Posted by Steven Sager on Apr 05, 2019
Welcome to April! Spring is here.  Our team has returned from Guatemala on a very successful trip, and the District Conference is coming up.  But first, a word about Rotary International's monthly theme for April: Maternal and Child Health.  It is one of The Rotary Foundation's six (6) areas of focus. Every day mothers risk their lives giving birth and millions of children die each year from treatable, preventable causes. At least 7 million children under the age of five die each year due to malnutrition, poor health care, and inadequate sanitation. To help reduce this rate, Rotary provides immunizations and antibiotics to babies, improves access to essential medical services, and supports trained health care providers for mothers and their children. Rotary’s projects ensure sustainability by empowering the local community to take ownership of health care training programs.  More information on Rotary's work in maternal and child health is found <HERE>
 
Guatemala Project.  While our global grant to build stoves in Guatemala focused on disease prevention, it was clear to all of us that we were impacting maternal and child health also (and saving the environment).  All of our Rotarians who travelled to help install the stoves were impacted by the people we helped.  The saying that when you set out to help others you end up helping yourself rang true with this trip.  Some of our first time global grant participants were stunned at the squalid living conditions of the people.  Others were impacted by how grateful the entire villages were with what seemed like a small act to us.  I was personally impacted by a scene repeated several times during our visit.  We walked into one home (typically an adobe structure with a tin roof that had one room for living (for a family of 10) and another for the cooking area. When we walked in one of the kids ran out to get their father off his job to see what we were doing.  The father (or grandfather) would come rushing to the house and start talking a mile a minute in his native Tz'utujil language. About 80% of all communication is non-verbal, and even though none of us spoke the Mayan Tz'utujil tongue, we all understood that he was thanking us and telling us how this was helping his family.  A few pictures from the trip are on the continuation page of this article, and we will have a full story up on the website soon.  In all, Rotarians from our district installed 100 stoves in 2 Mayan villages of San Pablo La Laguna and San Marcos La Laguna.  There are an additional 85 stoves that will be installed by local Rotarians and our partner HELPS International.  
 
District Conference.  The program for the District Conference is shaping up, but we need every Rotarian from the District to attend and participate! Please, please, please do not wait any longer to sign up.  We need to provide head counts to the hotel and make final plans.  Talk to your club about rescheduling your meeting so you can all be part of the Friday luncheon on May 3, 2019 celebrating not only our Guatemala Stove Project, but other Rotary Foundation funded projects this year.  We also need you to send delegates to our annual business meeting of our clubs.  Friday evening is a spectacular dinner dance gala.  Trust me, you do not want to miss this opportunity to celebrate Rotary and reconnect with Rotarians from other clubs.  There is something for everyone!
 
Saturday has an awesome program! We will start with a wonderful breakfast, but then our youth (Interactors, Exchange Students, RYLANS) assisted by Rotaractors from all five (5) districts will be there to focus on homelessness in a program entitled the Game of Throneless.  Like a reality fair, our youth will be randomly assigned "homeless" for you to interact with.  The morning concludes with a soup kitchen style lunch with the kids and adults, and a frank discussion on how we can be part of the solution.  There are also optional trips to Fenway Park for a tour and batting practice, and a Boston Harbor Cruise, adn everything else you expect from a District Conference smiley.
 
Please sign up today at <THIS LINK> or just tell everyone to sign up at bit.ly/D7910-Conference2019, and please share the flyers below with your club.
 
Have a great April.  Click the Read More Link for Guatemala Pictures.  Check the website, facebook and Instagram regularly for updates on what's happening in District 7910.  Remember to submit your club's stories and event flyers. 
 
DG Steve
 

 

Guatemala Pictures
 

DG Steve and Pablo Juan
 
PDG Dick Manelis and Gerardo Yarzebski taking a break from the sun.  They are resting against the house we were working on.
 
Me, PDG Dick, and Lucia after her mother's stove was installed.  
 
Inside Josefine's home - this is the one room 10 family members lived in.  The dirt floor is typical of the homes in this village.
 
Josefine with her and her sister's children (all live together).
 
PDG Dick with Josefine's new stove!
 
Our team with the Mayan women we helped on the first day!
 
D7910 Stove Project Team L to R: Jim O'Connor, Jim Comes, Dave Kaiser, DG Steve, PDG Dick Manelis, Frances Markel, Justin Provencher, Ed Tarquinio, and Ray Pfau
 
Group Photo with Rotarians from our host club, Club Rotario Nueva Guatemala
 
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