ECUADOR VISIT by our ROTARACTORS, at WVRC on April 15th (Tax Day)
ART HENRY led us in the Pledge. I gave the Invocation: Father of us all, We gather once again on this beautiful day, for fellowship and nourishment. Please remind us that we are here largely by an accident of birth and we live in the most wonderful country in the world. We should always be thankful for that. And let us not forget the many who are less fortunate than we. When we can, help us to support those in need, even in our own country. Remind us to tell the wonderful story of Rotary, that its influence may continue to grow and help the world around us. We ask this in thy name, Amen.
And of course, once again LENNY came forward, uncertain as always what his latest disguise might be. Turns out that it is necessary for LENNY to travel worldwide to search out the most beautiful jewelry, and when he was in Jaipur in India, he met with the Maharajas. Naturally he had to have an appropriate hat, and it turned out to be a wonderful turban complete with trailing scarf. This being Tax Day, RICK BROUS provided the words to a touching rendition to the tune of The Battle Hymn of the Republic, entitled The Taxman Cometh. All were satisfied.
MARK ROGO had a Special Guest, Jon Swire, a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker. PP MIKE NEWMAN introduced our Ambassadorial Scholar, MASAKI NAKODA. ALIYAH LEVIN brought Bill Paul, who is from Redondo Beach , which makes him a Visiting Rotarian. PP HOMER NEWMAN was with Special Guest Terry De Susa, who is in real estate. PP STEVE SCHERER introduced his Special Guest, Christopher Hughes. And of course, SUNNY was with LENNY. The Head table was graced by FOUR Rotaractors Diana Gonzalez, Tiffany Panlilio, Jennifer Lee, and their President, Kency Nittler. DWIGHT HEIKKILA was up there, since he is Youth Chairman.
There were several announcements:
PP DON NELSON was in touch with PAT BUMPAS,, and BRIAN is home from the hospital, but still very weak after three weeks of Pneumonia. Please be in touch with them.
The District Conference is May 13th to the 16th, in La Quinta. In a turnaround from last year, we have NINE members attending, plus two Ambassadorial Scholars. There is still room for more, of course.
On that same date, our Auxiliary has chartered a bus, leaving from Westwood United Methodist church where you can park to take us for a guided tour of Union Station, followed by lunch at Empress Pavilion for an EIGHT COURSE lunch! Cost is $20, and MARGIE DOWNEY can take your check.
We have donated $5,000 to Reading To Kids, which is matched by the same amount from the Jack and Denny Smith Foundation. This is what we did last year, and several of our members are participating on the second Saturday of each month - these include ED JACKSON, MARSHA HUNT, PAT ANDERSON, and YOE, plus my grandson, Will Phelps and his girlfriend, Amanda Peck they drive up from Orange County! Rotaractors are ready to join us, and we expect several of them next month. This is a going concern, and we have lots of room if you wish to come along, OK? Give me a call anytime, please.
Prexy ED was very pleased to announce that our Matching Grant Application, submitted with the Rotary Club of Istanbul, for funding to help provide special equipment for the Rehabilitation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Hearing Impaired Children in the Medicine Faculty of Istanbul University has been approved! The total cost of the project is $25,000, and WVRC will contribute $6,000 (of which $2,200 was raised at our Turkish Delight Party). $4000 is being contributed by the Rotary Club of Istanbul, and the remaining $15,000 is provided by Rotary International funds. As you probably know, our own NEVIN SENKAN was instrumental in identifying this joint project, overseeing it, and raising money for it. NEVIN, we Thank You!
Before he introduced our Speakers, DWIGHT HEIKKILA conducted an informal survey of how many of our members might be interested in putting on a Career Day for the benefit of Rotaract. The response was mixed, and DWIGHT noted that he thought we had more Professionals than that! Anyway, stay tuned, please.
Our first Speaker was Kency Nittler, President of Rotaract. All those who spoke had a power point presentation backing them up, and the slides were excellent. She began by thanking us for the $500 each participant received from WVRC for the trip it literally made the difference in their going. They met not only Rotaractors from Quito, but others from clubs in the U.S. Ecuador is on the west coast of South America, and Quito is the Capital, and largest city. Right after they landed, they boarded a bus which took them to see a Retirement Home. This home is run by Rotary, and part of it has a workshop four, really, each of them devoted to teaching different job skills. Unemployment is very high, and thus job skills can make the difference.
Next up was Diane Gonzalez. The next morning they visited a school on the outskirts of Quito. They watch some athletics, and then proceeded to assemble wheel chairs which was the basic reason for this trip. Since they had met the seniors the day before, it was meaningful to be able to deliver working wheelchairs to them, of course. The school children put on a dance exhibition for everyone, which was fun to see. In the afternoon they gathered for a photo op around the Monument showing The Middle of the World, where latitude and longitude all read 000. Thus half of them stood in the Southern Hemisphere, and half stood in the Northern Hemisphere! They next climbed the monument dedicated to the Virgin, and had some excellent views from on high. They then went to the city center, and enjoyed dinner at a restaurant. They spent the evening there. The next morning they drove to the beach, where they enjoyed some special chocolates. Touring the Market was most interesting.
Here they saw HEIFFER in action! I should confess that this is my favorite charity, bar none, and they base their activity on providing farm animals to families. There is a major educational effort before the animals arrive, so those receiving them are both knowledgeable and comfortable taking good care of the animals. As just one example, a donation of $120 provides a goat to a deserving family. Goats are particularly valuable, since they can scavenge for food in unfavorable terrain, and their daily milk can be used by the family, particularly children. When the goats have kids, it is agreed that they will give the new goat to another family, so the chain goes on! Truly, this is a wonderful operation, and I have not only their monthly magazine, but some flyers telling more about what they do I will bring them next week, and I’d be very pleased to pass them along. This is a real winner please ask me for more information.
Afterward they had a dinner with Rotary a wonderful long table, very festive, filled with local delicacies. The locals put on another show for our visitors, demonstrating Slow Dancing, etc it was great fun for all. They even wore some of the ceremonial hats, which are heavy and unique, of course. This was better illustrated by the slides than my sketchy words but it was a highlight as far as everyone enjoying the program. They had one activity where they were strapped into chairs, and then whirled around, going upside down sometimes. They also saw some rare birds during this visit. They saw some silver leafs, which are used for local medicine. And they visited the Butterfly Park, which was sensational.
As a result of their efforts here in the states, Rotaract has raised more than $20,000 for work in Ecuador. It was wonderful seeing where some of this money was being spent. A question was this program tied to District 5280? Yes, all of us were from this District. All the girls were quite impressed with what they saw and again, they thanked us for our help! They found everyone to be most hospitable, and the opportunity to meet and mix with the locals was a wonderful experience. Kency, Diana, Jennifer and Tiffany, thank you very much for your inspiring report.
There was, of course, the wine drawing, and the winner was MARCIA BROUS. This is reputed to be the wine drunk by CPA’s on April 15th, after their final tax return is completed.
And the Thought for the Day
Never be afraid to do something new. Remember, amateurs built the Ark, professionals built the Titanic