By Byung Woo Kim, past president of the Rotary Club of Cheongju-Musim, South Korea
My Rotary club has been working on more than one global grant project every year. When we were planning an initiative this year, we were seeing a high rate of COVID-19 cases. At that time, the government’s guidelines required that those suspected of having COVID should be tested at their nearest screening center. But as they travel from their home to the screening center using public transportation, they come in contact with multiple people and risk infecting still others in the hospital performing the screening.
By Carlito “Tolitz” Villanueva, Rotary Club of Baguio Summer Capitol, Philippines
We heal as one. Our communities were brought to a standstill by the COVID-19 pandemic. But now that vaccine is becoming available in the Philippines, we are slowly regaining our strength, confidence, and mobility to carry on our daily tasks.
By Abdullah Al Fahad, Rotaract Club of Dhaka Orchid, Bangladesh
In Bangladesh, the infection rate from COVID-19 had been increasing daily earlier this year. The death rate was also frighteningly high. It’s a threat to our country’s health and economy. Our population density is simply too high. The best way to decrease the spread of COVID-19 is by using facemasks. Therefore, we felt we needed to work hard as a Rotaract club to remind people of the importance of wearing face masks.
By Alex Johnson, President of Rotary Club of Plano West, Texas, USA
From my town of Plano, a suburb of Dallas, Texas, we see the virus devastating lives in India. Last year, COVID-19 affected people overseas, and then took hold in America. We can counter the threat and stay safe by getting people vaccinated.
Most people have access to information on COVID-19 vaccines. But we discovered many minority residents do not. Motivated by a wish to help our fellow citizens, we partnered with our city government to inform this group.
By Vicki Brentin, a member of the Rotary Club of Houston Skyline, Houston, Texas, USA
Anticipation. Excitement. Nervousness. Uncertainty. Hopefulness. Relief. Gratitude. I had all of these not-so-surprising emotions as I passed through the various stations at the mega vaccine site in Houston to receive my COVID-19 vaccination.
By Paul Elsley, Rotary Club of Kingston, Ontario, Canada
A little over a year ago, my club could not have foreseen that we would add 18 new members during 2020 and do so in the midst of a global pandemic. There are silver linings in just about everything.
At the beginning of that year, we were planning to celebrate a century of Rotary in Kingston with other Rotary clubs in the city when COVID-19 struck in March. We watched as service organizations and agencies began to shut down or go into emergency mode and knew a celebration was out of the question. But it also became clear that there was a huge service gap and that Kingston was in great need.
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 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.