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
Thanks to all who attend our meeting last Wednesday.
A special welcome to prospective member Tebao Awerika, from the Pacific nation of Kiribati.
In many ways it was special meeting that really gave our Club a purpose and a new found enthusiasm to expand our Club’s membership.
Thanks to Guest Speaker Ruth Barber, a member of our Club who spoke about the work she does in her community in Wagga Wagga, NSW.
Ruth’s history and involvement in Rotary and Community service is listed below:
- Attended RYLA (Rotary Youth Leadership Awards) in 1970
- Chartered a Griffith Rotaract (Rotary Club for young adults) in 1971. Started with 30 member grew to 70 members
- Ruth’s husband Bruce joined Rotary in 1980. Bruce was D9700 District Governor 2004-5. His father D9700 District Governor 1973-74.
- Chartered a breakfast club – Griffith Avanti
- Chairman of D9700 District Conference in 2009 – Griffith
- Moved to Wagga Wagga, joined Wagga Wagga Rotary Club
- Worked with Dr Alok Sharma on RAWCS project “Darkness to Light”. (Travelling to India to assist Dr Sharma with eye surgery)
- Established Darkness to Light – Riverina.
- Working with Vision impaired in Wagga Wagga
- Oz Harvest in Wagga Wagga, Ruth and Bruce both involved. (collect food from Woolworths, Coles etc and distributes to the needy in Wagga Wagga)
- Assists at Ronald McDonald House. (stays overnight assisting patients and families at Wagga Base Hospital)
- Assists at Language Café at Wagga Regional Library (working with refugees with language and other needs)
- Assist at Kurrajong Waratah (organisation in Wagga Wagga assisting those with special needs) Participates in Quality Assurance Interviews to assess needs are being delivered to the clients.
- Assists with “Girls at the Centre”. This program, “Girls at the Centre” was establish by The Smith Family to assist the Indigenous students to develop good behaviour and good attendance at school. The Centre is based at Mt Austin High School, Wagga Wagga. Mt Austin has a high indigenous population. Ruth assists with breakfast on Wednesday to ensure one good breakfast a week. It is a privilege to attend. After school activities are held to keep the girls engaged and helps them stay at school. Smith Family provide “Life Coaches” who Ruth comments are excellent role models. After 12 months of good behaviour and good attendance the girls are rewarded with excursions and special functions. One of the attendees of this program is now School Captain and has excelled in sport and has great ambitions for further progress.
Thank you Ruth for a great presentation. We could all follow her example and make our own communities a better place for all.
Meet 6 champions of peace
Honorees will be recognized at Rotary Day at the United Nations in November
The honorees, which were announced on International Peace Day, are all involved in projects that address underlying causes of conflict, including poverty, inequality, ethnic tension, lack of access to education, or unequal distribution of resources.
The six Champions of Peace are:
Jean Best, a member of the Rotary Club of Kirkcudbright, Scotland —Best leads a peace project that is designed to teach teenagers conflict resolution skills they can use to create peace-related service projects in their schools and communities. Best worked with peace fellows at the University of Bradford to create the curriculum. She has also worked with local Rotary members and peace fellows to set up peace hubs in Australia, England, Mexico, Scotland, and the U.S.
Best became a Paul Harris Fellow for contribution to developing peace strategies.
Ann Frisch, a member of the Rotary Club of White Bear Lake, Minnesota, USA — Frisch believes unarmed civilians can protect people in violent conflicts. She collaborated with Rotary members in Thailand to establish the Southern Thailand Peace Process training program in 2015 in Bankok, Hat Yai, and Pattani in southern Thailand. The group brought together electrical and irrigation authorities, Red Cross staff, a Buddhist monk, and a Catholic nun to this border region to train civilians to build so-called safe zones. These are areas in which families, teachers, and local officials do not have to confront military forces every day.
Frisch, a UN delegate to Geneva, co-wrote the first manual on unarmed civilian protection, which was endorsed by the UN. Her training in a civilian-based peace process is administered by the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the department that trains all UN personnel.
Safina Rahman, a member of the Rotary Club of Dhaka Mahanagar, Bangladesh — Rahman is an important advocate for women’s rights in the workplace in Bangladesh. As a garment factory owner, she was the first to offer health insurance and maternity leave for her female employees. She worked with the Rotarian Action Group for Peace to organize the first international peace conference in Bangladesh. A policymaker for the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, she champions workplace safety and workers’ rights and promotes girls’ education and women’s rights.
Rahman is chair of two schools that provide basic education, vocational training, conflict prevention, and health and hygiene classes.
Alejandro Reyes Lozano, a member of the Rotary Club of Bogotá Capital, Colombia — Reyes Lozano, an attorney, was appointed by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to assist with negotiations and set terms and conditions to end the 50-year conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
Reyes Lozano’s Rotary Club, Bogotá Capital, worked with Mediators Beyond Borders International to train 27 women from six Latin American countries to develop skills in peacebuilding, conflict resolution, and mediation to deal with conflicts in their communities. The project also developed an international network of women peace builders.
Kiran Singh Sirah, a graduate of the Rotary Peace Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill — Sirah is president of the International Storytelling Center in Tennessee, USA, which uses storytelling as a path to building peace. The organization seeks to inspire and empower people everywhere to tell their stories, listen to the stories of others, and use storytelling to create positive change.
Kiran, the son of Ugandan refugees, created “Telling Stories That Matter,” a free guide for educators, peace builders, students, volunteers, and business leaders. The resource is now used in 18 countries.
Taylor (Stevenson) Cass Talbott, a graduate of the Rotary Peace Center at the International Christian University in Japan — Stevenson developed a global grant to improve sanitary conditions for waste collectors in Pune, India. Waste collectors together handle 20 tons of unwrapped sanitary waste every day. Stevenson collaborated with SWaCH, a waste-collector cooperative, to create the “Red Dot” campaign, which calls for people to wrap their sanitary waste in newspaper or bags and mark it with a red dot.
This helps waste collectors identify sanitary waste and handle it accordingly. Stevenson developed all the educational imaging for the campaign. She also secured in-kind offerings of support, including free training space and campaign printing. She is also a Global Peace Index ambassador.
Please note next meeting Wednesday , 11th April change in time to 7.30pm EST
Happy Easter to All,
I hope that you all have a safe and enjoyable Easter, relaxing and catching up with your families.
Our next GoTo Meeting will be held on Wednesday, 11th April at 7.30pm Eastern Standard Time. If you are not a member and want to attend this meeting please email me with your details so the invitational email is sent with the link to the meeting.
I will send an agenda prior to the meeting.
We have finally returned home from our extended holiday and have settled back into our Brisbane unit again. I will present a pictorial presentation of the highlights of our trip at one of our meetings soon.
The picture above is of the Cape of Good Hope, south of Cape Town taken from Cape Point. This is just to give you an example of some of my presentation.
There is still time to register for both our D9700 Conference and the Rotary International Convention. Please let me know if anyone is attending either.
Click to register for:
Some interesting thoughts we might use to attract more members to our E-Club.
By Michael Walstrom, president-elect of the Rotary Club of Downtown Boca Raton, Florida
I think most would agree that Rotary has struggled to attract and retain young professionals. At a district conference in 2016, my district governor, Eric Gordon, asked me to put together a program for “YP” development. This was a new committee, so I was starting from scratch. I was 38 at the time and two years into my Rotary journey. The only thing I really knew was that I had a lot to learn.
My first step was to gather data. My district, 6930, has 6 percent membership in the “under 40” category. I put together a survey of ten questions designed to get at the core of what brought those members into Rotary, why they stay, what they want, and what the challenges are for them. Club presidents from all over the district helped get their YP members to complete my survey.
The process was fantastic. I knew why I was in Rotary, but I needed to know if my experience was similar to others, or anomalous. Reading through scores of submissions I began to see some distinct trends.
- Younger members were drawn to Rotary through a friend or business contact.
- They value networking, for personal but primarily business purposes.
- Many are interested in developing relationships with community leaders, those who could offer guidance or mentorship.
- Some identified time and financial commitments as ongoing hurdles.
- Only about half identified service as an initial motivation for joining, but to most it is clearly an important factor.
Surveys can help put an issue into context, but how can clubs turn this into a strategy for YP membership development?
I think it means knowing what Rotary has to offer. It’s putting together a Value Proposition that can effectively pitch Rotary to the YPs in any community.
This pitch comes down to one idea, Leadership. Rotary is a unique environment wherein YPs can learn, practice, and exhibit leadership skills. This is an immeasurable benefit for one’s personal and professional development. Their values can be made clear; they learn to work with others and pay it forward.
Engaging Younger Professionals, a new online toolkit, helps clubs better understand younger professionals. From ideas for outreach and engagement to long-term benefits of becoming a Rotarian, this toolkit helps clubs rethink their membership, from a broad perspective down to a tactical level.
We have arrived in Cape Town after a fabulous 3 weeks touring eastern South Africa, Swaziland and Lesotho. A beautiful land of spectacular scenery and friendly people from both wealthy and poor means. We have had poor Wifi for the later half of our trip so I have been unable to post regularly. Hope that the meetings chaired by Marilyn have been going well.
Yesterday we toured Khayelitsha, an informal township near Cape Town Airport that houses 1.5 million residents in very poor housing. We were guided by a local who explained that the township was established during the apartheid era but since that era has grow much larger due to poor subsistance farmers moving here to try and find employment and make money to improve their families life. He explained that living conditions have improved marginally but communal water points are often far away and portable toilets have to be carried up to 1 kilometer or more to be emptied.
People in employment are able to pay for improved housing in these townships and some actually choose to build new homes if they are earning enough. There are some postive signs but the government is struggling to afford to supply the infrastructure required to improve the situation. Their biggest problem is that new subsistence farmers continue to move into the towns looking for wealth.
A huge problem continues to exist with HIV in these communities but good work is being done to educate and treat those who are HIV positive.
Today we drove past the Coolamon Clinic at Hout Bay that was built with funds provided by the fundraising efforts of DGE John Glassford’s trek to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Rotary Clubs of Coolamon, Hout Bay, D9700 and a matching grant from the Rotary Foundation. It makes me proud to be a Rotarian when you see our work in action.
See more about this project at:
Our Wifi connections have been very limited this past few days with our visit to Kruger National Park, Imofolozi Game Reserve and the St. Lucia Estuary, iSimangaliso Wetland Park.
I am having trouble uloading photos for some unknown reason so sorry cannot show images this week.
We have been very fortunate to have seem multiple close encounters with all the big 5 and more. We have seem family groups of elephants, single lions and a group of three male lions right next to the road, at least 5 rhino’s in mating pairs, buffalo in singles and groups, hippopotami in family groups and a single leopard resting in a tree about 150 metres off the road.
The highlight for me was a walk in Kruger with just Carolyn and two rangers both armed with rifles. We saw a number of animals including a family of elphants about 100 metres from us, but we will never forget meeting up with a lone male buffalo who was drinking in a creek. He was just 10 metres in front on their own and can be very aggressive.
After our experiences here in Africa I have a greater understanding of the importance of DGE John Glassford’s initiative to form the Rotary Action Group for Endangered Species – https://www.endangeredrag.org/
Please have a look at their website and consider joining their worthwhile cause.
Highlight of this week was catching up with Rotary friends from D1080 where I led the D9700 GSE team in 2008. Howard Olby a member of the D1080 GSE team who is now second in charge of security for Norfolk and Suffolk Police, arranged for us to attend the Church service at the chapel at Sandringham Castle. No photos were allowed.
We were priveleged to see the Queen, Prince Phillip, the Princess Royal and her husband and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attend the service last Sunday.
We had lunch afterwards at a pub with Howard and his family and Sarah Jane Lumley another of the D1080 team and her partner Garry.
On Tuesday we attended the weekly meeting of the Rotary Club of Norwich St. Edmunds. We enjoyed the fellowship of quite a few of my hosts from 10 years ago.
This week we have travelled from Norfolk to Oxford and now to Clovelly in Devon. Tomorrow we fly to Dubai for a few days.
This is an interesting article.