By Mary Eileen Shackleton, 2020-21 governor of District 7230 and multi-district conference convener
I was thrilled to be at the 2020 International Assembly when then Rotary International President-Elect Holger Knaack revealed his presidential theme, “Rotary Opens Opportunities.” Knaack gave those present a small puzzle based upon his theme as a memento. Little did I realize that it would later lead to an epiphany.
By Steven Sanbo, past governor of District 6690 and Zone 30 assistant Rotary coordinator
What I recall most are the hundreds of faces. Faces of hope. Faces of relief, gratitude, fear, joy, excitement, desperation, anxiety and yes, faces with tears all hidden behind masks during my volunteer shift at a mass vaccination center in Arizona, USA, on 26 February.
By Chris Bloore, inaugural President, E-Club of WASH District 9980 (New Zealand)
A decade ago, Rotary water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) projects were having mixed results and limited sustainability. Establishing an e-club dedicated to WASH was a way to apply the discipline of humanitarian work psychology to volunteer-based aid programmes to address these issues. By carefully matching volunteers’ skills, experience, and personality to the real needs of sustainable water and sanitation projects, Rotary projects could give better value for the time, money and effort expended.
By Florencio Naguit, Rotary Club of Intramuros-Manila, Philippines
In 2017, my club began our first global grant project, an effort to provide 28 toilets to three communities of indigenous people called Aeta in the mountains of central Luzon. Two of these communities were in an isolated area a five-hour drive from Manila (including two by 4×4 jeep over rough terrain) while the third is in a closer, more urban area. They have not toilets in their homes (like more than 9 million households in my country) and either rely on pit latrines of defecate in the open. This leaves them open to diseases like diarrhea and cholera.
By Dieter Schneider, member of the Rotary Motorcyclist Fellowship (IFMR) and the Rotary Club Würzburg
A year after my son took his own life after suffering from severe depression, I set off on a motorcycle to Cape Town, South Africa. The trip through East Africa was both a time to process trauma and fulfill a desire for adventure. My encounters with interesting people and my experiences on this fascinating continent healed my inner turmoil. When I arrived at the Cape of Good Hope, I made a life-changing decision.
How do we measure the magnitude of the investments made by Rotary clubs in the battle against COVID-19? This is not an easy question to answer, but in my Rotary and professional life, I often deal with assessing impacts. So the question intrigues me.
By Rowland Kingsley Dappa, Rotaract Club of Port Harcourt Westfield, Nigeria
Rotaractors in Port Harcourt, Nigeria, came together to carry out a disease prevention project to fight the spread of COVID-19 and prevent a second wave of infections in our communities. Together with Rotaractors in Port Harcourt Spring Gardens and our host Rotary club, we distributed essential cleaning supplies and COVID-19 protocol information to public health care centers in the communities of Ogumnabali and Okuru-ama.
By Joe Otin, past district governor of Rotary District 9212
In his book “The Seven Habits Of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey defines the circle of concern and the circle of influence. His ideas explain how we can build resilience through the toughest times. The current health crisis that we face demands an individual and collective response for any conceivable return to a way of life that is free from fear and a return to a positive and healthy way of life.
By Judith Diment, Dean of the Rotary Representative Network
We are well into this Rotary year and what a year it has been for the Rotary Representatives to the United Nations and other international organizations! As Rotary’s “ambassadors” to 22 UN and key agencies, our work normally is to meet strategic personnel and develop relationships that are conducive to working together on Rotary’s areas of focus. This is not an easy task in the midst of a pandemic. Like all Rotarians, we have had to adapt to doing things differently through virtual meetings – it’s diplomacy via the internet!
By Juliet Altenburg, DGN, District 7390 (Pennsylvania, USA)
Last June as I ended my term as president of the Rotary Club of Mechanicsburg-North and started my role as a district governor-nominee, I was feeling the enormity of COVID-19 in my paid job, personal life, and Rotary club.
In my professional job as a nurse, I am the Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Trauma Systems Foundation (PTSF). PTSF oversees hospitals that are trauma centers in Pennsylvania. Hospital staff shared with me the stress of caring for patients while trying to protect themselves and their families. They were often the “family” of patients that died alone and were physically and emotionally exhausted.