Rotarians from across District 7710 renewed our international friendships with our gracious amigos from the Santiago Monumental Rotary Club, Dominican Republic. During the week of February 4–11, 33 volunteers from North Carolina traveled to the Dominican Republic to build 53 latrines, repair three houses, build a community playground and much, much more!
This fifth year’s trip was initiated by Past District Governor Rick Carnagua, who created this ongoing relationship with his counterpart, District Governor Alexandra Martinez from Santiago while attending District Governor School in San Diego. The Central Johnston, Clayton, Cary, Cary MacGregor and Cary Page Clubs provided the initial funds for the District Grant. Almost every club in the district added in to the Community Fund to make this endeavor a smashing success.
PDG Rick has had additional District 7710 support from other 7710 District Governor’s experiencing the trip first-hand, Leigh Hudson, Matthew Kane, Newman Aguilar, Rusine Sinclair and Barry Phillips are all Dominican Republic veterans. Even District Governor Elect Shafi was set to go this year until he encountered his Pickle Ball predicament. Rick brought in Martin Tetreault to handle the planning of the project agenda with his counterpart, David Crow. Linda Sproat jumped on board to coordinate all of the volunteer travel plans, special requests & communication information and rooming details. Once our team arrived, George Harry, Ron Blackley and Rex Everhart herded the on-the-ground volunteer activities and work with our gracious hosts, the Santiago Monumental Rotary Club Team.
The efforts of the Santiago Monumental Rotarians before, during and after our week in Santiago were, as their name depicts, “Monumental”! Arranging for a week’s worth of food, transportation, lodging, and entertainment for 33 North Carolina 7710 Rotarians would be hard enough. Then came the challenges of building latrines, repairing dilapidated homes and creating a community playground.
The Dominican Rotarians leading their efforts were David Crow – Master Planner; Cesar Lopez – Club President and Los Cocos Community Coordinator; Rafael Lopez – Playground, Maximo Dominguez – Latrine Construction, Diana Abreu and Rosalina Dominguez – Entertainment and Community / Family Supplies; Ricardo Jimenez – Financial Controller. Even the Rotaract and Interact clubs brought high energy exciting the local youth with songs and games during the playground ceremonies.
The latrines were a combined effort of the actual families digging the holes, Maximo & Aneury & crew pouring the slabs and stools, transporting them over the holes and laying a layer of concrete blocks as the base for the walls. The NC Team cut the wood siding and frame lumber. Then assembled the pieces in place, adding a zinc roof and a door with a Rotary Wheel painted on it. The Santiago Monumental Rotarians coordinated with the local Rotary Corp in Los Cocos to locate latrine sites for the (53) selected families needing latrines to improve sanitary conditions. Ron Blackley lead our latrine team finishing on Thursday allowing a little time for celebrating with the families with supplies of mosquito bed nets, sheets, soap, paper products, sandals, clothing and an assortment of toys supplied by District 7710 Rotarians and the Community Funds donated by our clubs and individuals.
The house repairs were completed on 3 of the 5 selected houses. Material was bought and left for the local families to complete the other houses. Re-siding, re-roofing, building roof supports gave the houses new life. Josh Davis and Mike McLean headed up our housing crew with several others joining them.
The playground project brought a sense of community and enjoyment. Martin Tetreault coordinated the layout and installation with Rafael Lopez and Dinora Borrelly, architect. David Crow and Cesar Lopez negotiated a win-win with the Los Cocos – Jacagua Mayor William. Rex Everhart designed and built the wooden climber, truck, tire trees, and benches. The grandmothers were all smiles when they found out they could sit, talk and watch the children play. Seesaws, swings, jogging path and a tire picnic table filled the park with painted tire dividers brightening the layout. The centerpiece was the Dragon made out of painted tires. The Opening Ceremony can only be described as pure joy!
There was a dedication of the Otra Banda Medical Clinic that our 7710 provided assistance to CISAMA, the Church, the DR Government and Synergies to build. DG Leigh led 5 of our team to participate in their celebration. The medical clinic provides a clean medical building for medical and dental exams and treatments.
The week was not all work. Our group was taken up into the mountain village of Jarabcoa where a resort provided us a Sunday buffet, a mountain river and pools to swim, and magnificent trails and hanging bridges to wander. The annual Carnival Celebration was over the top with a parade, music and entertainment from various groups all over Santiago. Diana Abreu arranged a VIP viewing stand that put us almost in the parade itself. Every evening meal was special as we experienced The Santiago Monumental meeting including a visit from their DG Morris Tallaj and Monumental’s own DGE Roberto Almonte greeting our PDG Leigh. A country cooking demonstration was brought to the Fab Workshop by Yanet Dominguez and Lydia Sanchez including fire pit brewed coffee and yummy coconut / cocoa desserts. The Finale Celebration Friday night was highlighted with our awarding Maximo Dominguez with a Paul Harris Fellow along with a “PDG Barry Phillips” framed watercolor of the first latrine built in 2013. Yes there was a trip to the Porto Plata Beach, the Lopez Cigar Factory, the Leon Museum and a power-shopping lunch in downtown Santiago.
There is only one-way to truly understand the heart-filling experience that we were privileged to have. Just start making plans to join us for the next Dominican Republic 2018 Adventure.
All is well here. This semester is flying by just as quickly as last semester did; we’ve just finished week 6 out of 11, and classes are still going well. We submitted our first round of papers, and are already starting on our final essays. One of my assignments was to write a blog post about a significant recent achievement in international development and one development institution that played a role. I chose the near-eradication of polio and…Rotary! If you’re interested in reading it, I can send a copy after I receive my marks and feedback.
In dissertation news, I am interviewing for a work-based placement with an organization in Glasgow to do my research and should have confirmation one way or another in the next two weeks.
One of the other scholars and I went to a Rotary club near Glasgow on Monday evening to give presentations about our hometowns, academic/”professional” backgrounds, studies, and future career plans. It was a wonderful evening; neither of us had delivered a presentation for a Rotary club before, and the members were so welcoming and engaged, it made for an easy, relaxed, and enjoyable experience. I’m delivering another presentation at a club east of Edinburgh next Tuesday.
Speaking of Rotary, the crocuses are blooming!
Some notable London/Edinburgh experiences:
- Colstoun House, Edinburgh. It’s the oldest house in Scotland, on several acres of farmland, and the property also has a cookery school. I took part in a day-long Thai cooking course there, and had an absolute blast.
- Portobello Beach. It’s still too chilly to go for a swim (although not for some Scots, apparently), but the beachfront is charming. The boardwalk is lined with crepe and ice cream stands, brunch places, beautiful Regency-style townhouses, and an arcade.
- Panda and Sons. Some friends took my partner and me to an old-fashioned speakeasy in Edinburgh’s New Town. It looks like a barbershop on the outside, but once you go down the staircase and through the double-doors disguised as bookcases, you enter a dim, cozy, wood-paneled whisky and cocktail bar.
- Camera Obscura and World of Illusions. This is an unusual museum next to Edinburgh Castle; it’s six floors of optical illusions, so probably not an ideal destination for anyone with vertigo…
- National Gallery, National Museum of Scotland, Usher Hall. The first two are excellent museums, and Usher Hall is a beautiful concert venue.
- Wallace Collection, London. The Wallace Collection is a museum in an historic London townhouse (read: mansion) full of art (porcelain, paintings, etc.) from the 15th-19th centuries, furniture, and a sizable armory.
- Victoria and Albert Museum. The art and history museum is just south of Hyde Park and would take weeks to get through. My favorite exhibits were the jewelry/gemstone collection, ancient Islamic art exhibit, and the rooms of ceramics.
I hope all is well at home and that the basketball fans are gearing up for March Madness. I’m sending good thoughts for your brackets.
All the best,
GLOBAL SCHOLARSHIP DEADLINES
Study abroad scholarships continue as The Rotary Foundation’s oldest and best known program since it was established in 1947. We are almost at the conclusion of the District’s first year participation in the revised Ambassadorial program. Based on our scholar’s reports from the University of Edinburgh, it has been a truly rewarding and exciting year for her.
We are quickly approaching the dates for this year’s selection process. Be reminded of the following deadlines:
April 21, 2017 – Application to Club Committees
May 12, 2017 – Applications to District Committee
June 3, 2017 – District Interviews
Information to assist you in the selection process can be found on the District webpage. Go to The Rotary Foundation, click on Global Scholarships and you will find copies of the Scholarship Manual, the Global Scholarship Flyer and the Scholarship Application.
Check out this new Happy Feet promotional video for the District Conference starring DG Rusine Sinclair and PDG Rick Carnegue.
Casino Night for North Raleigh, and a Gala for Lillington, Wines Around the World for Morrisville
The Rotary Club of North Raleigh’s
1st Annual Casino Night Fund Raiser
Saturday March 28, 2015
7 – 10:30 PM
NC State University Club
4200 Hillsborough St, Raleigh
Enjoy an evening of fun, food and prizes!! Heavy appetizers and two free drinks per person.
Exciting silent auction items for the highest bidders.
Tickets $75/per person.
Proceeds help support Raleigh area charities.
Tickets on sale NOW !
Professional gaming and dealers:
1st Prize: 51″ Samsung HDTV
2nd Prize: Lady’s & Gentleman’s Fashion Watches
3rd Prize: Samsung Tablet
To purchase tickets visit www.winesaroundtheworld.org or call Michele Nicklis at 919-656-0655.
Proceed from the event supports most of our charitable activities including: Alzheimer’s of NC, Cary Family YMCA, The Carying Place, Dorcan Ministries, Boys/Girls Home of NC, Interact Scholarship, District projects such as MLK Day, Duke/UNC Rotary Peace Center, End Polio Now, and Zimbabwe Eye Project.
As a member of a 37 person Rotary work team that traveled to the Dominican Republic last month, I saw firsthand the power Rotary can bring to a poor community seeking to carve out a better future for themselves and their children. Armed with a $34,000 Global Grant from The Rotary Foundation, we partnered with Rotarians from the Santiago Monumental Club to build and install 94 latrines for families living in homes constructed of wood planks with weathered tin roofs.
The highlight of the trip for me was the afternoon I spent at their community school, Santa Maria, in a classroom of High School Juniors. This school is a public school but Santiago area Rotarians have solicited the help of local foundations to invest resources and vision to give the school the look and feel of a private school. These students were excited to tell us about the service project they had just completed using a $1000 grant our district had given them one year ago. Over the course of 3 months, these students had approached dozens of homes, knocked confidently on the door, and said “I am a student at Santa Maria School down the street. I would like to paint one wall of your home at no charge. Which of these 7 colors do you prefer?” The reaction in the community was fantastic and the students returned in groups of 2 with paint brushes and youthful vigor. They told me the next problem they want to tackle is reducing litter in the streets by distributing trashcans in key locations. These students are learning they can be agents of change in their own community!
So there it is: we as Rotarians identified the need for improved sanitation, rolled up our sleeves, and made a small dent in a global problem. Along the way we helped the community help themselves. I am proud to be a Rotarian. I hope you are too.
Matthew Kane, District Governor 2014-2015
Rotary International 7710
How Lives are Changed
“A mentally, emotionally, and physically challenging week in/around Santiago, Dominican Republic. Partnering with the fantastic hard working Club, Rotario Santiago Monumental, on building 90+ latrines and planning the foundation for a health and sanitation program for the years to come starting at the schools. Each person pictured and those who aren’t, yet helped us, are the most amazing people I’ve ever met and got to build a stronger relationship with each and every day side by side for a true Service Above Self mission!”
Patrick McCoy of the Cary MacGregor Rotary Club
The Dominican Republic Clean Water project had four objectives:
- Build latrines
- Provide water filters
- Teach the importance of hand washing, and
- Meeting basic community needs
During the one week, the 37 Rotarians accomplished the following:
- Build 95 latrines, making for a total of 250 over the last three years
- Renovated 26 homes
- Provided educational sessions on leadership, public health and nursing
- Held a health screening session attended by over 400 people
- Provided sheets, towels and other household items to families
The following montage of pictures were provided from the various photographs posted on the Rotary Dominican Latrine Project Facebook page by Pat Bridges, David Crowe, Patrick McCoy, Kelly Norman, Subir Mukherjee and Carlos Pantaleon.
Mark your calendar for the Annual Luther H. Hodges Ethics Luncheon!
This year’s keynote speaker is Sandy Costa, former President and Chief Operating Officer of Quintiles Transnational Corporation. Sandy’s professional experience includes over 40 years in executive and managerial positions within the pharmaceutical, health care and life sciences industries, and as a legal practitioner. He has overseen worldwide business development during periods of explosive growth. Who better to speak to us on practical issues of ethics? “The most valuable knowledge we can possess is what I call ‘Authentic Knowledge.’ That is the knowledge we glean through our life experiences,” says Costa. To learn more about Costa visit his website http://www.santocosta.com
Who: Mr. Sandy Costa,
What: Annual Luther H. Hodges Ethics Luncheon
Where: Research Triangle Park Foundation, 12 Davis Drive, RTP, NC
When: Monday, May 4th, 12:00 noon – 1:30 p.m.
The Annual Luther H. Hodges Ethics Luncheon is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Research Triangle Park. Tickets, sponsorship opportunities and additional information will be available at http://www.rtprotary.org
The Durham, Southwest Durham, and Chapel Hill-Carrboro Sunrise Rotary Clubs partnered with Duke University, Durham Tech, and the United Way of the Greater Triangle on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service to bring desperately needed meals to the Triangle area During the four hour event at Durham Technical Community College, volunteers created soup mixes, rice bags, and bean bags to fill the shelves of pantries in the Triangle area In an amazing effort by our community, more than 400 volunteers assembled close to 84,000 meals to be distributed to partner agencies working to end hunger in Durham, Orange, Wake, and Johnston Counties.
This effort was the kick-off event to the Durham Rotary Club’s Centennial Year, with the theme of “100 Acts of Service.”
This year the Cleveland School Rotary club coordinated an event to create meal packages for the Stop the Hunger organization. Working with five Rotary clubs and one Interact Club, during the two hour blitz, 80 volunteers created packages for 20,000 meals. The Club has organized this annual event for the last six years, creating over 100,000 meals for distribution to needy people in third world countries.
Pictured right representing the different Clubs are: Kim Lewter, Cleveland School Interact (left); Don Wells, Cleveland Morning; Laura Nelson, Clayton Midday; Chuck Killian, Garner Midday; John Long, Clayton Morning and Phil Cummins, Garner Morning.