Sunday, 6 September 2015

A Rotarian in all but name? Becoming a Rotarian did make a difference.

When I am ask how I joined Rotary I answer: ”unwillingly!”. I was told by a friend to assist him in doing a slide show presentation on the project of the Beautification of Luganville (Espiritu Santo). I came to assist my friend by passing the slides in his old slide projector, he was doing his talk presentation to Santo Rotary Club. 

I was amazed when I realised that all the members of what I took for a semi-clandestine society were good friends of mine or people I knew for years and who never mentioned to me they were Rotarians. At the end of the presentation I was proposed to stay and assist to the meeting, few weeks later I was inducted.

Nothing was new to me as I had been doing Rotary work unknowingly when I was assisting communities in setting up rain catchments or repairing Aid posts or classrooms using funding from French Embassy. 

My connection with Aid Donors and Volunteers networks became an asset when few years later I was told at 11.30am to prepare a project worth Euros 40,000 by 1.30pm. I used my lunch time giving some phone calls and getting quotes to prepare a draft project of providing rainwater catchment to remote communities. I started with a list of 80 tanks mainly needed for communities in the Shefa Province. 

The project was approved and while I turned the draft into a formal application I recalled David Hutchinson, Director of Communities Services, telling me through RAM (Rotary Against malaria) I can get you 50cents to one dollar. By Magic the €40,000 where joined by NZ$40,000 as at that time the rate was 1€ to 2NZ$. 

Finally the 80 tanks became 131 tanks and the Islands of Malekula, Epi, Malo, Santo, Ambae were added to the Shefa Islands. In five months, with help of Volunteers based is all these islands we gave more water tanks than in the ten previous Rotary years. 

All it took, few hours of my time and few dedicated friends to make a better world for hundreds of people.