Rotary extends invite

To the Editor:

Last year, I had the opportunity to go to Asuncion, Paraguay, the homeland of the AFS student Dr. and Mrs. Siebert hosted in 1974. For the past 40 years, the two families have remained in close contact.

Francisco “Tachi” Cazal came to the United States as a student at Luverne High School. Fast forward to September 2013, while visiting Tachi’s family I was able to visit Hogar Jaun Pablo II, an orphanage caring for 16 of the most beautiful children. All are HIV positive.

The conditions of the home were deplorable at best. Two small rooms were set up as bedrooms with eight children, boys and girls, infant to 16 years of age, sleeping together. There was mold growing on the walls, and the play yard was nothing but dirt.

Despite conditions of the home, there were smiles on each and every face of the children I met. Imagine the euphoria when we walked in with armfuls of fresh fruits and vegetables from the morning’s farmers market. The children and staff were so happy and thankful for the food we provided. The needs were still many. The staff asked if we could bring them meat, as they had none. The children chanted, “Juice, juice, juice!”

As I left the children, I was heartbroken, wanting to spend more time with them to get to know each of them better. It was at that moment that my mind started to spin. As a member of Rotary in Fairmont, the motto “Service Above Self” and “Engage Rotary, Change Lives” came to mind. I knew if I really wanted to make a difference, it would be through Rotary.

On Monday, Feb. 24, Tachi will be in Fairmont to present the story of Hogar Jaun Pablo II. He will share how his family became involved in the lives of the children and what the needs are. It is the first steps of creating an International Rotary Project for our local chapter.

The meeting is at noon at the Fairmont Holiday Inn. If you would like to hear more about this, and about Rotary, we invite you to come. There will be a cost of $6 for the noon meal.

We look forward to seeing you Monday.

Jodie Whitmore,

public relations chairwoman

Fairmont Rotary