Free Portland News entry by Keith Barnard Jones
I start this month’s update with a massive Thank You to all those who gave so generously to the cause when our members collected at Tesco at the end of the last month in aid of the on-going catastrophe in the West Indies. It really is humbling to see so many people stop and dip into their, often, meagre reserves simply to help those who have nothing. And, of course, our thanks go to the Management of Tesco for allowing us to collect in the first place. Thanks to everyone’s efforts, we raised the incredible sum of £555 in just a few hours of collecting. A little money goes a long way in developing countries, and that was not just a little – it was tremendous. On behalf of those who can now smile again, but who you will probably never meet, thank you all so much. That is what Service Above Self, our motto, is all about.
I expect that most of you will not have noticed the passing of World Polio Day on 24th. October. I do not think that it hit the headlines anywhere apart from, perhaps, among the higher echelons of Rotary worldwide. I am not sure exactly why it should be such a milestone as the actual date is irrelevant from the Rotary point of view – it was probably just picked out of the hat or it was going spare so we grabbed it - but it has been and gone. However, what is important is that, at the time of writing these words of wisdom?, we are already three quarters of the way through this calendar year and are now running into the low season for polio. Incredibly we still have only had NINE cases of polio due to the wild polio virus in the whole world so far this year - our lowest figures EVER. This is all due to the tremendous support we have received from all and sundry over the last 30 years. I make no apology for saying, what I have said on so many occasions - we are so nearly there. It really is getting exciting However, as a special treat, I can offer you not just one, but two, success stories this month, and the second one is to do with Nepal.
Regular readers, if any, of this column, will realise that our club is doing a great job of providing water supply systems to villages in Nepal where there is plenty of rainfall, but the rain simply runs off the mountains and is lost. Consequently our team of intrepid explorers, ably led by Mark Townsend, has been going over to Nepal to help the villagers build water storage tanks to harvest the rainwater, and then run pipes down to the surrounding villages. A simple tap on the end of the pipe solves the problem. Unless one lives under these conditions, it is almost impossible to realise how much a simple tank and tap can transform people’s lives. Even though labour is cheap out there, it still costs money to purchase and transport cement, reinforcing rods and pipes etc. up into the mountains, so an application was made to our parent organisation of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland for support. I am delighted to say we have just heard that the club has been awarded a grant of £13,800. This is enough to complete projects in FIVE different villages so I have a feeling that, as well as going out in November of this year, there will be more trips out for the team to complete the work. As I do not like heights and so am not part of that team, I feel I can say a Very Well Done to everyone concerned.
I ran out of space at the end of last month so I shall add now that we entertained members and partners from our twin cub of Vire in Calvados a month ago. The town of Vire is twinned with Totnes, but their Rotary Club had never entered into a twinning arrangement until three intrepid members of our club flew over there 40 years ago to set up the relationship, which still continues today. Part of the reason for a twinning is, of course for the social side of things, but we have actually worked on projects together, and some of the youngsters from Vire have exchanged with youngsters from the Weymouth/Portland area as well. So there is also a serious purpose behind the fan and frolic. We met old friends and made a number of new ones a well. A great few days.
KeithExtra for the wyke Register
Purple For Polio
Rotarians in these islands have been working with the Royal Horticultural Society over several years and have just purchased millions more purple crocus corms, and these are being planted all over the country while you read these words.
When a child in a developing country is given the polio drops, he or she has the little finger on the left hand marked with a purple dye to show that he or she has been vaccinated. This ensures that we do not miss any child, and that no child can decide to go round again for a second helping!
Hopefully, on the anniversary of the founding of Rotary International on 26th. February, millions of purple crocus flowers will be springing up all over the country to remind us all that polio has nearly been conquered.
The Portland Rotarians have purchased 5000 corms, and the school children of the island and Friends of Victoria a Gardens are planting their corms in Victoria Gardens, and the Easton Community Group is doing likewise in Eason Gardens. Our thanks go to the Council for their help in this matter.