Our group is now able to help make eye glasses for the elderly. Another of the many Chiang Mai South service projects is preparing reader glasses of various strengths for many of the rural poor in their district. We learned how to smooth and sand precut plastic lenses and watched the skilled Rotarians start with a straight metal very tiny long rod and end up with a mental glass frame. In two days the club donated 150 pairs of glasses. Recipients come to a community center ( more or less like a covered open air shed. They are tested for correct strength and then wait as long as 6 or more hours while glasses are made for each person. EVERY SATURDAY members of this club are feeding hungry children, helping older needy adults, or working in other projects. We need your interest, prayers, and district support to obtain an RI grant in partnership with this club that will further health and community development initiatives.
7770 Rotarians hosted a final dinner for the Thai club. Our setting was an outdoor terrace 17 floors up in a local hotel. That day was also the birthday of the American YEO student studying in Chianf Mai. Imagine celebrating your 16th birthday in Thailand when you live in Alaska.
For all of us this trip has reinforced the wonder and work of Rotary on a club by club and international basis. No blog can ever fully express what we have seen and shared. All of us are honored to have been part of this exchange.
Harriett Hilton for the 7770 exchange group.
In between the Rotary humanitarian projects, our hosts arranged a 3 day 2 night tour of this northern Thailand area. First, we saw beautiful handicrafts of wood carving and other Thai handicrafts. A Thai dinner with a traditional dance show ended our day. The second day we saw Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, first established in 1383 as a shrine for a Buddist relic. The relic was mounted on the back of a white elephant who wandered until he found the chosen spot where he laid down and died on the chosen wat space. Our meals throughout the three days were northern Thai dishes with a variety of combinations of rice, pork,chicken, shrimp. Some dishes were very spicy and others more bland. Thais eat with a spoon and fork using the fork to push food into the spoon.
Displays of current Thai craft and artisian industrians gave ample opportunities for purchasing beautiful silks, jewelry, and wood products. Both nights were spent at a resort with far reaching views of the mountains. Petting tigers, riding elephants, and visiting a longneck Karen hill-tribe village filled the final day. The Karen women put heavy brass rings on their necks starting in childhood. Like other ethnic hill-tribes, they are more linked to geographic areas than national borders. Hence, their access to any governmental help in almost none existent.
Another major highlight of the exchange was visting the Rotary Club of Chiang Mai South on Wednesday night. Both the Thai and American clubs gave translated presentations on our own clubs. The fact that this club of 20 members is continually doing outreach and service is amazing. Their service is outstanding, and we hope both districts can jointly write an RI grant to help fund hill tribe schools. A major eye glass project for hundreds of elderly poor Thais in rural areas who have no other way to receive help is the other current and ongoing service project of this club. For two years, the Chiang Mai South Club has been buying supplies making and fitting eye glasses. Unfortunately, right now there is no funding to help with glasses for children as the club had to start with one age group or the other. We will spend our last two days working to make and fit glasses for patients guided by our Thai Rotarians.
Harriett Hilton for the Friendship Exchange
Rotary Club of the Lowcountry Recognizes Outstanding New Teacher Awards
The Rotary Club of the Lowcountry recently honored the Outstanding New Teacher Awards for Beaufort County. This award recognizes individuals early in their professional career who are showing distinction as teachers. Nominees are selected from the elementary, middle and high school level and must be in their first five years of teaching. We wish to congratulate these teachers for showing exceptional dedication to their students and demonstrating excellence both in and out of the classroom!
President Elect Charlotte Gonzalez presenting to Melony Biggs of St Helena Elementary
Davina Walker, teacher at Beaufort Middle School receives he award from Charlotte Gonzalez
Recipient Scott Klumb of Beaufort High School shown with Principal Corey Murphy and Charlotte Gonzalez
Rotary Club of the Lowcountry recently celebrated their annual Change of Watch. Check out this article published in the Beaufort Tribune.
The Change of Watch is a celebration of the induction of new officers. The gavel passes to Incoming President Richard “Dick” Bowen (left) from Garrett Wreden (right) who becomes the Immediate Past President.
The other officers and directors are: Charlotte Gonzalez (VP-President Elect), Peach Morrison (Secretary), Doug Crowley (Treasurer), Gay Rodgers (Sergeant at Arms), Terri Stokes (Foundation Chair), Scott Merrifield (Club Service Chair), Jeff Althoff (Community Service Chair), Bill Evans (New Generations Chair) and Alan Beach (Vocational chair).
The Rotary Club of the Lowcountry meets for breakfast every Friday morning from 7:30 to 8:30 at the Golden Corral Restaurant located on Robert Smalls Parkway in Beaufort.