Next Week: Heather Paulsen will talk about benefit corporations and B Corp Certification, and how business can be used as a force for good.
Prez John Cottle opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and a song.
Guests: John Turnbull, our speaker today and a Paul Harris Fellow; and Fred (last name not provided), a farmer and volunteer fireman in Petaluma, with a second home here with his wife.
- Pete had a great visit from his daughter and her significant other, and he misses them already!
- Clayton is happy that today’s his birthday, and that his sister is visiting from Alaska. Happy birthday!!
- Donna is happy to report that the Rotary conference for the youth (with 13 schools) went wonderfully! And she is also happy that she had jury duty and was excused.
- Kira got back from Reno where they celebrated her husband’s brithday, and she is happy that they came back with as much money as they left with.
- Bruce is happy to have gotten donations to cover the entire amount needed for the tree trimming in Rotary Park, including donations from two B&B’s and Tom Honer. Eager Beaver has donated a whole day of trimming service (value $1500!).
- Matt is happy that they’ll mow Rotary Park tomorrow, and decide what tree trimming will
happen to give the B&B’s more of a blue water view. We may get some flack for touching the trees, but safety is the issue and the trimming will be geared to increase Park safety. (Our next Park visioning session, facilitated by Matt, will be May 7.)
- Kevin is happy to announce that he will step in as Interim CEO at Chamber of Commerce starting next Friday (Debra is moving on to North Coast Brewing Co.).
- Ray shared the happy news that Debra has a great new opportunity at NCBC!
- John C. is happy that Wilma has always done such a great job with the Sunshine Report. Thanks, Wilma!
Jerry was back in hospital, but is back home again. Joe has recovered from his fall, but the shingles are still bothering him. Chatter is not doing well… keep them all in your healing thoughts!
This is the week we’ll finally do our first Adopt-a-Highway clean-up! Meet at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, 4/4/15, at the St. Anthony’s parking lot. Bring gloves. Everything else will be provided. John P. provided a handout for all volunteers to read.
Donna announced a couple of classes coming up at the hospital: April 21, Advanced Directive planning, 6-8 p.m., free. Medical Power of Attorney is also important to do (no class at this time, but forms are available at hospital).
John Turnbull and his wife Debbie were among the first 3 Paul Harris Fellows in our area! John is here to talk to us today about his ongoing work in Haiti.
But first, Finemaster John P. collected great amounts of money as we revealed our collective ignorance of the following facts:
- The current President of Haiti is musician Michel Martelly.
- The capital of Haiti is Port-au-Prince.
- The flag colors of Haiti are blue and red.
- Haiti is part of the island of Hispaniola.
- Haiti declared independence in 1804.
- Haiti’s population is roughly 10 million.
- The leader of the revolution in the late 1790s was Toussaint L’Ouverture, a slave. This was considered the most successful slave revolt in history, as it resulted in the founding of a state.
- Haiti was not recognized by the US until after the civil war.
John Turnbull has been all over the world providing help in the wake of natural disasters and other humanitarian needs. He’s helped to build schools, churches, and start small businesses with sewing machines, and more.
John has been to Haiti 13 times since the earthquake in 2010 with his group, Disaster Relief Samaritan’s Purse, and also with others. They built an orphanage, which had to be moved/started again when the government decided to expand the airport through the site of the original orphanage.
80% of Haitians live on less than $2/day. John’s group paid them $7/day, so they had lots of workers on site, learning new skills to build the orphanage. They started a school and food program at the orphanage. They built a medical clinic outside the walls of the orphanage, and they provide free medical care to the community. They’ve put in wells, too. The orphanage is fully solar. They have aquaculture, raising fish for food — the orhpanage is fully self-sufficient.
John and his team then went to the mountains. About 50% of Haitians practice voodoo, and the rest practice Catholicism. In the mountains, voodoo is the main religion, even if they also attend Catholic mass. Tomorrow, Good Friday, is an incredible day in Haiti. There are bands and music and noise in front of the churches, to compete for parishioners.
Haitians live for today, since the future is uncertain. 80-90% of the population speaks Creole, and 10-20% speak French and Creole. The government is run in French, so most of the people cannot communicate with the government. There are 168 political parties in Haiti, and they are about to hold elections. Corruption is rampant among police and government.
Haiti does not have a military. In 1804, Haiti gained independence but had a huge debt to France, which kept the country poor. The United Nations provides military service there. Papa Doc and then his son Baby Doc were dictators who ruled from 1954 through 1986 were ousted in a popular uprising. Later Presidents Aristide, then Preval, wound up being corrupt as well, and the US removed them from power. Current leader is musician Michel Martelly.
80% of the population is under 30 years old, and there is 80% unemployment. John feels that education is the only hope. There were 1.5 million homeless after the earthquake; that’s down to about 200,000. Haiti is a beautiful country, and there needs to be much investment — if the corruption can be eliminated. Gold has recently been discovered in Haiti, and John fears that the Haitians will not see any benefit from that natural resource.
There are large Haitian populations in Boston, New York, Montreal and Miami. If Haitians come to the US/Canada/Europe for a college education, they tend not to return to Haiti.
John and his friends held a fundraiser, and bought 11 sewing machines and enough material to make many uniforms. Within 10 days, with picture-based training manuals, 20 women had become fantastic seamstresses. This project made a great income-generation project.
John’s next project is to go into the mountains. First they have a revival, then they build a church, and make a school, and feed the kids, and the village economy improves.
Today’s Raffle Winners: Kira and Cornelia. No one drew the joker, and only 11 cards are left — the pot is up to over $200!