Last year I was invited to attend an Antioch Rotary auction that was held in Antioch in October. At that auction I met many people working hard to raise money to help send teenagers on international exchange programs. In a discussion with one man, Mike Schwatz, we decided to start a high school branch of Rotary together called, Interact. This is and will always be something I am most proud of doing in my teaching career. We decided that the club would combine students from both Antioch and Lakes and we held informational sessions to seek out student interest. We found another amazing person to help advise the group with us named Nancy Clutter. She was a perfect choice and had already done some amazing work in Haiti providing health care after the earthquake. Together we were able to put together a solid core group of kids that were very interested in service work and international understanding. This group of kids are still together working to improve interact while I am here but they are some of the most amazing young people I have come to know. They jumped right into starting a new club, organizing and getting chartered from Rotary International, and selecting their mission of fighting malnutrition and global hunger. Last year they were able to raise awareness at an International Night about world hunger, volunteer at the local food pantry, collect fruit cups for a backpack program, and donate funds to feed my students at Kilimahewa. In the first year Interact was doing some amazing things. This year although I am not in the US I try to keep in contact with them and I know that they will continue to do amazing things.
The next evening we met the Rotary members at the Crane Hotel again and jumped into a car with one of the members who drove us to the Presidents house in a village called Kiboroloni. When we arrive their was a tent outside the house and a beautiful area set up for dinner. About 50 people attended the dinner. There were Moshi Rotary Members, Invited Guests, and members of some of the new rotary clubs. We had an amazing meal, were able to speak to some amazing people, and hear a great inspirational speech from the Lt. Governor. He addressed the group and talked about the history of Rotary and that people need to work and live not for money and for themselves but to be able to give back and help others. He talked about all the things he was blessed with through his involvement in Rotary as well as what he has seen Rotary accomplish. Luckily for us his Swahili was not as good as his English so we were able to hear this amazing speech in clear English. He talked about how everyone needs to be a member of Rotary and that through working together something that sounds impossible, such as eliminating a devastating disease like polio, becomes possible. It was an amazing event and a great night.
The Rotary club here in Moshi meets every Thursday and it is one more thing that Jillian and I will be involved with while we are here. We are hoping to develop a relationship with these members and invite them to see our work at Kilimahewa with EdPowerment. We are further hoping that through this relationship we can help create an opportunity for the Rotarians and students of Interact in the US to engage in joint projects or cultural learning activities that they wouldn’t have access to in the United States.
All in all a great experience that reminded me that there are many other like minded people out there that believe serving others will better your life.
Hope you are all well at home and things are going good as you get into the fall season. I realize that it is October, even though here it still feels like summer time, and many of you are starting to carve pumpkins in the US. I would love to see the pictures of pumpkins you carve, so send me some emails with your pictures.
Miss you all! -K