Posted by Zilla Roth on Oct 07, 2020
The wonderful things about Zoom meetings in the morning are firstly that one can get up dressed for the day but do not have to hurry to be somewhere else, secondly we can perhaps enjoy the early morning freshness without the “hurry” stress and thirdly, best of all, that we can have visitors us from far-off places such as our Guest Speaker Rotarian Delia Rothnie-Jones from the Rotary Club of Savusavu, Fiji. We also welcomed Kevin Berry, friend of Geoff Gartly. Kevin is a builder who was involved with their Venturer Scout group who were involved in putting together a playground for the Batibalavu School.
We also welcomed Sossi, who until COVID 19 struck, served us our coffee at Cilantro. She informed us that she had been working at Waverly and hopes to return on October 26th and should be bust until the end of the year.  It is always good to see her smiling face. Tony R reported that Tim L is doing quite well after his bicycle accident and is receiving physiotherapy which leaves him quite exhausted. There was an apology from Pres. Geoff who was involved with work. Greg also reported that not much was happening at Cilantro. They have developed high-tea take-away boxes and a “pop-up” take-away. He wishes that we would wake up in the New Year with a   dream and also might be able to organize outside seating for Cilantro. We are thrilled to congratulate Liz on the birth of a baby grandson whose name is Harrison. This the first baby boy while Liz has 2 granddaughters. The board was reminded of the meeting on Monday evening and Helen reminded Youth that here was a meeting on Tuesday evening. We had 2 “hellos” from former members. One was from past member Danny Schwarz who is CEO of Playgroup Victoria and Jane Del Rosso who we knew from “My Other Kitchen” and who is working together with the Kingston Council. Delia Rothnie-Jones is a member of the Rotary Club of Savusavu which was chartered in 1996 with a current membership of 13. We became connected via Linda O’B when she International Director. It was with great pleasure that Linda having met Delia Rothnie-Jones, our Guest Speaker, introduced her to us explaining that most likely we would learn of some projects that her club were attempting to do, some details of the projects and the challenges that occur Delia began by telling us that she was a “Pom” and was involved with   advertising and after 35 years and 80 countries she and her husband settled in Fiji with a resort. Delia has been a member of the Rotary Club of Savusavu for 20 years. There was great suspense as the struggle to get on line took a little time and to the disappointment of Delia her presentation looked as if that too could not be seen by us. However, Ian finally came to the rescue by having Delia sending him through email and we could see and understand how hard her tiny club works. Savusavu is situated on the northern island and has 5,000 people, many are ex-pats.  She spoke to us before we could see from her photos that it is very pretty and lovely with a beautiful, hospitable tourist destination.  She told us that the economy is the largest in Oceana and is financed by tourism. However due to COVID-19 150,000people are out of work with 40,000 from tourism. There are 4 main challenges in being able to do all the projects that the club would like to accomplish. 1) Cannot share around activities 2) Expertise. When considering projects, the members do not always know enough. The gaining of a Water Engineer enabling to do the Safe Water Project was a plus.3) Geography is a huge challenge because to reach out to people the island roads are difficult and anything over an hour away takes up too much fuel and too much time. 4)Cannot do local fundraising as the people are too poor. Grants are an important means to be able to able to fund projects. The Savusavu Rotary club projects are Water Supply and Sanitation, Hospital Renovations, Education Projects, Environment and beautification, Disaster Relief Assistance and RYLA Sponsors. Safe Water stations were built and delivered to 900 households in20 communities bringing drinking water free of harmful bacteria. The Ministry of Health recognized the importance and came on board. There were 9 bus shelters built each one costing F$3,000. They are very simple brick constructions with a roof that provides shelter from the heavy rain and are very much appreciated by the people because although the bus services are reliable, the buses are infrequent and the shelters offer a dry space to wait. Delia talked of the playground that our club RCBMC helped to fund. The Batibalavu school playground built by the Adventurer Scouts with Kevin Berry the builder who had organized models for an “older” playground and a “younger” playground, were such as they had never seen before and are deeply appreciated. The club helps with First Aid/CPR Training for the community workers in Savusavu. The Rotary Club also acted on Cyclone response with distribution of ERKs and food packages and helped to replace rooved and donated $3000 to Buca School for library books. The Savusavu Hospital was supplied with medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, crutches and syringes. The hospital was also helped with upgrades in the form of $70,000 worth of Solar Heating, Plumbing and renovation and painting and flooring. Delia continued with an interesting project called ABCD, the Art of Building Children’s Dreams in 5 schools where 130 children were to draw a picture of a dream goal. The students receive $125AUD each equaling $16,250 for student sponsor ship. There were also additional projects within the schools. Another project, was to renovate the Teachers Quarters which were in an uninhabitable state. The photos were vey graphic and the teachers when they are able to have these new quarters will be immensely happy. As quoted a picture replaces a 1000 words. Tony G who is now Director of International stated that he would like to have more information and accepts that COVID has caused a huge challenge. Kevin Berry stated that it was lovely to see Delia’s passion that he saw 4 years ago and how he would love to go back there again. Thank you Delia so much for your time and energy and thanks to Ian’s IT expertise we were able to enjoy your presentation that you had worked so hard to put together.  Ian thanked Delia on behalf of the club and added that it was so good to see 2 clubs develop a relationship. WE were so involved in our morning’s meeting that the time flew and it was already 8:45 am and time to stop. Helen reminded us that next week will also be a morning meeting and on that note the meeting closed with the reminder that ROTARY OPENS OPPORTUNITIES
Zilla (Bulletin Reporter)