At last week’s Rotary meeting, Bruce Higgs, International Service Chair for the Gananoque Rotary Club, was the guest speaker. Three years ago, Rotary International contributed to the “Rain Harvest Project” in Nepal by sending $35,000 US to Nepal to help build over 50 ponds in various villages.
In order to qualify for this aid, villages were required to fill in forms as to why it was needed, which gives the Rotary an idea of priority. Rotary supplies the expertise and material needed and the villagers do the manual work. Part of the program is teaching the villagers how to manage and maintain the ponds, including how to repair the lining. Many of these villages are not accessible by road, so the ponds, the size of an average swimming pool, are all dug by hand by the villagers.
After the earthquake a few years ago, the local mountain shifted, they lost most of their water supply, and many homes were destroyed. They have monsoon rains every year, and then the rest of the time there is no water. The women of the villages spend most of their time collecting water. These ponds cut down that time. They are a low cost to the villages and provide water to their gardens, enabling them to grow food yearly. This eases the burden on the water system. The Kemptville and District Rotary donated $750 dollars towards a clay water filtration system, in order to provide clean drinking water to the villagers.
Part of the money is spent in sending children off to school to learn, get an education, and, hopefully, come back and help build the community.
Rotary is heading back again …this time to help rebuild some of the homes that have been destroyed. Cora and John Beking from Kemptville Rotary will be part of the team. Cora says that: “We leave November 6 for three weeks. We are going as part of a team of 14 Rotarians from five different Rotary clubs to see the pond projects, to help distribute water filters, and also to investigate the possibility of starting a Stove Project, similar to what we have been doing in El Salvador for the past eight years”.
Smoke from open cooking fires kills more than eight times as many people as malaria, but the Ecocina stove, used in the Stove Project, is a safe, clean-burning stove that reduces smoke and carbon emissions. The Stove Project has successfully distributed over 300 stoves in El Salvador in the last few years.
Cora points out that she and John pay all of their expenses themselves. They will also be visiting schools and meeting students that Bruce Higgs has sponsored through school and hiking in the Himalayas for a week.