This is a story about making a difference.. being in a game worth playing. It also includes some valuable information about Rotary and how you can get involved in your own communities. Consider adding this to your 2014 Resolutions!
Yes, it is January 1, 2014! And what better way to start off the new year than with sensational progress on our Sanitation Project in Medie, Ghana. Everyone here is too excited to take the day off! Plumbers, tilers, carpenters and masons are working inside!
Carpenters, Plumbers, Tilers, Masons, Laborers…all working on January 1…
This is all part of a huge sanitation project funded by Rotary – there are 5 steps : 1) Education – with cooperation of the local EPA, we are training the local volunteers who will go door-to-door teaching about the dangers of toxic waste (and helping to change habits), 2) the renovation of this W.C. building as an alternative to bad habits, 3) the excavation and removal of the actual toxic waste, 4) covering the land with laterite – a top soil prepared for sealing the area of dangerous toxins and 5) planting trees in this community for the beautification of the area (plus to help with erosion!).
When I saw children here walking over the toxic waste, I was shocked! It was overlooked because the local citizens don’t get how dangerous this is. (I don’t think I have ever heard the word “pollution” here in rural areas.) But cholera, typhoid and lead poisoning is very real and lies in the dirt, water and air. Even today when I was at the site, I was chasing kids away!
Kids still walking on toxic waste but in 3 weeks this will all be GONE! Yeah!
Step 1 is well underway! The EPA is holding classes at our offices for the local volunteers. This is on-going for the next couple of months. We will also be holding a Communal Labor Day for the community to come out and clean our neighborhoods together.
Huge septic tank
Thanks to Rotary International, Rotary Houghton (MI), Appleton Downtown (WI), Calamet-Laurium-Keweenaw (MI) and Santa Ynez (CA), Rotary Accra-West and Joy2theWorld, Medie will have a new (renovated) public W.C. in the middle of town!
“Rotary International is an international service organization whose stated purpose is to bring together business and professional leaders in order to provide humanitarian services, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build goodwill and peace in the world. It is a secular organization open to all persons regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, or political preference. There are 34,282 clubs and over 1.2 million members worldwide.” (Wikipedia)
I joined Rotary 6 years ago when I was living in California (Pleasanton North Rotary). I just returned from Ghana in 2007 where I saw a clinic that was built in Samsam, Ghana. I was so impressed that Rotary cared about our villages, that I checked it out when I returned to the U.S. Even when I transferred (with Farmers Insurance) to work in Houston, TX, I joined Rotary (North Shore) and participated in many local projects. North Shore Rotary members were very generous financially in promoting J2W’s micro loan program.
And now, even though I moved to Ghana, I was fortunate to join Rotary Accra-West! It is great to belong to an international organization that shares my beliefs. Rotary’s motto is “Service Above Self”.
One day a week I attend my Rotary club and rub elbows with the BEST! :-) Today, because of Rotary Club Accra-West’s partnership with Rotary clubs in the U.S. (see list above), Rotary is funding this huge sanitation project! In addition to this project, our Rotary is active in so many projects in the Accra, Ghana area.
Rotarian distributing books at special event
Children performing at special book event
Rotary is also a partner with Joy2theWorld in shipping 30,000 school books every year to Ghana. Rotary Books for the World (Houston) ships the books (thanks to so many volunteers in Houston) and Rotary Accra-West and Joy2theWorld receive the books – distributing to over 120 rural school every year. This is also a huge project and has been one of many projects that impacts the children’s education here.
I am so proud of the work that Rotary is doing internationally. Rotary has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio and is winning!
Rotary “End Polio Now Campaign” Ghana
Living here in Ghana, I was actually able to deliver polio vaccines to the children living in the rural communities where I live. I am so blessed to have this opportunity to make a difference with the help of Rotary!
If you are looking for a way to make a difference, consider becoming a Rotarian! You can find out more about membership at https://www.rotary.org/myrotary/en/rotary-foundation.