Wendy Keen, of the Darmouth East Rotary Club, led a team of four Rotarians from District 7820 for phase four of the project. They left on January 13th for a week in batey Vasca, a small impoversished sugarcane village. There they helped the community establish a community garden; helped paint the houses and refurbished the kitchen of the senior men's residence and school. The matching grant of $23,000.00 with the Rotary Club of San Pedro de Marcoris will help install better latrines, solar ovens and raised beds and shade for the garden. It was a great Rotary experience to see the growth and development taking place. We'll be back next year. Wendy is available to make presentations to clubs in the district of this very successful project.

We had visitors, Pam Harrison from the Rotary Club of Sackville, N.B., Gerry Glazier from Southern Ontario, Conseulo from Colombia and Wendy Keen, our guest speaker from the Dartmouth East Rotary Club. 

Unfortunately it is Conseulo’s last visit, she leaves tomorrow morning back to Colombia.  She thanked the club for its warm and wonderful hospitality while she was visiting in Canada.

It was Erin's birthday last week but she wasn't here, so we sang Happy Birthday to her today!  She also shared the exciting news that she bought a new car, a Corolla!

Ian was speaking to Victoria this morning, from the Westin, and her husband is currently competiting in Croatia and if he does well will be going to the olympics.  Also, a few years ago when the Queen made a visit to the maritimes, Ian's son, had the honour of giving her flowers.  A photo was taken of that moment and Ottawa has used that photo, among others, in a book they've created for the Queen's birthday.

Bonnie shared that visiting Rotarian, Pam Harrison, was one of the major inspirations in her childhood to do work in the community and believe in herself.  She was very happy to have Pam as a visitor!

Gerry shared that the Goalie from Vancouver was transferred to Toronto, lets see what this does!?

Donna shared some exciting news, she was been offered and accepting a new position in Cambodia as a principal at a new IB school.  She has accepted the position for 2 years and has already made contact with the local Rotary club of the community.  We will miss Donna but look forward to her visit at Christmas.

Paul Roy shared that last Friday, Maria, Consuelo and Ian joined Stella and him on a nice hike in the South shore and had a wonderful day!  Also he just signed the largest contract he has ever done, so exciting day for Paul!

Valerie shared that in 2010 she walked 1 million steps, in 2011 she walked 2 million steps and yesterday she had already completed 1 million steps!  Valerie is on her way to 3 million in no time!

Stella thanked Barb for organizing the women's weekend event.  Donna, Kathleen, Vivienne and Louisa had a wonderful night, but what happens at the girls weekend stays at the girls weekend, so no details to follow!

Maria shared that she had a great weekend with family and friends.  Ian made a delicious dinner and they all went canoeing the next day.  Maria has had a wonderful time with her mother visiting and tomorrow will be a sad day.  She thanks all the members for making her mother feel at home and being wonderful hosts.

Business Updates;

Saltscapes is cancelled, it was a bit last minute and we couldn't get enough people to commit to making it worthwhile. 

Adam shared that he has the ticket order form for the Mom's Day Brunch/Auction.  There is a tax number on the bottom of the form.  You can do the order form online and take the payment online, so it should be easy.  We have 400 tickets, Adults $45 and Children $18.

Please if you have or know anyone that is willing to donate possible auction items please contact Caitlyn, Paul or Erin, to get those in on time.

Stella introduced her friend and a great inspiration, Wendy Keen, from the Dartmouth East Rotary Club.  

Wendy has been devoted to the Dominican Republic work, and has been taking teams down to work for 4 years now. 

From out club, Stella has been as well as Gerry, Paulette.

We are thrilled to have Wendy here and speak about the work that we has been strongly supported by the clubs in our region!

Wendy shared that this was an update, our club has been one that has aided in making this project happen.  

In Wendy's words " This is not my project, its yours"

We are working with a Haitian community living in Dominican Republic, they live and work on the cane fields making around $2.50 a day.  They work in rubber boots with machete's.  It is incredibly dangerous and because of this work, the dust from cutting the cane crops causes cataracts, at an alarming rate.  So many of the senior community members who have been working on the fields for longer are completely blind and when they are unable to function fully on their own, they are moved to a near-by village for support.

One fo the first things we did was put in the fencing, that was requested by the community, to put in a chain link fence.  To help prevent the animals from eating their crops.

We had a wonderful partnership with Nutri-lawn, who support their staff to do volunteer work in the Caribbean.  They put in the iragation system.  With the fenced in irrigation area, they were able to grow crops to feed their families and sell the remaining in the near by village.  They bought two pigs with the money, around 2500 pesos, and a few pigs later, they have a family of pigs.

Each time we go down, we take cash and go to the store to get supplies for the senior men’s residence, pots, pans, propane to cook.  There is no social system for them, no one takes care of them.  The PEI men’s church group gave us $300 and that is what we used to shop for the men’s residence.  We got reusable shopping bags, as well as provided them with a bag of personals, cards, shaving equipment, towels, toothpaste and toothbrush's AND Stanfield's briefs!
(Water, salt, sugar, food, propane).

The government put in a little school in the battes.  The clubs here gave us $600 for school supplies, We were able to provide supplies for the next year and they have the classroom beautifully decorated from the supplies we provided last year. The teacher at the school has done phenomenal work with the students. 

The living conditions are poor, but like anyone, they want to feel proud of their homes and they do.  We bought paint for their houses and by the time we returned from buying the paint, the community members had scraped and prepared the houses for painting immediately. They painted right away, and with the incredibly weather, we didn't have to wait long for the paint to dry. 

We held a food draw for thanking the community for the help and dedication they have provided in their community. The New Minus Rotary Club provided us with hundreds of zip-lock bags.  We filled the bags with flour, rice, sugar, etc.  and provided families with bags of food to last them a good while.

We also met with the partnership club in the Dominican Republic, they are keeping us updated on how the village batae is doing throughout the year.

We focus in these areas when looking at a project and in the case of this community in the Dominican Republic, its a prime example of that focus.  To be eligible for a matching grant, you must focus in these areas; econmic well being, health and nutrition, water sanitiation, literacy and transportation.

Sustainability is the key, we have community enegagement, empowerment, local leadership, a rotary connection and for the 51 weeks a year when we are home we know that things are moving along well.

Clubs donate $8600 which turned into $22 000 with matching grants.

The community is going to put that into a community garden of raised beds, to protect the crops and soil from the rainy season.  As well, they will put in latrines, composting, bio sand filters, solar ovens, school furniture, test books, schools supplies, and a multi-purpose vehicle.

Another trip is being planned for 2013, there is potential to work in a village near by, hopefully next year the current one will be self sustaining!

The Rotary Clubs of Wolfville, Corner Brook, Dartmouth East, Truro, Charlottetown and Halifax Harbourside have involved with this project and made the progress possible.   

We thanked Wendy for her informative and touching presentation.  Its good to see what we are doing with the money we are raising and its perfect timing as we have our upcoming fundraiser, this will remind us why we are doing all the work for the Mom's Day Brunch.  

50/50 ticket - Counsela drew Donna but no win again, the pot grows!