Meeting in Review: July 31, 2013
At 12:30, President Shaun called the meeting to order, asked for the silencing of cell phones, and led the Pledge of Allegiance.
With the reinstitution of a tradition of occasional songs to start off the meeting, Past President David Klaus accompanied us on the piano in “My Country ‘tis of Thee.”
Secretary Tim Hurd introduced guests:
Guests of Rotarians:
Brendan McGinnis, President, Water Resources Action Project, a guest of Abe Helal
Sylvia Musiani, CEO of Ital Group, wife and guest of new member Andrea Ghiaroni
James Butler, CEO of Guardhouse LLC, guest of Dr Sam Hancock
Chuck Schilke, of the Johns Hopkins University Carey Business School, a guest of Sharon Taylor
Major Paolo Cappelli, Italian Army, guest of Oscar Bartoli
Stephanie Spivak, President of the DC Rotaract Club, guest of Jennifer Hara
William Busker, Executive VP of Emerald Planet, guest of Dr Sam Hancock
Heidi Shoup, President of the World Affairs Council, guest of Kathy Ward
Kevin Borow, intern with the Smithsonian Institution, guest of Monica Smith
Diego Grajales, VP Kazen Services, guest of Guillermo Grajales
As guests together with our speaker, we welcomed Joyce Wanda, the co-Founder of the Arlington Academy of Hope, and Thomas Kitandwe, Program Director
US Rotarians in Attendance:
Jams Feckner of the Montecito, CA club was recognized and gave us a banner.
Overseas Rotarians in Attendance:
Dr. Seijio Sumida of the Rippongi Club in Tokyo, who also presented a banner.
Sergeant at Arms David Treadwell announced the birthdays:
Umberto Viviani , July 30. Umberto joined in 2010, and was sponsored by Marco Stilli. His classification is Diplomatic Service: Italy.
Christopher Teras, August 1. Chris was sponsored by Max Salas when he joined in 1998. His classification is International Law.
Oscar Bartoli, August 2. Oscar joined our club in 1995, and was previously a member of the Roma Casia, Italy, club from 1974-1993. He was sponsored by Maurizio De Pellegrini, and his classification is Journalist: Freelance. Oscar was moved by the spirit of festival and song to lead the crowd in a happy impromptu chorus of “Volare.”
President Shaun reminded everyone to Save the Date for DCPS Beautification Day, Saturday, August 24 from 9 am to 1 pm. The club will be working at Stanton Elementary School under the direction of Past President Howard Davis.
Another of Past President Howard’s projects is coming to fruition: Mark the date for the first Habitat for Humanity Build Day, Saturday September 14th.
Thursday, August 8 will be Movie Night, our regular fellowship and fundraising event at the E Street Cinema.
President Shaun awarded Paul Harris Fellow pins to Christa McClure (+4 jewels) and Peggy Schoen (+7 jewels).
He gave Sharon Taylor her blue badge.
Clara Montanez then introduced our speaker, John Wanda, Founder, Arlington Academy of Hope. Clara briefly talked about the concept of philanthropy and the example set by our fellow Rotarian, the speaker, John Wanda.
John Wanda came to the microphone and made reference to Christa McClure’s words on hope. On the projection screen he showed a rural Ugandan house in a remote village, a mile from water, sheltering a family of eight. That picture could have been of him a few years ago, he said, but his life was changed by winning a visa in the US immigration lottery. The USA is the Promised Land, he said.
Mr Wanda vowed to use his good fortune to give hope to others back in his native country, and founded the organization which he named the Arlington Academy of Hope after the city in which they now live.
In a well-organized slide presentation he showed the model primary school which they built near Bududa, not far from the border with Kenya. It began in 2004, and has had good success in educating a select group of students. More than 300 have been given a scholarship to go on to secondary school, and now 15 have continued on to study at University.
The school also provides medical care for the students and local population: a clinic with medical lab, maternity care, and vaccination. It sponsors a clean water effort and a microfinance program for local women. In an aside, Mr Wanda paid tribute to the tenacity of the program participants: work with women if you want to get something done, he counseled. There is a special program for albino children.
His PowerPoint photos, charts, fact and figures laid out the philosophy, policies and achievements of this model school and its ten point program for improving education. Mr Wanda concluded with a quote from the Dalai Lama – if you believe that you are too small to make a difference, then try sharing a room with a mosquito! Mr Wanda reminded the audience us that mosquitoes are actually a serious disease problem in Uganda and that the tiny insect can indeed drive someone from a house.
In the questions and answers, Mr. Wanda talked about the selection process for new students – it is an emotionally difficult task for the staff and they ask the American volunteers to carry out the mechanics of the process. Uganda has a population of 34 million and appreciates the work of the academy though it cannot provide much support. There are no Rotary Clubs in East Uganda. Building up the personal responsibility of the country’s teachers and parents is a very important goal, and the academy has a radio program to educate families. Yes, the resources used in the school are higher per capita than in the rest of the country, but the school is a model of what is possible.
President Shaun presented the tree certificate, and called for the raffle container. Wearing a light green suit which nicely complemented the green raffle box, Myrna Charles brought the tickets forward for the drawing. Peter Sawyer won the $54 small pot and then picked out the Ace of Spades to claim the $1,005 large pot! Congratulations, Peter!
The jackpot raffle was managed by Myrna Charles. The Hospitality table was staffed by Ted Hamady and Balraj Gupta. Greeters were Bill Watts and Umberto Viviani.
The meeting was adjourned.