Rotary International


Ian HS Riseley

Rotary District 5160 Governor:

Gary Vilhauer

Durham Rotary President:
Larry Bradley


Rowel Editor: Phil Price
Rowel Publisher: Jen Liu




March 6th, 2018


The  2018 Harvest Festival will be held on September 16, 2018


2017                                         Calendar for Durham Rotary



1 2 3
4 5 6
An interview of John Bidwell
(Jim Kirks)
7 8 9 10
11 12 13
14 15 16 17
18 19 20
No Meeting
21 22 23 24
District Assembly at Butte College, Chico Campus
Meeting of Record
25 26 27
28 29 30 31


1 2 3
No Meeting
4 5 6 7
8 9 10
11 12 13 14
15 16 17
18 19 20 21
22 23 24
25 26 27 28
29 30

President Larry Bradley opened the meeting at the BCCC.  He asked Steve Plume to lead the pledge, which he did.  Larry led us in singing “God Bless America”.  Jim Patterson then gave the invocation.  


President Larry reported that the Spring Training Session at Butte College, Chico, on March 24th will be a meeting of record.  It will replace the meeting scheduled for March 20th.  So each of you must register for the conference.  Each of you should have received one or more emails from the District with a link to the registration form.  It looks like the announcement below, except that the “Register Now” will only work from the email addressed to you.  If you did not receive or cannot find the email then please contact our District 5160 Training Committee Co-Chairs:
Bev Stupek
Kathy Suvia




March 13th:   Board Meeting at 5:00 pm.  Meeting at 6:00 pm


March 20th: No Meeting


March 24th: Spring Assembly (meeting of record)


March 27th: Meeting


April 3rd:  No Meeting


April 10th: 


April 17th:


April 24th:


May 1st:


May 8th:


May 15th:


If a Tuesday is not listed above, there is no meeting that week.

Eric Hoiland reported that the membership committee will meet on March 27th.  They have a number of prospects.




There were a number of spouses visiting tonight for the program.

John Moss introduced his wife, Kendra and his guests, whose names I do not get.

Eric Hoiland introduced several at his table, whose names I did not get either.  He was assessed $10 or a poor introduction.

Jen Liu introduce his wife, Pam and Larry’s wife Nancy.

I introduced my wife, Cindy and Jim Patterson’s wife, Nancy.

Mike Wacker introduced K.R.’s wife, Sharon and his wife Jan.




There will be a Board Meeting at 5:00 pm, before the next meeting.




The program has not been reported to me.




Camp Royal Interviews:  The Camp Royal interviews will take place on March 15th between 8:30 and noon.  The interview committee will be Mike Wacker, Roy Ellis, Steve Plume, Larry Bradley and Glenn Pulliam.


Dave Jessen to attend a Pre-PETS Conference:  Our President Elect Dave Jessen is continuing to attended district conferences, including the Spring Assemblies listed below.


The District 5160 Conference will be at the Hyatt Regency in Incline Village May 4-6, 2018.  Reservations are going fast.  Check the District website to register for the conference, including meals, and to get hotel rooms at a special price, while the last.


Rise Against Hunger (formerly Stop Hunger Now):  The packaging meals for hungry kids will again take place this year on Saturday, Apr. 21st at Durham High School Multi-Purpose room.  The truck will be there between 8:00am and 8:20am.  We'll need a few member to help with setup.  Event starts at 9:00am and generally ends at 11:30am or so.  Water and a light lunch will be available after the event.


District 5160's Spring Training Assemblies are here!

District 5160’s Spring Assemblies are planned for THREE dates and locations for your convenience.  Register now for one of these assemblies! NOW for Spring Training Assembly - Chico
Saturday March 24    Butte College, Chico Center    Chico, CA NOW for Spring Training Assembly - Fairfield
Saturday, April 7     Angelo Rodriguez High School     Fairfield, CA NOW for Spring Training Assembly - Redding
Saturday, April 14     Simpson College     Redding, CA

All three Assemblies have the same schedule, great breakout sessions...and free lite breakfast and free lunch! 


Now that the Spring Training Assembly on March 24th is a meeting of record each of you need to register.  Each of you should have received one or more emails from the District with a link to the registration form.  It looks like what is above, except that the “Register Now” will only work from the email addressed to you.  If you did not receive or cannot find the email then please contact our District 5160 Training Committee Co-Chairs:  Bev Stupek or Kathy Suvia



Bring guests, who you think you can interest in becoming a member, to meetings.  In the meantime please invite Durham business owners and/or managers to one of our meeting.  




Jim Patterson contributed $15 for an interruption.

John Moss contributed $20 for missing meetings.

Eric Hoiland missed a meeting while attending an adoption.  He was not assessed for the good work.

Steve Heithecker missed a meeting and donate a $14 credit he had on his account to become a Bell Ringer.

Daryl Polk was recognized for having 6 daughters, 3 grandchildren and 3 more on the way in the amount of $50 to become a Bell Ringer.

Jim Kirks missed a meeting to attend a performance of the Dublin Dancers.  He contributed $30. 

Must Be Present to Win Drawing:


Daryl Polk was present to win the drawing, which helped offset his recognition above.




Jim Kirks will brought us a very special program.  He introduced Nick Anderson and Nancy Leek who played the parts of John Bidwell and a reporter, Letitia Norris, conducting a fictional interview of John Bidwell entitled A Conversation with Major John Bidwell, Rancho Chico ,  in 1858 when he was 39 years old.

We heard John Bidwell recount his adventures on the trail to and in California.  At the time he held the rank of major in the California Militia. He had been in California since 1841, and has been living on Rancho Chico for nearly ten years.

Everything we heard was is either a direct quote from Bidwell or an abridgement of his words. All the incidents we heard about really happened to him.


Nick Anderson is a fifth generation Chicoan and has always been fascinated by history. He spends most of his free time performing in plays for various theater groups in the Chico area including The Blue Room Theater, Chico Theater Company, Chico Cabaret, Theater on the Ridge, Northern California Ballet and Butte College. He has been in 60 productions over the last nine years. When not doing theater he can be found working for Results Radio as a disk-jockey on 106.7 Z-Rock and has worked in radio for 15 years. He loves music, and film and portraying John Bidwell at Bidwell Mansion events.

Nancy Leek, who also put together the script, is a retired librarian and an author and editor of books on Northern California history, including John Bidwell: The Adventurous Life of a California Pioneer.  She is a member of the board of directors of the Bidwell Mansion Association and the Association for Northern California Historical Research. She is, unfortunately, not a native of Chico, but she loves living in Chico and researching local history. She has a history blog at


From Rotary International:


As thousands of refugees streamed into Berlin, they strained the health care system. Rotarian and physician Pia Skarabis-Querfeld spent the last three years building a network of volunteer doctors to help those in need.

By Rhea Wessel Produced by Andrew Chudzinski

On the nightly news and around her city, Pia Skarabis-Querfeld saw the refugees arriving in Berlin after fleeing war, persecution, and poverty in their home countries.

Wanting to help, she gathered a bag of clothes to donate and headed to a nearby gym filled with refugees.

What began as a single act of charity eventually evolved into an all-encompassing volunteer project: Over the next three years, Skarabis-Querfeld would build and run a network that, at peak times, would include more than 100 volunteers helping thousands of refugees at community centers, tent camps, and other shelters across the city. 

Today, her nonprofit, Medizin Hilft  (Medicine Helps), continues to treat patients with nowhere else to turn.

That day she went to the gym was a few days before Christmas 2014. Skarabis-Querfeld had been busy with work and preparing for the holidays. She was looking forward to a much-needed break, and she thought clothes for the refugees would be a kind gesture befitting the spirit of the season. 

When she arrived at the gymnasium to drop off her donation, Skarabis-Querfeld found sick children, most of them untreated because hospitals in the area were overrun. Helpers were not allowed to give out pain relievers or cough syrup due to legal constraints. All they could do was send people to the emergency room if they looked extremely ill.

Seeing this, and knowing about the treacherous journeys the refugees had just made across land and sea, Skarabis-Querfeld, who is a medical doctor and Rotarian, returned that same afternoon with medical supplies and her husband, Uwe Querfeld, who is a professor of pediatrics and a Rotarian. 

The couple spent most of that holiday treating patients in the gymnasium. 

“The suffering of the people, their bitter fate, it wouldn’t let go of me,” says Skarabis-Querfeld.

‘You just don’t forget’

In 2015, the German ministry in charge of refugees received more than 1 million applications for asylum, straining the public health system. 

Germany was a popular destination during the mass migration of people from Syria and other countries with conflict, in part because Chancellor Angela Merkel embraced them. Unlike some other European leaders, Merkel said it was Germany’s responsibility to help, and she called on citizens to welcome those escaping hardship elsewhere. 

By 2017, the political winds had changed. Many Germans had become indifferent to or skeptical about the immigrants. The balance of power in Germany’s parliament shifted during the September election, and the country continues to grapple with the logistics and cost of helping refugees and their families.  

While the politics played out at the famed Riechstag building in the heart of Berlin, Skarabis-Querfeld and other volunteers were treating patients only a few kilometers away. 

“I had a young girl whose whole family was almost beaten to death because they were Christians,” says Skarabis-Querfeld, a member of the Rotary Club of Berlin-Tiergarten. “The girl began to have epilepsy after being beaten into a coma. I’m not used to seeing these kinds of scars and burns.” 

In another case, Skarabis-Querfeld treated a Syrian girl named Saida who had fever and bronchitis. When the examination was almost over, Skarabis-Querfeld noticed Saida was limping. She coaxed Saida to take off her shoes and saw both feet were infected. 

“I had seen a lot of children with small shoes on. Some had probably started walking in those shoes and worn them for one year,” Skarabis-Querfeld says.

“The soles of both feet were infected. These are things that you just don’t forget.” 

After she treated Saida with antibiotics, the girl from the war-torn country took an interest in helping at the clinic when the doctor was in. She would wait at the door half an hour before Skarabis-Querfeld arrived and delight in taking on small tasks, such as making copies. 

“Her biggest wish was to become a doctor,” Skarabis-Querfeld says. “I told her, ‘You’re a smart girl. You can do it.’”

Meeting the enormous need

In the weeks after Skarabis-Querfeld started treating patients in makeshift clinics, volunteers from every discipline began to show up looking to help the tens of thousands of refugees arriving in Berlin.

Dr. Pia Skarbis-Querfeld's Medizin Hilft project received the 2017 Berlin Health Prize for its care of refugees.

Photo by Gordon Welters/laif/Redux

During the peak of the 2015 refugee influx, Medizin Hilft had more than 100 volunteers, and she was receiving dozens of emails a day with offers of help. In addition to providing immediate care, the nonprofit conducted immunization campaigns and helped immigrants navigate the German health care system.

“Many of our volunteers felt compelled to help because we’ve got it so good here, living in a democracy with access to health care. They felt it is their humanitarian duty,” Skarabis-Querfeld says. “It became clear that we would need whole new organizational structures … to cope with this completely new situation.” 

The Rotary Club of Berlin-Nordwas quick to support Skarabis-Querfeld’s nonprofit. National media took notice of her efforts. She estimated she was volunteering 20 hours a week in addition to working her regular job. Other Rotary clubs, including Rotary Club of Berlin-Tiergarten, joined the effort.

“I had moments when I thought, ‘I’m going to throw it all away, and then I’ll get my life back.’ But then my sense of responsibility kicked in again for this project that has grown so much and grown together,” she says. 

Treatment first

A steady stream of patients is treated at, a clinic funded by Medizin Hilft in the Zehlendorf neighborhood of southwest Berlin.

On a weekday in September, a Ghanaian woman named Anita visited the clinic, which consists of a few rented rooms in a naturally lit basement. Anita, a refugee, had come for pain and bleeding in her uterus, and the clinic was the only place she could turn to.

Anita lives under the radar in Berlin: unregistered, uninsured, and unable to pay for basic care. She has little chance of staying in Germany legally because Ghana is not on the government list of extremely dangerous countries.

Anita is among the roughly 15 percent of clinic patients who are either unregistered or homeless, says Dorothea Herlemann, the project coordinator.

Many patients are refugees living in temporary homes who have difficult medical problems, have not yet learned the German health care system, have no language support, or cannot find a doctor who will see them. 

Some have temporarily lost access to the health care system, usually because of paperwork problems.

“For us, it’s not important whether a refugee is registered or not. These are people who need help, and we help them. We also conduct information campaigns in their languages to help refugees learn how to use the regular health system. We are not trying to build up a parallel medical system here,” says Herlemann, whose staff position is made possible through a grant from Rotary.

Temporary home

Medizin Hilft works alongside Doctors of the World and other groups in refugee container villages.

At one such village in Ostpreussendamm in southwest Berlin, Medizin Hilft doctors see patients once a week. Meanwhile, other volunteers provide general support, helping residents to manage paperwork and begin building a life. 

The 280 residents at the Ostpreussendamm village come from Syria, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Eritrea, Somalia, Cameroun, Russia, and Togo. Many of them, including children, remain traumatized by what they experienced before fleeing to Germany.

Twenty-six-year-old Khalat Saleh is from Iraq’s Kurdistan region and uses a wheelchair. Wearing a black sweatshirt that says “Break the rules,” Saleh gives a friendly smile as he finishes a German language lesson conducted by volunteers. 

In broken German, Saleh, who has been granted political asylum, explains his daily struggle to wash and eat independently. Saleh has seen the Medizin Hilft volunteer doctors numerous times, and volunteers help him receive the care he needs. He hopes to eventually work with computers.

Karmen Ishaque is a 31-year-old Iraqi who fled religious persecution and has been approved to stay in Germany for three years. She was treated by Dr. Barbara Grube of the clinic for high blood pressure and borderline diabetes.

Ishaque lived in a camp in Zehlendorf for just a few months until she got her own room. It was a big step for Ishaque, who has been officially recognized as a refugee. 

She arrived in Germany at the beginning of 2015 and says she could imagine making her life here. She plans to get training to work as a kindergarten teacher. “I would like to marry, have kids, have a job,” she says.

Looking forward

Not every person who seeks refuge or a new life in Germany will get their affairs sorted as fast as Ishaque or have a real chance at integration. Many are being deported or asked to leave voluntarily. 

For Medizin Hilft, times have changed as well. 

“It’s much harder to attract volunteers now. On one hand, the political atmosphere changed, and on the other, news about refugees is not so front-and-center anymore,” said Dr. Laura Hatzler, who helps run the clinic.

For Hatzler, who was also part of the network from the beginning, helping Skarabis-Querfeld during those first days in the gymnasium, the work of Medizin Hilft is not finished, even if support and interest has dwindled. What keeps Hatzler going is the joy of taking action for something she believes in. 

“If you really have an idea in your mind, and you really want it, and you connect with people who have the same ideas or similar, you can really move something,” she says. 

“We have created something here that is very big and beautiful. And very needed.” 

A Rotary global grant of $160,000 will make it possible for Medizin Hilft to run the clinic and the information campaigns until March 2018. 

As Skarabis-Querfeld thinks about the ups and downs of the last three years, she worries about funding moving forward. She is also concerned about Germany’s massive task of integrating hundreds of thousands of immigrants into society and the economy.

“I am just as clueless as our politicians seem to be if you ask me where we will be in 10 years. No one can give us an answer,” she says. “But I still think about Saida, a special girl from Syria who wants to be a doctor, and I wonder what her future will look like.”

• Rhea Wessel is an American freelance writer based in Frankfurt, Germany

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The deadline for the Rowel 6:30 am on Wednesdays.


The Editor’s photographs published in the Rowel are available, upon request, in their original file size.  Those published were substantially reduced in file size.