotaractors deliver to Nakivale residents.
Rotary clubs in Uganda are planning to do more, says a member of the Kiwatule club. In October, local Rotary leaders signed a memorandum of understanding with the office of the prime minister to help refugees in other settlements and possibly form additional Rotaract clubs.
Several of Uganda’s Rotary clubs are planning to improve refugees’ access to water, sanitation, hygiene, and basic education.
For Xavier Sentamu, the desire to help refugees comes in part from his own experience with conflict. Aside from pockets of the north, most of Uganda has been at peace for the last three decades. Yet the country experienced multiple violent upheavals during the 1970s and 1980s. As a child, Sentamu spent several nights hiding in the bush during the guerrilla war that ultimately brought the current president, Yoweri Museveni, to power.
“I have a bit of a feeling for what they’ve gone through,” says the Kiwatule club member. “Though when you have a person who’s outside their country, who has no idea if or when they’ll go back home, it’s much tougher. The fact that they have gone through that hardship and are willing to offer a little bit of their resources to make others more comfortable is so encouraging.”
After an initial surge in the Nakivale club’s membership, which peaked at more than 40 people, the number of active members has fallen to roughly 20 over the last year. Uwizeye attributes the drop to a misunderstanding: Some thought the Rotaract club was a job opportunity rather than a service group.
The departure of less dedicated members, however, has left the core group of Rotaractors more unified. Many lost relatives to violence or had to leave family behind, and the relationships they have formed in the club are helping them cope.
“All these people are like family,” Mushaho says. “The people in the club become replacements for those people they have lost.”
This project aims to provide high quality secondary education to impoverished children by funding computer laboratory equipment, school bus, science building equipment and a sports pitch, Orkeeswa Secondary School, Tanzania. More info – 2017 IEFT Mid Year Report
Project Manager Rtn Sharon Daishe (M) 0488 628 555 Email: [email protected]
Deputy Manager PP Dianne Gilleland (M) 0419 854 413 Email: [email protected]
Website – http://www.ieftz.org
Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Geraldton, District 9455 and Rotary E-Club of D9700-Serving Humanity, District 9700