Durham Rotary Club.  P.O. Box 383 Durham Ca. 95938

Rotary International

President:

Barry Rassin

Rotary District 5160 Governor:

Jon Dwyer

Durham Rotary President:
David Jessen

_____________

Rowel Editor: Phil Price
Rowel Publisher: Jen Liu

 

 

 

April 30, 2019

  

The  2019 Harvest Festival will be held on Saturday, September 15, 2019

 

2019                                       Calendar for Durham Rotary

A
p
r
i
l

1 2
No Meeting - Dave's Birthday
3 4 5 6
7 8 9
Meeting
Michelle John, Superintendent of Paradise Schools.
(Phil Price)
10 11 12 13
14 15 16
Meeting
Harvest Festival Meeting at Durham Memorial Hall
(Lloyd Webb)
17 18 19 20
21 22 23
No Meeting
Easter
24 35 26 27
M
28 29 30
Meeting
CHP Community Relations Officer
(KR Robertson/Steve Plume)

M
a
y

    1 2 3 4
5 6 7
Meeting
Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President of the North Valley Community Foundation
(Robert Olea)
Board Meeting
8 9 10 11
12 13 14
Meeting
Rian Farley
(Jim Patterson)
15 16 17 18
19 20 21
Meeting
Hot Dog Picnic with DHS students at the Durham Park
22 23 24 25
26 27 28
No Meeting
Memorial Day
29 30 31

(Thanks to Jen Liu and Jim Kirks for doing the next two Rowels while I am in Mexico).

 

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

 

FUTURE MEETINGS:

 

May 7th:  Robert Olea will present Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President of the North Valley Community Foundation.

 

May 7th: Board Meeting at 5:00 pm

 

May 14th:  Jim Patterson will present Rian Farley.

 

May 21st:  Hot Dog Picnic with students.

 

May 28th:  No Meeting.

 

June 4th:  Daryl Polk will present Robert Kevmar

 

June 11th:  Ravi Saip

 

June 18th:  Steve Plume

 

June 25th:  Demotion Party

____________________

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

 

 

VISITING ROTARIANS & GUESTS

 

Larry Bradley introduced Student of the Month Abrahan Balmaceda-Valenzuela and his father, George.  He also introduces Student of the Month Garrett Luce and his parents, Jerry and Julie.

 

Ravi Saip introduced Blair Parrott, our program for the night, with his wife, Wendy.

 

Steve Plume introduced Student of the Month Joanna Orozo-Villegas, her parents Maria and Salvadore with sister, Nancy, and brother, J. P.

 

We had more visitors than members at this meeting.

 

Rise Against Hunger

 

Jen Liu reported on this year’s Rise Against Hunger event which was held on Saturday, April 27th in Durham Elementary School.  Larry Bradley secured it’s cafeteria to facilitate the event.  Our new member Kristen Cargile was there 8:00 AM in the morning to make sure the doors to the cafeteria are open to us.  Truck from Rise Against Hunger arrived shortly after 8:00 AM, setup and preparation ensued shortly after their arrival.  Interact Club coordinator Mrs. Collen Coutts brought with her 16 club volunteers to the event.  PDG Pamela Grey and her husband Brian Grey, the current president of the Paradise Club brought 3 other members and their family member as volunteers. 

 

The actual meal package event started around 8:45 AM after a brief introduction on the purpose of this event and the proper packaging processes.  We were all done with 10,152 package of meals a little before 11:00AM.  It was another smooth event with a great success.  Below are some of the picture we took during the event:

 

Early birds at setup time:

 

 

Before kicking off (Mrs. Colleen Coutts):

 

 

 

Our Members:

 

 

Announcement of the first 1,000 packages:

 

 

Volunteers from Interact Club

 

 

 

 Volunteers from Paradise Club:

 

 

Everyone:

 

 

 

NEXT MEETING

 

Robert Olea will present Alexa Benson-Valavanis, President of the North Valley Community Foundation.

 

BOARD MEETING

 

There will be a board meeting at 5:00 pm, before the May 7th meeting.

 

Students of the Month

 

We had 3 Students of the Month.  The first was Joanna Orozo-Villegas, who you will recall could not appear last month due to a severe infection that resulted in hospitalization.  Since then she injured a knee running.  Anyway, she was presented a plaque recognizing her as our Student of the Month for February.

 

 

 

Next were our Students of the Month for March, Abrahan Balmaceda-Valenzuela, and for April, Garrett Luce.

 

   

REPORTS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS

 

 

 

From the District Governor:

Dear District 5160 Rotarians:

The Rotary 4-Way Fest is just ten days away and registrations are coming in fast!

As a result, we expect to sell out and have to close registrations earlyThe Conference has great speakers, breakout sessions and fun activities for all. If you want to be part of this amazing event, you should register while there is still space.

Under the ‘Register’ tab you will find hotel information – the room block at the Peppermill will be released on April 25th.  There is also information about back-up hotel space at the Hyatt Place Hotel.

To learn more about the Rotary 4-Way Fest and register for the conference, visit our website at: www.rotary4wayfest.com

Under the ‘Events’ tab you can also register for the following:

Registering for the Activities below can be done on-site at the Conference:

Hope to see you at #Rotary4WayFest!!
 

Yours in Service,

Jon Dwyer
District Governor 2018-19

Claire Roberts
District Conference Chair 2018-19
 

 

Membership

 

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.

 

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­________________________________________________________________

 

RECOGNITIONS

 

President Dave Jessen recognized your editor for his Birthday next week, when I will be in Mexico.  I argued that what happens in Mexico stays in Mexico and since I would be in Mexico I wasn’t having a birthday here.  I fact my last birthday here was my 57th so I am still 57 here.  That argument didn’t work so I elected to have a song and contributed $7.

PROGRAM

 

Steve Plume introduced Blair Parrott, the California Highway Patrol Community Outreach Officer in this area.  He first gave a history of how he ended up living in Durham (lost his house in Paradise).  Then he talked about cell phones and distracted driving.  Finally he talked about the Explorer program where members are taught law enforcement officer basics.

 

 

 

Must Be Present to Win Drawing:

 

Larry Bradley drew the name of Jim Patterson, who was present to win.

 

From Rotary International

 

After fleeing conflict in their own countries, a group of young Rotaractors is healing wounds and bringing cultures together in a Ugandan refugee settlement

By Jonathan W. Rosen Produced by Kate Benzschawel

It’s Monday morning in one of Uganda’s largest refugee settlements, Nakivale, and the line at Paul Mushaho’s shop is out the door.

Mushaho has lived in Nakivale since 2016, when he fled violence in his native Democratic Republic of Congo. After receiving death threats, he crossed into Uganda and joined a friend in the 184-square-kilometer settlement that serves as home to 89,000 people.  

The soft-spoken 26-year-old, who has a university degree in information technology, runs a money transfer service out of a wooden storefront that doubles as his home.

Business is booming because he offers his clients – other refugees from Congo, Burundi, Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Rwanda, and South Sudan – the ability to receive money via mobile phone from family and friends outside Uganda.

He also exchanges currency, and his shop is so popular that he often runs out of cash. On this day, he’s waiting for a friend to return with more money from the nearest bank, two hours away in the town of Mbarara. 

Sitting behind a wooden desk, armed with his transactions ledger and seven cell phones, Mushaho grows anxious. He’s not worried about missing out on commission – he’s worried about leaving his clients without any money.

“I don’t like making my customers wait,” he says, looking out onto the lively street of tin-roofed stores, women selling tomatoes and charcoal, a butcher shop displaying a leg of beef, and young men loitering on motorcycles. “There’s nobody else around who they can go to.”

Paul Mushaho organized a team of volunteers and formed a Rotaract club in Nakivale, Uganda, to give refugees something constructive to do.

Photos by Emmanuel Museruka

 

As a young entrepreneur who is intent on improving the lives of others in his community, Mushaho is in many ways the quintessential member of Rotaract, the Rotary-sponsored organization for leaders ages 18 to 30. 

Yet his story and that of his club are far from ordinary. Established in late 2016, and officially inaugurated last July, the Rotaract Club of Nakivale may be the first Rotaract club based inside a refugee settlement or camp.

Its founding, and the role it has played in the lives of its members and their fellow Nakivale residents, is a tale of young people who’ve refused to let conflict stifle their dreams; of a country that sees the humanity in all the refugees who cross its borders; and of a spirit of service that endures, even among those who’ve experienced unspeakable tragedy.

A place where refugees are welcome

Refugees fleeing war, genocide, and persecution find safety in Nakivale. New arrivals to Uganda are allocated a plot of land, are allowed to work and run businesses, and can move freely around the country.

If Nakivale doesn’t sound like a typical refugee camp, that’s because it isn’t one.

Covering 184 square kilometers and three distinct market centers, Nakivale feels like anywhere else in rural southwestern Uganda, an undulating land of banana trees, termite mounds, and herds of longhorn cattle. 

Nakivale blends in with its surroundings in part because it’s been here since the 1950s, when it was established to accommodate an influx of refugees from Rwanda during a flare-up of pre-independence violence there. 

Over the years, its population has ebbed and flowed as it accommodated those seeking refuge from a variety of regional conflicts, including civil war in South Sudan, violent state collapse in Somalia, and rebellions and armed militias that continue to terrorize eastern Congo, the area that accounts for the majority of Nakivale’s current residents. 

Many have been here for a year or two, others for decades, but most consider Nakivale home. 

Unlike other governments in the region, Ugandan authorities grant new arrivals plots of land for farming, as well as materials to erect a basic house, so they can move toward self-reliance. Refugees also have access to free primary education for their children and permission to work so they can contribute to the economy.

Uganda hosts more than 1.5 million refugees within its borders and allows all registered refugees to move about at will. If they can do business in cities or towns, the logic goes, there’s no reason they should be trapped elsewhere. 

“They’re going about their lives just like you and me,” says Bernad Ojwang, Uganda country director for the American Refugee Committee  (ARC), which works closely with the Rotaract club in Nakivale

Although an abundance of arable land allows for the nation’s liberal refugee policy, he explains, the system also reflects a high-level belief that refugees can be assets rather than liabilities.

“Uganda has realized that the sooner a country looks at refugees not as a burden but as an opportunity, it changes a lot of things,” he says.

A change maker’s idea

This mindset — of refugees as catalysts for change — ultimately led to the Rotaract club’s founding. 

Mushaho learned about Rotaract after entering a competition in 2016 organized by the American Refugee Committee (ARC) for the young people of Nakivale

The competition, co-sponsored by Uganda’s office of the prime minister, challenged young residents in the settlement to propose business plans or innovations that could improve lives. 

Out of nearly 850 entries, Mushaho’s proposal – a beekeeping business that would sell honey – was among 13 winners. They each would receive a small amount of seed money and present their ideas to a wider audience in Kampala, the nation’s capital. 

More than 60 Rotarians attended the Kampala event in October 2016, including Angela Eifert, a member of the Rotary Club of Roseville, Minnesota, USA, and an ARC engagement officer, and then Rotary president-elect Sam F. Owori.

Eifert, who first visited Nakivale in 2014, had previously proposed creating an Interact club for 12- to 18-year-olds to help engage its large population of young people. After the event, she mentioned her idea to Owori, who embraced it with one modification: He believed the 13 winners could become leaders in their community, so he proposed a Rotaract club.

“He told me, ‘I was once a Rotaractor,’” Eifert says. “When he saw these young people on stage, he felt they were ideal Rotaractors. He loved their ideas. He saw they had talent and potential, and thought we should be getting behind them.”

Leaders from the Rotary Club of Kiwatule in Kampala and Eifert’s Minnesota club agreed to work together to get the club started and support its growth. 

The duo then approached Mushaho about serving as the new club’s president. Of the 13 winners, he’d stood out to them. Humble and charismatic, he also spoke fluent English, had helped the other winners communicate their ideas, and appeared eager to assist the wider Nakivale community. Mushaho and another winner, Jean de Dieu Uwizeye, hosted the Nakivale Rotaract club’s first official meeting in late 2016.

“He was really into it,” says Eifert, who began texting regularly with Mushaho. “He was learning everything he could about Rotary. I think it gave him a great deal of reward and purpose.”

Bettering the settlement

 

Rotaractors and Rotary members help new arrivals by giving out clothes, sugar, and soap.

For all of Nakivale’s advantages over more traditional refugee camps, daily life remains a struggle for many. 

Families are encouraged to farm the land they’re given, but many rely for months, or even years, on UN food assistance. Rations have decreased recently because of a shortage of global funding. 

Barious Babu, a 27-year-old Rotaractor from eastern Congo helps young people navigate the daily struggles of refugee life and provides entertainment and dancing with performances by his All Refugees Can Band. 

Children in the settlement have access to free primary education, but few families can afford the fees for secondary school – a situation that contributes to high levels of youth idleness, early marriage, alcohol abuse, and domestic and gender-based violence. Even simple boredom, particularly among a population that’s lived through conflict, can be crippling.

Mushaho says he often sees young people loitering around his shop. “They sit for hours, just thinking, and many of them are traumatized. Others just sleep from morning until night.”

The Rotaract club’s first project, launched in 2017, was designed to help Nakivale’s new arrivals, many of whom had endured harrowing journeys to escape violence. 

About 30 new families arrive every day. They sleep in rows of tents, which are periodically overrun with bedbugs and cockroaches. After hearing reports of an infestation, the Rotaractors pooled their modest savings and, with assistance from ARC, purchased chemicals and sprayers to fumigate the area. Additional projects quickly followed.

 

Nakivale Rotaractors fund most of their projects with their own money. Martin Rubondo, left, and Jean Lwaboshi spend their mornings making bricks, which they sell to raise money to fund music lessons for refugees. Jean and Patrick Sabag, below, practice.

 

 

Over the past year, club members have visited the elderly, orphans, and people living with albinism, who face cultural stigmas in the region. Often the Rotaractors bring highly coveted items, such as sugar and soap. 

To promote girls’ empowerment, the club also has co-sponsored a jump-rope contest for girls that featured cash prizes. To promote interaction among refugees of different nationalities, they organized a soccer tournament with eight teams from across the settlement.

The Roseville club provided support to both projects, donating soccer balls and hygiene products for the Rotaractors to distribute. 

Much of the Nakivale club’s community outreach, however, is self-funded. Members have earned money by raising and selling chickens, and even participated in a 5K race, held in conjunction with World Refugee Day in June 2017, which brought in online donations. 

“We don’t want to have to call someone every time, asking for support,” says Uwizeye, a computer scientist who fled his native Burundi in 2015 to avoid being forced into a youth militia. “It’s better to show someone I’ve raised some money on my own – and then maybe ask them, ‘Can you top up?’”

Several Rotaract members have been mentoring other young people in the camp. Alex Ishingwa trains fellow refugees in masonry and helps them bid for local contracts. Byamana Bahati, a dressmaker, trains apprentices at her shop, a short walk from Mushaho’s

One club member, Jean Lwaboshi, a musician with several love ballads posted on YouTube, spends his mornings making bricks with fellow Rotaractor Martin Rubondo. From their earnings, the two have bought guitars and now give performances and lessons to other young people. “It’s a rewarding feeling to support others through music,” Lwaboshi says.

Mushaho keeps an eye out for refugees who could benefit from the club’s assistance. Recently, when one of his customers approached him about starting a farming project, he helped the woman and a group of friends find a plot of land and connected them to ARC, which provided seeds, fertilizers, and watering cans. 

“We appreciate so much that others are thinking of us,” says Ange Tutu, one of the project’s beneficiaries, while tending to her new rows of tomato plants. 

Forging a Rotary family

Members of the Rotaract Club of Nakivale have become like family.

In addition to its own projects, the Nakivale club has galvanized Uganda’s Rotarians to help refugees. 

The Rotary clubs of Kiwatule and Mbarara, the closest large town to the settlement, advise and assist with projects. The Kiwatule club has sponsored individual Rotaractors to attend training events and other leadership activities across Uganda. Members of both clubs have donated clothes and other necessities that the Rotaractors deliver to Nakivale residents. 

Rotary clubs in Uganda are planning to do more, says a member of the Kiwatule club. In October, local Rotary leaders signed a memorandum of understanding with the office of the prime minister to help refugees in other settlements and possibly form additional Rotaract clubs.

Several of Uganda’s Rotary clubs are planning to improve refugees’ access to water, sanitation, hygiene, and basic education. 

Rotaractors support their own projects by raising chickens to fund projects. Byamana Bahati, a dressmaker, trains apprentices at her shop.

For Xavier Sentamu, the desire to help refugees comes in part from his own experience with conflict. Aside from pockets of the north, most of Uganda has been at peace for the last three decades. Yet the country experienced multiple violent upheavals during the 1970s and 1980s. As a child, Sentamu spent several nights hiding in the bush during the guerrilla war that ultimately brought the current president, Yoweri Museveni, to power. 

“I have a bit of a feeling for what they’ve gone through,” says the Kiwatule club member. “Though when you have a person who’s outside their country, who has no idea if or when they’ll go back home, it’s much tougher. The fact that they have gone through that hardship and are willing to offer a little bit of their resources to make others more comfortable is so encouraging.”

After an initial surge in the Nakivale club’s membership, which peaked at more than 40 people, the number of active members has fallen to roughly 20 over the last year. Uwizeye attributes the drop to a misunderstanding: Some thought the Rotaract club was a job opportunity rather than a service group. 

The departure of less dedicated members, however, has left the core group of Rotaractors more unified. Many lost relatives to violence or had to leave family behind, and the relationships they have formed in the club are helping them cope. 

“All these people are like family,” Mushaho says. “The people in the club become replacements for those people they have lost.” 

 

The Rotary International web site is: www.rotary.org

 

District 5160 is: www.rotary5160.org

 

The Durham Rotary Club site is:  www.durhamrotary.org

 

The Rowel Editor may be contacted at: pbprice1784@gmail.com

 

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.