President’s Comment – 11 Feb 18 (16 February 2018)

Hi All,

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.

President’s Comment – 4 Feb 18 (4 February 2018)

Hi All,

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.

Two brothers take aim at eradicating Hepatitis

brothers take aim at eliminating hepatitis

On the way to Paraguay, one month into the expedition.

By Fred Mesquita, Rotary Club of São Paulo-Jardim das Bandeiras, São Paulo, Brazil

Two brothers, a car, one important social cause, a lot of courage, and many adventures along the way. That’s how our Expedition “Me Leva Junto” (Take me with you) began in October 2015, now more commonly known as the “Hepatitis Zero Expedition.”

My brother José Eduardo and I completed the first stage of our expedition, the Americas, in December, traveling through 20 countries and visiting 274 cities on the American continent. All our efforts are volunteer; there is no sponsorship from any company or organization.

Fred Mesquita and his brother, José Eduardo, in Nicaragua preparing for a newspaper interview.

When we started our journey, we set a goal of carrying out hundreds of thousands of Hepatitis C exams and visiting all the world’s continents. Besides having a direct impact on more than 50,000 people, we never dreamed that we would lunch with a country’s president, swim with a whale shark, or be the guests of honor at a banquet with a homeless person who only had a mud hut to live in. Our experiences have also included difficulties like almost being kidnapped in Mexico and having our tent freeze and car break down due to extreme cold in Patagonia.

There are so many adventures and challenges that we have recorded in our virtual book; which narrates the twists and turns of our expedition. In Brazil, we performed approximately 10,000 rapid tests and diagnosed more than 100 hepatitis sufferers who had their lives saved when they were diagnosed and directed for treatment. Our aim is to bring knowledge and guidance to thousands of people worldwide who have hepatitis and have not been diagnosed. We have visited Rotary clubs throughout the Americas as well as meeting with health authorities and experts at universities and other locations.

Countries visited include Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, United States, Cuba, Canada, Iceland.

You can support our effort by visiting our crowdfunding campaign. All of the proceeds of our virtual book go to supporting our expedition.

President’s Comment – 28 Jan 18 (29 January 2018)

Hi All,

Please have a look at this new initiative by Rotary Clubs in Australia to eliminate Trachoma in Australia by 2020. I think we should support the program. Let us know how our Club should respond.

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2302933639749043&id=184480288261066

We have completed a great week of skiing in Zermatt. It has been their best snow year for 18 years and the skiing was exceptional. The views are spectacular and a must for anyone interested in travelling. We are travelling in this comming week to Norfolk, England where I led a Rotary GSE team ten years ago. We are looking forward to renewing friendships formed back then. We will be attending the Rotary Club of Norwich St. Edmunds, D1080, next Tuesday hosted by PP Mark Little who hosted me on arrival ten years ago. Mark is an exceptional Rotarian. He established the Rotary Action Group – Rotarians Against Slavery after many years of submissions and dedicated lobbying. This action group is now being widely accepted by Rotarians around the world and great steps forward are being made in many countries as a result. I recommend looking at their website –

http://ragas.online

President’s Comment – 21 Jan 18 (20 January 2018)

Hi All,

This week I have shared on Our Facebook site to he Rotary International President Elect Barry Rassin’s speach to the his DG’s last week.

Our Prexident Elect Marilyn Roberts has email all notifying the next Zoom meeting on Wednesday 31st January. Please contact her if you do not receive the email with the meeting link.

We leave today for Zermatt for another week of sking.

 

 

 

President’s Comment – 14 Jan 18 (14 January 2018)

Greetings from La Tzoumaz, Switzerland

We arrived in Geneva and enjoyed a day exploring the old town and shopping area. On a tour of the International area we saw the various UN Headquarter buildings as well as many embassies and NGO headquarters such as Red Cross. A fascinating city but smaller than expected. It has a population of about 200,000 but each day another 200,000 travel from France to work in Geneva. The French border is only 10 klms from the centre of tbe city. 

We traveled by train along the beautiful shores of Lake Leman commonly called Lake Geneva by tourists to Riddes. Then by mini-bus to La Tzoumaz.

La Tzoumaz is a ski resort in the Swiss Alps, in the canton of Valais. It is part of the “Four Valleys” ski area, which consists of various ski resorts, including Verbier, Nendaz, Veysonnaz, La Tzoumaz, and Thyon.

We are here for one week of skiing and the snow is good.

Our Club President Elect Marilyn Roberts will be emailing all memberswith details of a meeting to be held on Zoom at the end of the month. Please give her support while I am enjoying my holiday.


 

President’s Comment – 7 Jan 18 (6 January 2018)

Hi All,

Welcome to 2018. This week i wish to share the unique stories of three Rotarians from different countries and Clubs. These are just some of the stories of  members of Rotary International that make you proud to belong to this wonderful service organisation.

 

Be a millennial in Rotary

Dominick Bonny, Rotary Club of Wenatchee North, Wash.

Rotary is weird. Rotarians are old, mostly. They sing songs and say the Pledge of Allegiance before meetings. They tell lame jokes. 

But they also organize highway trash cleanups, blood drives, and literacy fairs. They raise money for students to study abroad, and they open their homes to foreign students studying here. They are fixated on eradicating polio. Yes, polio is still a thing.

I’m 32. I joined Rotary three years ago when Earl Tilly, a leader I respect in our community, invited me. At my first meeting, I didn’t see a lot of faces my age, but I found that I fit in well with the Rotary mindset of Service Above Self. I remember thinking, “Oh, wow. I’m home.” Earl has since become a mentor to me. He’s 83 and still plays tennis and bikes regularly. He was mayor of our town, then our state representative. I admire him and the way he has lived his life. I find that people in Rotary do a lot of good, but not for self-promotion. I really respect and want to emulate that. 

I run a social media and marketing company. I manage web pages for our local newspaper, three school districts, and other organizations. Part of my job is to monitor comments from the public, which means I’m in a quagmire of social media trolls every day. People are just terrible to one another online. They say awful, malicious things. It’s a downer. For me, Rotary is a way to unplug from that. I think the path back to a more civil society is through our clubs. While social media is good for a lot of things, it’s not good for breaking down the walls we build between us. Rotary offers a neutral space where I can gather with other people, even those I may not see eye-to-eye with on every issue, and focus on what really matters – making the world a better place. 

Being in Rotary hasn’t been a total honeymoon. I went through a period when I wondered if it was for me. After I joined, I took over running our social media and built a new website for our club. I also started promoting Rotary to my network, but it didn’t feel as though we were making any progress or any other young people were going to join. But I had made a commitment to show up, so I stuck with it. To volunteer for stuff. I’m glad I did. Our club is almost half younger people now. It has added a bit of urgency to our lunch meetings, since not everyone is retired anymore. 

So what’s it like to be a millennial in Rotary? To most young people, Rotary is old-fashioned. For me, that’s what makes it cool. People in my peer group tend to isolate themselves. We are connected by technology, but not truly connected. Rotary is my antidote to that. 

As told to Vanessa Glavinskas

 

Be the Justin Bieber of Korea

Julian Quintart, Rotary Youth Exchange, Korea, 2004-05

There was never any question that I would go on a Rotary Youth Exchange, because my whole family has been through that program. My mom went from Belgium to the United States in 1973, my older brother went to the States too, and my sister went to New Zealand. My parents always emphasized how important it is to travel and see the world from a new view.

When I told Rotary that I wanted to visit Korea, they were a little surprised. This was 2004, and for most Europeans, Korea was just the name of a country that you might find on some cheap gadget. But I had a classmate who was half Korean, and I got interested in the culture, the music, and this form of animation called manga. So I asked Rotary, and to my surprise they said yes, I could go. It was a bit like asking Santa Claus for a car. You never think it’s going to happen. 

When I landed at the airport, there was a crowd of people jumping up and down with a big banner and a TV camera. I didn’t think it could be for me. I’m just some kid from Belgium. Then the cameraman came over to interview me. I told my friend back home, “Oh, I’m going to be a TV star here!” I was just joking, but later on this became true. 

At that time, the only thing I knew how to say in Korean was, “Hello, I am a human. Hello, I am not a dog.” But I spent a lot of time talking to Koreans, who are very outgoing, and after six months I started to be fluent. A friend of mine was making a TV show about foreigners who travel the Korean countryside. He asked me to appear, because I was this young Belgian guy who could speak Korean. The show aired after I returned to Belgium, and it was a crazy success. There were hundreds of messages on the chat boards, and it was the No. 1 Google search. The producer called me and said, “You have to come back.”

I was just 18 and was supposed to go to university, but suddenly I had a chance to go back to a country I loved and be on TV. My parents were very supportive. They said, “Of course you have to do this. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime.” 

I spent the next few years doing TV and movies in Korea. Then I learned how to be a DJ. I got a lot of offers to do TV again, but I always said no, because as a foreigner you always come off a bit like a clown. Then, a couple of years ago, I got a call about a show called Non-Summit, which looked at Korean life in a more serious way. It featured people from all over the world and discussed real issues, such as gay marriage or whether to allow a parent to move in with you. Each person discussed how an issue was dealt with in their own country. 

The show was lighthearted, but it was also a chance for Koreans to talk about social issues, and it was a huge success. At that point, I experienced a totally different level of fame. I could not walk in the streets without getting mobbed. People were knocking on my door and taking pictures all the time. I remember one time we had a big event in Seoul, and the whole street was filled with screaming people. I felt like I was in a zombie movie, where you’re trying to get from Point A to Point B without getting eaten. It was scary. Honestly, it was like what Justin Bieber experiences.

For about a year, I did six shows every week, along with interviews and other appearances. It was an amazing experience. These days, I do a lot more charity work. I just finished cycling around Korea, raising money for local hospitals. I feel I was given a voice, and I want to use that voice for something good.

That comes back to Rotary, really, the philosophy that life is about helping other people. Sometimes that’s on a big scale, but sometimes it’s as simple as sending a student to a foreign country.

As told to Steve Almond

 

Walk 27,000 miles for peace

Danny Garcia, E-Club of District 7210

I first started walking back in 1996. I had gone through a divorce. I was so broken that I didn’t feel I had any life. I had this idea that I could walk for peace, and I think I was also looking for some kind of inner peace. 

Are you inspired to work for peace? Join the Rotarian Action Group for Peace at rotarianactiongroupforpeace.org.

I took off from San Francisco, headed toward San Diego. That first day I walked 30 miles in the pouring rain. I was soaking wet and only had $48 in my pocket. No credit cards. No nothing. I came to a hotel in Half Moon Bay, and the manager was wondering what I was doing. I told him, “Well, I need a room, but I don’t have any money.” But he said, “Hey, it’s OK. You can stay here as long as you need to.” That act of kindness really launched my 20 years of walking. 

Then a friend of mine called the Marines, because I’m a former Marine, and they said, “Don’t go anywhere. We’re coming.” And three Humvees ended up being my escort vehicles. 

I spent three months walking across the United States. The media picked up on the story, and I got a lot of support. I’ve now done walks on six continents. What has kept me going is the love and support of the people I’ve met. That’s how I got involved with Rotary, because we’re really doing the same work, pushing to help those in need, pushing for charity and kindness and cultural exchange. Rotarians are special people. They’re like a giant family. And they don’t just talk, they do. That’s what I love about them. 

And I need the support, because it can be dangerous out there. I’ve been clipped by cars. The backblast from semitrailers can literally knock you off the side of the road. I’ve encountered mudslides and sandstorms and lightning and rattlesnakes. I remember walking in a remote area in Florida, and I looked up and saw a tornado coming straight at me. Things were being tossed up in the air. I had to run for my life. Another time, I saw a pack of wild dogs coming at me. I didn’t have time to get to my escort vehicle, and you can’t assume a position of fear anyway. So I took my walking stick and I faced them down. 

I’ve walked in all kinds of weather. I once walked in snow up to my knees. I was wearing my pack and I fell on my face, and the pack was weighing me down. And I’ll tell you, I wanted to quit. But I didn’t quit, because I heard this voice inside me that said, “Get up and walk.” And then off in the distance I saw a French Red Cross vehicle coming to be my escort. Those are the moments that I know this is a calling for me. 

I’m 72 years old now, and I thought my walking days were pretty much over. I was living in Florida, trying to downsize and retire and enjoy the sun. But when I asked what I was supposed to do with my life now, I knew the answer: I had to start walking again. I’m in Jerusalem now. I don’t know where exactly I’ll go from here. The way I travel is that I take one step at a time. But I do know this part of the world is in need of peace. 

I don’t know what’s next. Actually, I do have one idea. I haven’t told anyone else, but I’d really love to go to the Vatican, and I’d like to ask the pope to walk with me. Just a short walk, even, where we can talk and pray together. Does that sound crazy? Maybe so. But I’ve seen a lot of miracles out here.

As told to Steve Almond

President’s Comment – 31 Dec 17 (1 January 2018)

Best wishes to all for a happy and prosperous 2018.

Remember you still have time to register for the International Convention to be held 23rd to 27th June 2018 in Toronto, Canada. For further details and booking please open the link below:

http://www.riconvention.org/en/toronto

President’s Comment – 24 Dec 17 (24 December 2017)

Merry Christmas to All

.

I would like to wish all members a safe and merry Christmas. Enjoy your family and your holiday break.

Carolyn and I will be overseas from Wednesday 10th January until Sunday 11th March 2018. I will try to attend meetings during our time away but with time differences and unknown Wifi connectivity our President Elect Marilyn with the assistance of Secretary Debbie Schache, will be conducting the meetings twice per month.

 

Little Paths Christmas Appeal (19 December 2017)

Little Paths Australia – Mwanza, Tanzania

RAWCS Project 68 of 2009-10

Please consider donating to Little Paths, Mwanza, Tanzania, one of our Club projects below:

This Christmas period, we are aiming to raise $10,000 to help us to keep kids in school, off the streets and safely cared for by their families, in Tanzania. We simply insist and we hope you will too – that no child should ever leave their family looking for the opportunity to survive extreme poverty, this Christmas or any other.

Help us fight poverty by contributing a gift towards educational scholarships and family supports.

Raising $10,000 this Christmas period, will help us to continue our fight for safety, family and educated futures, to improve vulnerable lives.

 

President’s Comment – 17 Dec 17 (17 December 2017)

Hi All,

Our next meeting will be a social meeting on Wednesday 20th December at 7.30pm Eastern Daylight Saving Time. Also we will induct a new member – Monica Vaughan and announce another award.

If you are not a member and wish to attend please notify – johnroberson@bigpond.com 

I found the article below on how to use social media more effectively. Applying some of these principles could assist our Club as we utilize this medium more to get our message out to the public.

It provides some useful information to help you to create and publish your social media to better effect.