JESSICA LACSON and KAREN LEE
Engineers Without Borders at WVRC on March 31st
JACK PAUL led off with the Invocation; His subject was Empathy, and that came from his parents. We have several religions Christianity, Judaism, Muslims and others...We try to understand other people…Whatever our political persuasion…we have humanitarian goals including combating HIV, Polio, and Wheelchairs in Latin America. Plus homelessness in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. These are what members of this club have done…by applying the Golden Rule. We respect each other, we listen to each other, and we love each other that, indeed, brings us together and to that I say, Amen. JACK, excellent! Thanks. ED JACKSON led the Pledge, plus The Four Way Test. RICK BROUS took us through You’re a Grand Old Flag.
We had several guests. ED JACKSON brought his Special Guest, Christa Stilley, who is the Director of the Salvation Army Home that we work with. Ms Gene Doherty belongs to the Club at Portsmouth, NH, and her category is Volunteer/Education. She tells us they have 250 members! MARIE ROLF and PAT BUMPAS came together. In addition to the two speakers, Nathan Griffin attended he is the UCLA President of Engineers Without Borders. And after a dedicated search, neither ATHENA nor BRIAN could identify any non-pinners.
JOHN HEIDT reminded us of two events the Village Cleanup, which will be on Sunday, April 17th 400 students are expected, and JOHN needs us to help as supervisors, etc please call him. We will be shopping for and preparing dinner for Turning Point, the OPPC Daybreak Center, on April 21st, and again, John needs volunteers to help, please.
The last District Breakfast of this Rotary Year will be April 12th, and Christine Devine is the speaker. Call President GORDON if you can attend. LEO TSENG reported that they delivered 65 Easter Baskets to the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA this is his third year doing this, and he particularly wanted to thank ELOISE SISKEL, PAT ANDERSON and DWIGHT HEIKKILA for their assistance.
While I’m handing out kudos, at the last Reading To Kids program, the general subject was Music. Rotaract Member Brent Woo played two different violins, the flute and his keyboard, and his audience was very appreciative. And we are coming up again next Saturday, the 9th JOHN O’KEEFE, ED JACKSON, YOE, and probably MARSHA HUNT will be there. The waters fine c’mon in, please!
The UCLA Naval ROTC Award Ceremony will be next Saturday, 10:30 am at USC, and we are presenting a ships clock to Officer Candidate James Kim. I can’t be there because of Reading To Kids, and if you would be available, I’d sure like to hear from you. Do call me, please.
We had two Speakers from UCLA Rotaract they are both active members of the UCLA Chapter of Engineers Without Borders. First up was Jessica Lacson, and she had an excellent power point system to help her. The project in which she participated was in Guatemala, and one of the reasons why they have a water shortage is that six months of the year there is plenty of rain, and in the other six months, almost none. So the need is to bridge the gap, somehow. In the rural areas most of the country the women and girls can spend most of their day carrying water from a river or lake in containers on their heads. This is hard work, and often it takes so long to go back and forth that there is no time left in the day. This means the girls are often not able to go to school. But added to that is the fact that much of this water is not really drinkable and water-bourne diseases are the leading cause of death among children in such areas.
Some background on Engineers Without Borders: They have 250 Chapters in the U.S., of which 180 are at Universities. The organization itself was founded in 2002, and the student chapter at UCLA is mentored by the LA Professional Chapter. The Faculty Advisor is Dr. Michael Stenstrom. and they have 21 active members here. The project illustrated was at Chocantarily, Guatemala. The village is about 150 miles from Guatemala City.
In 2010 they built five Rainwater Collection Systems. The goal for 2011-12 is another five Systems, plus an Instruction Manual based on their current experience. They used the $5000 from WVRC for materials - each participant paid their own airfare.
Jessica described the system that Engineers Without Borders is trying to install in Guatemala. The country itself borders the Pacific and Caribbean seas, and has an area of 45,542 square miles. The first need is to collect the rain water during the wet season. This is done by placing gutters on the roof of their homes. These gutters collect the runoff water, and it is then piped into a container tank. These tanks are alongside the home, and require a large hole to be excavated. It is then lined with two layers of cement, making it essentially waterproof. This container must have a roof, also of cement, and will hold about 500 gallons of water. Even with very little labor cost, these containers still cost about $750 each. Jessica participated in the installation/construction of these containers, so she has had direct experience with some of the difficulties they encounter.
Karen Lee is also one of our Ambassadorial Scholars, and she next reported on her project. This was in Nicaragua, also in a rural area. The country itself is composed of 57,145 square miles, making it slightly larger than Guatemala. The project with which she was involved was similar to that in Guatemala, except that they worked on building a school at the same time as installing a water catchment. The school was of course larger than a home, and thus had more roof area, which in turn provided more runoff. This meant they needed a larger catchment than the ones constructed in Guatemala. The problems were similar, of course and cost is a major problem.
Q&A How do you identify the town where you build? That is Site Assessment, and the way it works is for a professional, plus some students, to visit an area and see if conditions look favorable for them to install a catchment. Someone then announced that ALY SHOJI’S International Service Committee has pledged $1350 toward Engineers Without Borders and this was applauded, of course. How do you keep the catchment from leaking? This is a constant problem, and they have to watch the water level all the time. I think it was JOHN HEIDT who asked what kind of cement they were using, and somehow I didn’t get the answer. Do I understand that each catchment really only serves one family? Yes, that is the basis of the project.
It certainly is impressive for us to hear of the hands-on efforts of these two young women. Our support for Engineers Without Borders is certainly well-deserved.
Next week we have craft talks with BRIAN WHITNEY and TERRY DESOUSA.