What is your service to your Rotaract Club?

I shall not bore you guys with so much history about Rotary or Rotaract because this is a message to inducted Rotaractors- and perhaps those dangerously close to induction. I believe that those in these categories are well versed enough to know the history and very purpose of Rotaract. If you don’t know, then maybe you should read this with a glass of water firmly in one hand because you perhaps haven’t gone to any pains to understaRCKC Logo- Officialnd Rotaract and find your place in your club.

I, Peter King was privileged to have been inducted at my club’s charter- becoming a Charter Director of International Service in the process. Before I could be such however, I went to great lengths to ask those who came before me every question I could about Rotaract and yet my curiosity continues to this day. What this has helped me to achieve is to appreciate the need for personal and communal development and understand how to handle relations with people of diverse background.

I did not sit about and wait for someone to educate me about Rotaract, or about the things I needed to do for my club. As a matter of fact, I listened to the four-way test being recited time and again until I understood it; I searched, downloaded, read and understood the Goals of Rotaract on my own account without anyone’s help.

I researched about my roles as a Director and executed them to the best of my ability without nudging. I found it relatively straightforward what I had to do. Today, I am often referred to for Rotaract questions from newbies and I am always glad to help- if only the questions were forthcoming by the truckloads.

Rotaract in Rwanda is now coming of age, thanks to a small band of pioneers who have pushed the ceiling. While it continues to grow, that small band doesn’t seem to be expanding at an acceptable rate, but the good news is that those same lads are strong enough to keep pushing. So here’s my simple questionnaire to Rotaractors in Rwanda and beyond;

  1. Of what service are you to your Rotaract club?
  2. How many times in a day do you dedicate to Rotaract Research? There’s a Rotary website- rotary.org that should be visited for lots of research.
  3. How often do you ask senior Rotaractors questions?
  4. What is the limit of your ambition in Rotary as a whole?
  5. Can you recite the four-way test and/ or the goals of Rotaract?
  6. How often do you participate in Rotaract activities like fellowship, make-ups and projects?

Those questions are basic, because it pains me that many Rotaract Clubs boast the numbers, but not the action of their members. Induction should be accompanied by a Rotaract Handbook for example- IF IT MUST BE.

See, inductions shouldn’t be just for posterity. It should be for those who, more than visit for a given number of times actually take a good time to always research, participate and love their club and others. Those are the kind who will push our clubs forward.

At the university, after getting lost

At a University in Bujumbura

I call upon all Rotaract Clubs to be dutiful in their mandates to train young leaders and grow the communities around them. To achieve that, clubs must have knowledgeable members.

And to members, take the initiative. It is improper to wait for someone to show you what to do. There’s a great many ways to grow and few come as big as Rotaract. Be of some service to your club.

I have been a Rotaractor under three years, and yet my curiosity is unfulfilled. I believe it’s all about interest.

Sit yourself down one of these days and think about what you can do for your club. And to that, I expect from follow up comments to gauge the number of club members and other Rotaractors who actually scour the web for Rotaract information.

Thanks and Regards,

Peter King.

A new team, new ideas. Our 2nd Installation

When the sun sets on Kigali on 19th July 2014 our dear readers, the Rotaract Club of Kigali City (RCKC) will unveil to you all a new President and a new cabinet.

Amon Bater takes oath as the third president of RCKC that evening at Accord Hotel, Kacyiru, having served an entire year as an able deputy to outgoing president Shamillah Ayebazibwe and having showed, in this past year all the qualities that he will need to launch this great club to even greater heights. RCKC will have very many presidents in future, yet upon the first team lies the greatest burden- to keep improving on past achievements.

Rotaractors at the club banner

…..previously on RCKC installations

Rotaractors after induction

…..previously on RCKC installations

The past year has been as great as they come and yet this coming one promises to even be bigger. Guests will be expected from Uganda, Burundi and Kenya in all three ladders of Rotary (Rotary, Rotaract and Interact).

Top of Amon’s agenda will perhaps be to build a strong local base and expand our international reach but his team seem equal to the task. Only time will tell and by this time next year, we hope to be talking improvements rather than regression.

So here’s to say thanks to all our friends and family who made our 2013/ 2014 successful and to urge them all to return to our support, just as we believe we have been of tremendous help to them. This then is a toast to; The Rotaract Clubs of KIE and SFB- Kigali (Rwanda), To the Rotaract Clubs of Bujumbura and Inyenyeri (Burundi), To the Rotaract Clubs of Nairobi Thika, Nairobi Central and the indefatigable Kisumu (Kenya), To the Rotaract Clubs of Kampala West, Kampala Central, Kampala City, Kololo, Kasese, Mbale, Kyambogo, Bugolobi, Kampala South and IHSU (Uganda), To our Rotary friends in Germany, The Netherlands, Denmark, USA and Britain, we say thank you.

Together, we served the community, made our sponsor club and partners proud, and taken care of our vocational interests as well. We look forward to even bigger things than that.

Our diabetes project will grow ever bigger and we will continue to give 100% dedication to our every effort to heal the community.

Life, as we see it in Rotaract has always been different from how others see it from the outside looking in. Many don’t even pay attention. This year, we hope to make them watch and learn. We always aim for the highest.

The Pins

The Pins

Please join us if you can to our installation event and charter celebrations as we take Rotaract in Rwanda to the next level. We are proud of what we have achieved and we hope our sponsors and partners are proud of us too.

So let’s all stand up and straighten our jackets and appreciate the past year of President Ayebazibwe Shamillah and then toast to the new reign of President Amon Bater. May RCKC leave indelible marks on all who find it and continue to inspire positive change.

SERVICE IS HONORABLE.

 

Rgds,

Peter King

Back to the business of fighting Diabetes

We have always had this our flagship project at heart and after some eight months away, we finally went back to Muiruwe Education Center on 24th May to spend some time with the patients. This time, they were 22 in number, with the first lot of 80 having been released from the center with business startup packages.

Rotaractors handing over some items

Rotaractors handing over some items

We took with us various foodstuffs, fruits and drinks; had lunch with the kids and toured their various farming activities like Banana plantations, Sorghum fields and cows on zero grazing. We played and danced with the kids, listened to their stories and gave them some words of inspiration.

PE Amon handing over clothes

PE Amon handing over clothes

Their struggles still remain. We are currently contributing for the life insurance of 20 patients to start with and will expand the number as the need and means arise.
We will also select volunteers from the club who will be following up on the patients who were released from the center and ensure that they do not fall to this monstrous disease. All that this requires is some four minutes of one’s time on phone with the patient per week- not too much to ask.

We will continue visiting this center every three months until such a time that we can see victory. Our contributions might be meager, but all these kids (yes, the majority are teenagers) need are people who can show them love and not segregate against them; people who can sympathize with their pain and not consider it a curse. Many of our members do not understand- or speak Kinyarwanda (the native language) but it’s amazing how they connect with these kids with just signs, smiles and laughter. We are always proud of those small contributions and are in fact encouraged by them.
So we are going to solicit for their insurance costs and whether we get for all 22 kids, or for just one kid (5 USD per kid {3,000rwf}), we will still take it to the center and they will be glad. Every kid who smiles is our blessing and we give glory to God. It’s a nice feeling to be Rotaract.

Rotaractors upon arrival

Rotaractors upon arrival

Rotaractors mixing it up with patients

Rotaractors mixing it up with patients

We wish for victory in this fight, and every help is welcome if we are to make this happen. It’s not the fight of The Rotaract Club of Kigali City alone or indeed Rotaract in Rwanda; like our fellow Rotaractors from Uganda showed those eight months ago, it’s a global fight and we encourage every member of Rotary, friends and sympathizers to join us in this fight.
The center told us that we are ONE of only TWO groups of people who ever visit them. That’s something painful. We hope there are more out there who join.

Village facts;
Location; Approx. 70kms from Kigali,
Capacity; 22 patients, 4 staff

Patients sing for us

Patients sing for us

Activities; Farming, tailoring, bread making, etc.
Needs; Insulin doses, insurance, caretakers, visits, etc

Thanks for reading.

Rgds,
Peter King

Rotaract members in East Africa unite in service

rotaractkigalicity:

In case you missed it

Originally posted on Rotary Voices:

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By Sarah Maingi, Rotaract representative from Kenya

On a warm Saturday morning in April, about 100 Rotaractors from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi gathered at a community in Buterere in Bujumbura, Burundi, to provide households with clean drinking water.

Some of the Rotaractors, myself included, had traveled over 1,000 kilometers by road, and all sacrificed their Easter holidays to serve.

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R.E.A.C.T Season II; Impacting Bujumbura

Just in case u doubted them...it's Burundi

Just in case u doubted them…it’s Burundi

This one was an upgrade; all the Rotaractors agree. The Rotarians and guests also agree and so do the waitresses. In fact, when I heard some frogs crocking and cats meowing in the distance at the closing of the inaugural REACT Chairperson’s speech, I figured they were trying to send a message; that the frog and cat communities agreed as well. The impact was massive, the fun, the organization, the people. It felt great to be among East African friends again- I told you before, that there’s only one such chance every year and one that mustn’t be missed.

Everything in Bujumbura was optimized for the project…err that is apart from the weather (the sun threatened to melt the tallest ones among us. The shorter guys were safe, seeking shelter in the shadows of the tall guys. They aren’t part of the complainants). If you are still figuring out what I am talking about, then perhaps you could start by reading about what went down at our inaugural REACT at http://rotaractkigalicity.wordpress.com/2013/07/04/rotaract-just-keeps-rolling-r-e-a-c-t-2013/ while the more updated ones catch their breath a little.

19th April 2014 was a normal hustler’s day down in Buterere, Bujumbura, Burundi. They went about whatever their business was without much thought to what the hot sun had prepared for them. They farmed their rice, tethered their goats, fetched water, and cooked their food. Then they harvested and dried their rice, relocated their goats to greener areas of the sun beaten plains, fetched more water and cooked more food. The briskness of their business was most impressive (I know what they were doing because I watched a lot of Nigerian movies before I grew up, not because I spent the previous night there) that is until some eight or so four wheelers came screeching to a halt in their humble neighborhood- TV crew and journalists in tow! Hehe, the Rotaractors had ARRIVED!!

Exporting UICT swagg to outside countries

Exporting UICT swagg to outside countries

This wasn't part of the project

This wasn’t part of the project

The curious little ones, as always were the first to come forward to inspect the situation- protruding bellies coming forward before the entire body would show (it’s a security measure I think, in case of danger, the body gets to survive) before one or two adults showed up. In these uncertain times, you can never count on the universe to always be friendly. This time the arrivals were beaming with smiles, but the curious villagers would have none of it, preferring to be a distance safe enough to outrun a bullet in case it was fired.

Anyway, so the host clubs did a short speech and divided us into eight groups, each tasked with impacting six households- I think I got over myself there….let’s go back a little.

Our purpose of coming to this community was to educate and train these little chaps and their parents on Water purification and sanitization methods for proper hygiene. The Rotaract clubs of Bujumbura and Inyenyeri had identified households in this community as the neediest and who could use some sensitization on water hygiene and purification. They were families who did not have a proper water source and had poor preparation and storage methods. Water borne diseases have been rampant in the area, dangerously affecting the population and their mortality rates. We needed to show them a better way to live- any small positive change is worth living for. So, where were we?…….

Rtr. Dacia giving sanitation tips

Rtr. Dacia giving sanitation tips

Sanitation practicals

Sanitation practicals

Each of the eight groups of Rotaractors, powered by sponsorship from UNICEF and Red Cross visited up to six households where they alerted the families on the dangers of drinking un boiled or un purified water and trained them on how better to make their water safe to drink. There were initial protests from some family heads- wondering why they managed to clock 80 plus years effortlessly if their water was deadly (To this we also effortlessly pointed to the aforementioned bellies of their little ones and wondered if they were heavy beer drinkers. It was agreed that bilharzia {etc} could be a cause just as much) but they eventually agreed, seeing as it is that they had very many people dying at youth.

After training, each family was given a bucket, a jerrycan, a box of washing soap, water purifiers and a sanitization handbook written in Kirundi, the local language to get started. Their gratitude was unmistakable and as always, that’s what gives us the most pride- the opportunity to serve.

At the end of the project- north of 15h00 local time, we left for central Bujumbura to catch our dinner (yeah right, we hadn’t eaten lunch either), give and listen to speeches, exchange banners and do all those things that make Rotary International a unique organization. It was the event at which even the frogs and cats applauded the outgoing chair as I previously stated. She gave a short but emotional speech which would make me cry if I should repeat.

Speeches from various representatives of all the stake holders showed one thing- that R.E.A.C.T has grown in leaps and bounds.

Entertainment from all countries present and election of the incoming R.E.A.C.T committee happened and so did the vote for the R.E.A.C.T 2015 venue. We are going to close down Kisumu- Kenya.

All four representing countries

All four representing countries

Rotaractors at the diner

Rotaractors at the diner

So, join me all if you will and let’s raise our glasses in toast to The Rotaract Clubs of Kisumu, Nairobi East, Milimani and Nairobi Central from Kenya; IHSU, MUBs, UICT, Kampala South, Kampala City, Kabarole, Bugolobi, Kampala Central, Ssesse and Kasangati representing from Uganda and KIE and Kigali City making noise for Rwanda.

Let’s also give massive thanks to the Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga for representing Rwanda as well as the Rotary Clubs of Inyenyeri and Bujumbura for some wonderful and unmistakable support they extended to our Rotaract hosts.

As for the Rotaract Club of Inyenyeri, words would fail us. The Rotaract Club of Bujumbura, you guys showed great teamwork in making this R.E.A.C.T possible. That you were with Inyenyeri all the way to the end was so wonderful so thank you Bujumnbura and massive thanks to you Inyenyeri. It was much more than we ever asked or required of you. Hosting any event can be some piece of work but hosting a three- districts event is monstrous. To pull it off requires great zeal.

Thanks also to all our sponsors; Red Cross, UNICEF, 100 trees and of course, Rotary International.

Our hosts were most entertaining

Our hosts were most entertaining

Some moves from team UG

Some moves from team UG

The event was a qualified success, and one which will take some challenging. The Rotaractors learned some French, and enjoyed the Bujumbura night life before boarding back to wherever the winds had blown them from. We expect to see all of them- and then more at the Kisumu leg. These tours aren’t the things you would like to miss, They will be the kind of stories that you would like to tell your grandkids a half century from now. Actually, you would do well to hear my own story of R.E.A.C.T at http://pkoloo.wordpress.com/2014/04/22/the-noises-of-these-youngsters-r-e-a-c-t-2014-88-years-later/ . This was an official report, that’s why it’s been very serious- don’t laugh.

Over to you, Kisumu.

Rotaractors with inspired families

Rotaractors with inspired families

The REACT cake

The REACT cake

 

 

Rgds,

Peter King

 

 

The noises of these youngsters. R.E.A.C.T 2014- 88 years later

Originally posted on The Book of Oloo­®:

10154533_10203767931301236_43803509999522501_n I haven’t had much sleep in a while lately, and these youngsters won’t let me. This time, it was different though. Someone banged at my door so hard that even my failing ears could make no mistake that there was danger at my door step. I sprung out of bed as fast as my frail, 116 year old body could carry me- which was all of sixty seconds to go and answer the door. Outside, my failing eyesight couldn’t mistake who was before me. It was my great grand-daughter of whom I was most proud and with her my great-great grandson tucking himself carefully between her legs as he looked curiously back up at me. My great grand-daughter, a recently inducted Rotarian had come to seek some advice.

“I need your help grandpa” she seemed to yell. She had said something about three times while I stood transfixed, unable to…

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The inside story of RYLA Rwanda 2014

When DRRE Vumi Kacheche stepped up to the stage to receive a Blackberry blah blah blah for his efforts in organizing RYLA Rwanda 2014, it was the culmination of great effort from a great team led by Guide Rotarians Sam Kebongo and Gerald Yemie and that comprised some of the most consistently active Rotaractors in Rwanda including Amon Bata (I think it’s spelled ‘Bater’), the very previous winner, also of a Blackberry- same model as above.

Senior Rotarians arrive; apart from the fluker in white.

Senior Rotarians arrive; apart from the fluker in white.

IPP Gitau (C) packs tea before opening RYLA 2014

IPP Gitau (C) packs tea before opening RYLA 2014

That Vumi’s Blackberry was lost somewhere in the dark of the night drew very few sympathies though, since it was his second Blackberry win in under five months but….let’s go back a little; to how it all began (the mathematics and complexities of organizing aside).

RYLA Rwanda took place starting the evening of 21st March and ended on 23rd March 2014 with a swing of the right boot of yours truly, when I let fly from 20 yards a thunderous shot in a football game that (rumour has it) left the goalkeeper dizzy- but we shall get to that.

Anyway, 90 Rotaractors and some Rotarians from Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda swung by Agahozo Shalom Youth Village- home to some 500 secondary school going orphans- located about 80kms from Kigali City to pass the night over there, itself being the chosen venue for this year’s RYLA. Every Rotaractor and Rotarian was allocated a family with which to stay the night. The families themselves where quite the number, upwards of 20, each in an entire house named after such heroes (in the eyes of the village founder) as Benazir Bhutto, Fred Rwigyema, Vasco Da Gama, King David, King Menelik, St. Valentine, Martin Luther King, Benjamin Franklin and Sir Ronald Ross. When I grow up, I want to be among such luminaries.

There was some entertainment later in the night before everyone was required to retire to their place of residence for the night. Early the next day with interactors from King David Academy also now in tow, RYLA Rwanda 2014 was officially declared open by the IPP of our sponsor club, the Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga- Rotarian Gitau Wamukui- and training began officially. There were lots to learn from the trainings that were conducted by Rotarians Sam Kebongo, Joan M, Patrick, RCKV PE Russell, and Centennial Past President Paul Masterjab.

Business experiences and testimonies were shared as were different entrepreneurship ideas. Also discussed were the roles of leaders and each individual was tasked to find out whether they were diminishers or multipliers in the execution of their daily duties (for details, please refer to the your nearest RYLA Rwanda 2014 participants.

Also discussed was the art of public speaking, as well as what the three branches of Rotary can do better to improve the functionality of Rotary international. There was breakfast, lunch and dinner at the event that closed that evening with team building exercise outdoors.

Later that evening and through to the middle of the night, a music festival was arranged in an arena inside the village compound. Rotaractors together with the orphans at the village gathered for a karaoke fest that had everyone miming to the tunes of their favourite songs but before that, we had the small matter of awards and official closing of RYLA. Four Blackberries were handed out to different winners- two for the best participants at the event during the day and two for the most dedicated organizers. Vumi’s Blackberry was found somewhere under a RAV 4, to visible relief from- well, himself.

Everyone danced the night away and enjoyed some non-stop music churned out by Amon of Rotaract Kigali City and Christian, a teenager resident in the village. The skills were obviously there; dance moves and all. The village director ordered us off the arena just past 23.00hrs and into our chilly beds, claiming we needed to go to bed early in order not to miss breakfast.

Participants very attentive

Participants very attentive

The signpost leading to the village

The signpost leading to the village

Next morning, and with preparations to set off for the bright lights of Kigali, the Rotaractors demanded to square off in a football match with the village team. The obviously satisfied Rotaractors were expecting to follow on from their 8-2 spanking of the team at Kayonza during the launch of a library the previous week but this wasn’t to be, losing 5-2 to a much fitter team of teens. Whatever the result was, there were moments of brilliance from the Rotaractors that left the entire village team holding their breath.

There will likely be a rematch in a few weeks, given that we are due to complete the launching of an Interact Club there (clap clap) and will need to go back shortly. We will also be much fitter.

With all done and dusted, we boarded our three coaster buses and hit the road to Kigali. Meanwhile……..

…….The Agahozo Shalom Youth Village is an estate that houses over 500 orphans, distributed in various houses named after famous people who- they believe- were of great impact to their society before they passed away. They live under a core set of values, and they are insistent upon them. Rotaractors were briefed about these on arrival and requested to be patient and adhere to these rules in place. In our brief stay there, we gave up such things as alcohol, smoking, and everything else that happens in the outside of the walls that now covered us. It was a proud period to see everyone being as one, careful not to give money to the chaps, or phones to make calls outside. We hope to have a long and lasting partnership with these people.

Our host prepares breakfast

Our host prepares breakfast

Guide Rotarian Sam during his presentation

Guide Rotarian Sam during his presentation

Massive thanks to the management of Agahozo Shalom Youth Village, to our sponsor club RCKV, DOT Rwanda for the blackberries, Bralirwa for 30 crates of bee….erm soda, participants such as the Rotaract Clubs of Kasese (Uganda), IHSU (Uganda), Ibanda (Uganda) and Bweyogerere Namboole (Uganda). Thanks also to Rotaract Clubs of Inyenyeri (Burundi) and Bujumbura (Burundi) as well as the hosts Kigali City, KIE and SFB Kigali.

You can follow more about what went down using the hash tag #RYLARwanda2014 on Twitter.

Let’s do this again, let’s make next year’s a much bigger event and guess what, the District 9150 is coming to Rwanda….BOOOOOM!!!

Cheers,

Peter King Oloo