Following the recognition, our Rotary Exchange Student, Alice Bayard, provided the club with a recap of her 10 months as a High School exchange student, a young ambassador from France, and a full-fledged young Rotarian. Alice gave us a chronology of her time as an exchange student and paused often to tell us and show us with her pictures that “this was one of the best things I ever did!” Whether it was the Grand Canyon experience down to Havasupai Falls or joining the Buena Swim team, Alice jumped feet first into all her activities and joyfully helped us to share her experiences and the wonder of new things/places/people. Mayor Rick Mueller presented a Sierra Vista City Pin to Alice as a token of our appreciation for her contributions to the community and to better understanding our neighbors across the ocean.
Last week’s program was the team of Past Presidents; Jim Evans and Frank Gonzalez. Jim has been leading groups from Sierra Vista into Caborca, Mexico for the last 8-10 years and Frank has been on the last three trips. These groups meet up with other Rotarians from California and other parts of Arizona and then travel by bus into Mexico to the town of Caborca. The purpose of these trips is to provide immunizations against polio for young children.
The annual trip begins in California with approximately 45-50 people and then picks up people in Arizona before crossing the border into Mexico. Jim coordinates the members from Rotary District 5500 who participate. He told the club that there is an allotment of eight seats on the bus for local Rotarians. He reminds people that they need passports in order to cross back into the United States. The trip is made over a weekend beginning on a Friday afternoon. The bus usually arrives in Caborca between 5:00 to 6:00 pm. Sometimes there are delays after crossing the border, but these delays are usually resolved quickly and the bus is sent on its way.
As a ‘tag-team,’ Jim handed off to Frank who discussed events in the Caborca area. The participants spend two nights in Caborca and return on Sunday to Arizona. The Rotary Club of Caborca hosts the group and provides some meals and entertainment for their visitors from the USA. Pictures were shown of meals and entertainment. To conduct the immunizations, the Americans are formed into small groups of four or five people and then are joined by a Mexican nurse and a member of the Caborca Rotary Club who is familiar with the neighborhood which each small group visits. There was also a large contingent of young people from Interact or Roteract who enthusiastically participated in the program. To receive the drops for immunization, family members wait with the child who needs the immunization. They are prepared with the immunization record for the child. The small groups go door–to-door in the different neighborhoods giving the polio immunization to as many children as possible.
Jim and Frank closed with the recommendation for everyone to sign up for a trip to do immunizations – it is rewarding, satisfying, and personally gratifying to be able to contribute to the worldwide campaign to eradicate polio.
Rotarians were then pleased to hear from Tracy Shilt of Valor Hospice, a local hospice-care provider. Tracy was drawn to the hospice field when she recognized that our community lacked end-of-life services for the elderly and their families. Hospice provides a way for those at the end of their lives, plus their families, to carry on as normally as possible.
Tracy developed an interest in elder care after seeing her grandparents go through difficult times in their last days. Hospice provided strength and peace to her family as they dealt with the stresses associated with end of life.
Tracy then shared a story about a veteran who she called “Mark,” who died essentially alone in a local hotel room. His greatest desire was that someone might appreciate his service to our country, and his interaction with the hospice- care providers allowed him to share his life experiences with some who cared. Tracy would love to help everyone understand that hospice is there to allow those dying to enjoy the dignity and services they need to have peace at the end of their lives.
Hospice is principally funded by Medicare, although some private insurance companies will provide benefits as well. Hospice is generally available for patients who have come to the end of their reasonable treatment options and, who without such treatments, are not expected to survive longer than six months. Local hospice care is most often provided in-home, although it is available at skilled nursing facilities as well.
Our guest speaker, Jarrett Croft, provided an update on the Sierra Vista Boys and Girls Club. As a mission, The Boys & Girls Club of Sierra Vista provides after-school programs that guide, educate, and motivate local youth...A place where ”Great futures start here!”The Sierra Vista Boys and Girls Club has been having a very productive year and has been providing high quality activities for the youth in the programs. One example noted by Jarrett Croft, was unveiling a learning center to encourage kids to get creative and expand their knowledge. This was made possible by combining the funds donated from the 2014 Festival of Trees and 10 computers obtained from a Cox Communications contest that created a special learning center for the Sierra Vista Boys & Girls Club. It is an amplified area in which to do homework to help the kids with academic success.
Another example has been the HAC (Huachuca Astronomy Club) visiting the Club and showing club members some meteorites, teaching them how a telescope works and more, helping to educate and excite the club members.
This week, members of the Rotary Club of Sierra Vista were introduced to the October Student of the Month, Allie Kang. Allie is a senior at Buena high School with ambitions to obtain a degree in anthropology.Rotarians were then privileged to hear from Rev. Fred Otto, who presented - Africa, a Different Perspective. Rev. Otto and his wife, Donna, served as missionaries in Africa from 1985 to 2013. They began their servicein Swaziland and after a couple of years, moved to
Kenya. While in Kenya their ministry extended throughout the Eastern part of the African continent.
After spending several years in East Africa, Rev. Otto moved west, where he and his wife served in Liberia during that nation’s bloody civil war. Rev. Otto finished his ministry in South Africa and spent the last couple of years telecommuting from Sierra Vista. Rev. Otto shared some of the culture and significant historical locations with Rotarians, including Elmina Castle, located in Ghana. The castle, built in 1482, began as a commerce castle but later became a slaving center. He pointed out that an interesting aspect of the castle was that a church was built near the castle’s center, very close to the slave yards. Modern day Africa was divided by the Berlin Conference in 1884, when the various European countries claiming rights to the continent drew the boundary lines between colonies.
One major environmental cause for concern is that in the sub-Saharan regionof Africa, the Sahara desert is moving south, encroaching on the transitionzone to the south. This has led to crop shortage and the need to purchase crop seed each year. In fact, in some areas the situation is so dire that children are occasionally sold for the price of a bag of seed. Despite such poverty, many large cities look much like those in the US, with malls, supermarkets and fast food restaurants. A middle class has developed where there has historically been none. One obvious indicator of a middle class community is the presence of privately owned cars.