Qualicum Beach rotary goes to school

Club members team up to help rebuild storm-damaged school building in Guatemala

A speedy response went out from 24 Mid-Island Rotary Clubs over the weekend of Jan. 20-23 this year to local Rotarians in the small community of San Antonio Palapo in Guatemala who were asking for urgent funding to help repair a local school roof.

The school was subjected to strong winds on Dec. 18 and much of the clay tile roof was destroyed. Jan. 16 was to have been the first day of their new school year, but with a dangerous roof with gaping holes, the school had to be closed. This meant 250 students were not going to receive their crucial education.

In addition, local challenges included a San Antonio Palapo water system still in critical shape: rife with breakage and leaks exacerbated by mud slides from five years ago. Something had to be done quickly.

The urgent email from the Central American country arrived on Jan. 20 asking for $5,000. Within three days, the 24 Rotary Clubs in the Mid-Vancouver Island Group voted to support. The Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach wasted no time in granting its own $500 of community-raised funds to the cause.

“The quick response time from the Canadian Rotarians blew us away,” the village’s liaison person wrote the next day in an email.

“This community has a special place in our hearts as many members have volunteered their time and money to support this community with latrines, roof repairs and potable water,” said the Qualicum Beach club’s President, Dave Bartram.

“We really had no choice,” added local Rotarian, Jason Davies. “Dave and I have been down there and met the people and seen their need first hand.”

Mid-Island Group Rotarians in Guatemala will now finish the school roof project by end the end of this month using local labour and materials, as always. They are also building a water system for the town, repairing roofs in shacks for single women and making wooden beds with Mid-Island Rotary District Grant money and club donations already approved.

As in this case and all others, Rotarians pay for all transportation costs and room and board out of their own pocket. They are not paid for the sweat equity. Serving humanity through Service before Self is the Rotary moto.

Both Bartram and Davies noted, “This is just one example of the power of Rotary and Rotarians in our community of Oceanside. The money we spend comes from the community and so we all share in this good news.”

If you are interested in being a Rotarian you’ll find the Rotary Club of Qualicum Beach at www.qualicumbeachrotary.com, or like their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=rotary%20club%20of%20qualicum%20beach.