RadioRotary co-hosts Jonah Triebwasser and Sarah O’Connell interview Rotarians Pat Green and Gail Dejmal of the Monroe-Woodbury club about their participation in Project Amigo and about the humanitarian activities of their Rotary club. Project Amigo consists of a number of ways that Rotarians and others can improve the lives of the rural poor in Colima State, Mexico, many of them migrant workers. It began informally in 2984 when California Rotarian Tom Rose lost his way in Colima and came upon the small village of Cofradía de Suchitlàn. Recognizing the unmet needs of the villagers, Rose and his wife Susan Hill began to provide assistance, which eventually blossomed into Project Amigo, which today brings volunteers from the United States, Canada, and Mexico to Colima to help with literacy projects, health projects, and more. One way volunteers, such as Pat Green and Gail Dejmal had helped is participating in “work weeks,” that are devoted to eye care or literacy. Also discussed on the program are some of Monroe-Woodbury’s projects, such as ringing the bells for donations during the holiday season.
RadioRotary co-host Jonah Triebwasser, in Sydney, interviews Rotarians from the United States who are also visiting the Convention and others who work with Rotary. Kurt Johnsen from the New Windsor-Cornwall Rotary in Orange County, New York, describes the Rotary Foundation and its progress in the fight to eradicate polio. His wife, Ana Johansen, talks about E-Club 7210, which—although based in District 7210 has members from around the world—provides credits for a Rotary meeting via the Internet as well as doing community service. Past District Governor Ernie Montane, from the Tucson Sunrise Club in Arizona recounts how a visit to West Africa some years ago led to 88 Rotary clubs working together to provide clean water and other services in Togo and Niger. Montane was at the Convention a day early to participate in WASRAG (the Water and Sanitation Rotary Action Group). Liz Odell was representing ShelterBox, the compact box that supplies tents and supplies in disasters. Rotarian Floyd Hammer, from Iowa discusses the origin of Outreach, which began as a construction project at a leper-care facility and not, among other projects, packages three kinds of meals for needy people all over the world. Cat O’Brien reports on Rotary Peace Fellowships, master’s degree and professional programs centering on peace that are paid for by the Rotary Foundation.
In January of 2011 retired Saugerties (NY) English teacher Nancy Lanni visited Haiti, with a construction team helping repair the damage. While there, she was invited to teach as a substitute, where she observed first-hand the emotional as well as physical damage to the young children on the remote island of La Gonáve, a primitive land where people still live in stone huts and use donkeys for transportation and farming. Schools in Haiti are not free, so only about 50% of children attend one in this impoverished land. Ms. Lanni decided to continue teaching in Haiti, learning Creole, the language of Haiti, and also began raising money for a school on La Gonáve where currently all six grades are taught in one room of a community church. Using local labor and materials paid for by money Ms. Lanni raised in the U.S., a new, earthquake-resistant, six-room schoolhouse is about to open at the start of 2015. The inspiring story of how this was accomplished is the subject of the RadioRotary interview.
RadioRotary interviews four members of Rhinebeck Rotary at the historic Beekman Arms during the Club’s regular Monday lunch: David Albahary, Nat Charny, Club President Phil Meltzer, and Barbara Markell. One of the main projects sponsored by the Club is improving a school near León, Nicaragua. The main workers in Nicaragua each year are about 20 Interact students from the local high school, aided by school counselors and adult chaperones. The students mix concrete, dig trenches, and otherwise work all day during their visit to site, while during the rest of the year they raise from $10,000 to $20,000 for the project. Locally, Rhinebeck Rotary is proud of the work of the Community Service Committee, which handles projects that Rhinebeck residents are unable to deal with themselves, ranging from plumbing to carpentry. Rhinebeck is also one of the Clubs in the District that participates annually in the Youth Exchange Program, bringing one or two students from abroad each year to live with families in Rhinebeck and attend the local high school. The main source of funds for all these projects is an annual golf tournament, which has more than 100 golfers and many sponsors, especially the local banks.