Club Updates

We need drivers for our Afghan refugee family. As per custom, they must be gender specific because it is not appropriate for men to drive women or women to drive men.


Russ Miller reminded us of the Jump for Polio coming up on June 25th at the Grand Haven airport. This is both a fundraiser for the Polio Plus program and an attempt to break the Guiness record for the most people skydiving out of a single plane. Rebecca Lamper and Ken Vos are jumping for our club. The District Governor is hoping to have 100 jumpers and has about 50 currently. Rebecca reminded us that she and Ken are soliciting donations for the event.


We are anticipating the arrival of our inbound exchange students at the end of summer. We only have housing for one of the students. If we cannot find housing, we will have to send a student to another club and pay for their expenses. Please ask around if any of your contacts know of a family who could host a student.


Our luncheon at West Ottawa with the challenged student is set for April 28th. West Ottawa goes to great lengths to set up this annual event and Robert Ortman asked if we could all make sure to attend. Donation requests for the classrooms will be available soon.


Our next highway cleanup will be April 23rd with a rain date of the next week. Meet at 8am at Veldheer’s Tulip Farm---Mike Moraw to provide bags, vests, and extra gloves for those who don’t bring gloves.


Russ Miller collected enough cash at the meeting to buy a new computer for the club. Thanks, Russ!


Dr Omar Keith Helferich and John Gronberg were our speakers. Dr Helferich received an environmental engineering degree before most people knew what that meant. He spent time in the military supply chain and then taught at 5 universities. He was originally an advisor to the HANWASH organization and decided to join the organization to help with the education component.
Haiti National Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (HANWASH) was created to provide every resident of Haiti with clean water. HANWASH is not a project, but a program designed to be a locally owned, sustainable development. In Haiti many projects have failed because they do not have a continuing program emphasis. A project delivers something and may not have support for the long term.
Access to water in Haiti is expected as a gift. Rotary aims to change this mindset by requiring payment. Each water project will be owned by a Haitian entrepreneur. Because local support is essential, a segment of the program is to recruit and train Haitian engineers. Local Rotary Clubs will be in charge of each project and will make sure resources are only spent on what is in the plan.
There are 7 communities that will be part of the current pilot project. They were chosen because they are a mix of urban and rural. It is hoped that these 7 areas will allow addressing any problem that will be encountered in the rest of the country. Partner organizations include Haitian government agencies, NGOs with experience in Haiti, and Haitian charitable organizations. Haiti has 45 communes (similar to our townships) and each will be tackled eventually.
Our district 6290 will be responsible for Terre Nueve. While the initial assessments were being performed, the citizens were asked how much time they spent getting water. The answer was 3 hours per day per person. There are numerous water sources, but only 15% are potable. There are about 200 homes with an average of 2.5 persons per home. The homes are widely dispersed so the current plan is to build centrally located water kiosks. Part of the reason for the low amount of potable water is that there are no sewer facilities. The waste problem will be tackled also.
The program approaches being developed are intended to be scalable and aplicable to anywhere in the world. This is the way that methods were developed for Polio Plus and it is hoped that providing clean water for everyone on the planet will be the next goal after Polio is eliminated.