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Rotary Happenings: Rotarians updated on wheelchair distribution, co-op coffee farm

By Staff | Jul 2, 2019

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel-Captiva Rotarian Chet Sadler was the guest speaker at the club's recent meeting.

Sanibel-Captiva Rotarians are flying high. Club President John Danner, senior pastor of the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, and 20 church members were part of an inter-faith religious journey to Israel with Rabbi Dr. Stephen Fuchs and 20 members of Bat Yam Temple of the Islands. All the stories from the trip and personal reflections on the trip have yet to be told but needless to say this trip was a trip of a lifetime.

Club President-elect Eldon Bohrofen has just returned from the Rotary International’s convention in Hamburg, Germany. For the 15,000 attendees at the 2019 convention this is a very inspirational and motivational meeting. Rotarians, Rotaracters, Interacters, Rotexers and Inner Wheelers come together in a welcoming atmosphere to exchange ideas, inspire each other and start the new Rotary year – July 2019 to June 2020 with fresh ideas. In a few weeks, Bohrofen will be giving us an overview of his experiences in Hamburg.

Chet Sadler just made another trip to Guatemala and he was our guest speaker on June 21, so there will be more about this trip further down in this column.

Rotarians, Sadler and a team of four other Rotarians were scheduled to travel to Haiti on July 5, but that trip has had to be postponed because of renewed unrest on the island. On the planned group trip the task at hand was to check out an important water project that our club is financially sponsoring on Haiti and to check Rotary’s reforestation and soil conservation program – tree and grass planting. Rotary District 6960 pledged to plant one tree for every District 6960 Rotarian.

A planned investigation was also scheduled on this trip for a possible new sanitation project supporting the crafting of toilets on Haiti and construction training for plumbing the toilets in areas of need in Haiti. This trip is currently postponed until September.

PHOTO PROVIDED Sanibel-Captiva Rotarian Chet Sadler was the guest speaker at the club's recent meeting.

Rotarians seem to travel a lot, sometime because of professional responsibilities, sometimes for personal pleasure, and many serving Rotary by helping others throughout the world.

Serving the world, serving our country sometimes lately we get a little confused about what is the right thing to do and what we can even do to put into action those things. But one thing I know, Rotary continues to try Rotarians are people of action.

Now back to the topic of Sadler’s recent trip to Guatemala. He joined a group of other Rotarians from the United States and Guatemalan Rotarians for the express reason to distribute 160 specially designed wheelchairs adaptable to the rugged mountainous terrain of the country. It took a whole day after arrival in Guatemalan to arrive at their first distribution point, Colotenang, where the group distributed 150 wheelchairs. Then on to a rather isolated area of the country in the extremely mountainous region of Guatemala, Ixtahuacan. Here the group delivered 50 children’s wheelchairs. Medical exploration of the cause of the many children born with birth injuries in this region are under investigation and study. Our own San-Cap Rotary member, Dr. Michael Rabb, is connecting with doctors and medical researchers in Guatemala and investigating the possible reasons for the high percentages of birth defects in Guatemala and how preventative measures can be addressed.

Sadler also made a visit to the La Suiza/De LaGente coffee co-op coffee farm roasting and grinding facility that San-Cap Rotary has supported over the last five years through micro-farming loans to the co-op. LaSuisa is a six-hour drive from where the group was staying and transportation to the area was in a very crowded four-wheel pickup truck. Needless to say, when they arrived at LaSusia a cup of coffee was in order. After a meet and greet with their host, Sadler and his fellow travelers had the experience of participating in a quite precise coffee-tasting event. Coffee tasting is an important part of selecting only the best coffee beans for market. In total, 40,000 pounds of coffee beans are sold from the co-op each year with a nine-star rating. To visit one of the mountain-side coffee farms, the group had to climb – yes, climb on foot – one mile straight up to observe the planting of new coffee plants and observe the grafting methods used to strengthen the coffee plants so they will continue growing and supplying quality coffee beans. The coffee-farming co-op certainly has been a successful investment for the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary.

For information about the Sanibel-Captiva Rotary Club, visit sanibelrotary.org or “http://www.facebook.com/sancaprotary”>www.facebook.com/sancaprotary. The club meets every Friday at 7 a.m. at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club, at 949 Sand Castle Road, Sanibel; visitors are welcome to attend. No meeting is scheduled for July 5.