President-Elect Chris and President Jim present a check to Yvonne and the RFK Children's Action Corps to fund Student Discharge Kits
  • PDG Dick Manelis, speaker
  • Krista Ellinkstrom, selected to attend RYLA
  • Gino Frattellone, Littleton club
  • District conference: a show of hands indicated great representation this weekend from our club.
  • Next week (May 26) our meeting won’t be held at Nancy’s Airfield Café, since there’s another event planned there; instead it will be at Ken and Gina’s Amazing Organic Ice Cream, also at the Minuteman Air Field. Where we’ll get an update on the Guatemala rainwater harvesting project.
  • June 2 (morning meeting) is our club assembly.
  • June 7, we’ll have a special Tuesday evening meeting with the Bolton Lions Club, at the Billiards Café in Ayer.
  • Carolyn: Wings & Wheels starts June 16; a signup sheet is available.
  • Ray: We had a very successful Repair Café, with 55 guests; we’re having two displays at the District Conference, one for the repair café idea, and the other for our global grant for Razia Jan; and Worcester rotary is holding a community gala June 4 to fight opioid addiction.
  • Ron: May 25 the Nature Connection is holding its Inspire event.
  • Nanci: This weekend the Healing Garden is celebrating its 15th anniversary, with its Perennial Walk.
  • Carolyn: Habitat for Humanity has lots of stuff for auction available.
Happy/sad fines:
  • Ron: happy for our Interact club, 1 of only 3 in the district to receive a RI Presidential Citation.
  • Laura: glad that Wings & Wheels is back, but that the weight is off her shoulders; and happy that the repair café went so well, with a reporter and photographer from the Boston Globe; the article should appear this Sunday.
  • Ray: happy that the idea of repair cafes is doing so well.
  • Carl: happy to see everyone’s lovely face after his recent travels.
  • Bob: happy that Krista can join us this morning; and sad that Gigi Bonazzoli, active in Bolton affairs, has passed away.
  • Mary Ann: sad that she missed the repair café by a whole week; and happy that she attended a reunion at the school she taught at, and saw some of her students, who are now parents in their own right.
  • Carolyn: happy for the Fitchburg cleanup day; and sad that her construction manager’s son passed away.
  • Nanci: sad because she knew the woman who was killed in the Taunton stabbings.
  • Brian: perplexed by all the people who call 911 for trivial reasons.
Past District Governor Dick Manelis discussed a project where the Rotary Clubs of District 7910 and of Georgetown, Guyana partnered to renovate the play facility at the David Rose Special Needs School in Georgetown, Guyana, in February 2016.
PDG Manelis began by describing a Rotary service group that he leads, which each year visits a different country to implement a needed community project beginning in 2001. It was originally planned to be a college trip for Habitat for Humanity, to do something productive. Out of 83 colleges in New England, they received responses from two, one of which backed out; only Babson was left. Dick then solicited other Rotarians, and eight went, along with faculty and students.
Their first house was in a very rural area outside Veracruz, Mexico, where they were met by ten families—they built ten houses. The trip changed from “for us” to “for them.” They went back a year later, and found an enormous hand-painted sign with a Rotary emblem. Kids showed up with shoe-shine kits, but the workers had sneakers, not shoes. The kids were invited to eat with the workers. When it was time to leave, these kids got up at 5:00 a.m. to help load their luggage and to say thank you.
Their last work for Habitat was in the Guatemalan highlands in 2007, where they built houses on two lots for brothers. They discovered that buses are painted different colors, to indicate their route. Since so many people are illiterate, they only know where the bus is going by color.
In 2008 in Panama, they worked with the Panama City club to renovate a school for orphaned girls.  Then they were in Belize in 2009; Brazil two years ago conducting glaucoma and vision testing; Ecuador two years ago; El Salvador; and finally the Guyana playground project.
Guyana’s history is marked by incredible violence, between indigenous people, African slaves, and the British rulers. In the last few years, this has changed. All trips have memories. Guyana has four:
  • At a parade to celebrate 50 years of independence, groups of children had costumes and put on a performance; but the theme was “one people, one country, one destiny.” They decided they could accomplish more working together than by killing each other.
  • All Rotarians had some clothing with the Rotary emblem—cap, t-shirt, etc. Asked why, they were told, “Because we’re in competition with the Lions.”
  • An autistic boy, friendless, was befriended by various Rotarians. When the playground was finished, he went on the slide, with a big smile—his first display of emotion--then attempted to shoot some baskets on the basketball court.
  • Finally, a girl who was rough around the edges, without friends, cried when the volunteers left—just a little girl inside.