My family and I are back home from our Trip to Kenya. My wife Diane and My daughter Hailey had a wonderful time visiting family and friends for the first time. We also had time to go on a 3 days safari in Masai Mara which coincided with the wildebeest migration season. This Safari was also very important to both Hailey and I, in Aug 1978 my Dad took me on safari, I was 5 yrs old and at 5 yrs this was my daughter’s first safari and from the look of things she is a natural.
On Sept 10th I met with Grace and presented her with 2 Laptop computers that were donated by Lester Cooper from the Chelan Rotary and also gave her the money to pay for the kid’s tuition (fee) and shopping for the 6 new kids as well as for the other 9 that we have been supporting from the beginning of the year. I also had time to visit with the kids and they were very happy and thankful to each and every one of you for your Love and kind support. They told me to let you know that they are working very hard at school and they want to make us all proud. Grace gave me their school report form and their performance was impressive. I will bring the report forms to our next meeting.
Dr Claver, Andy Kunkel and I also visited the 5 of the 9 solar lights beneficiaries and to our delight every one of the solar Kits was working perfectly. We had to change only 1 bulb that had gone out. These families have kept the solar kit in a very good condition. We left Grace with 8 extra bulbs for replacement if needed.
The Lights continue to have a great and positive impact to the community, I talked to the women and they told me how the lights have changed their lives both financially and socially. They make the traditional necklaces, bracelets and other Masai traditional bead work at night and sell them to Tourist during the day and also have time to do other family chores during the day. One story was even more compelling, one of ladies told me that she put one light outside of her house facing the livestock coral and ever since they have not experienced any incidents with the predators like Leopard, hyenas or lions attacking or even killing their livestock. For the Masai People livestock are a very major source of income and livelihood. Thanks to the solar lights for they have deterred these predators from coming into the village at night, the village and more importantly the people are safe at night.
The children continue to enjoy doing their homework and studies at home without any worries about darkness setting in or getting sick from smoke from kerosene lamps or firewood.
“We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.” -Howard Zinn
The Lake Chelan Rotary Club, at a special Board meeting on Tuesday, July 22, donated $10,000 of club reserves to the victims of the devastating fires in Central Washington. The donation was made to the Fire Relief fund of the Community Foundation of North Central Washington (www.cfncw.org/firerelieffund). Rotary President Jeff Fehr said “we are all impacted by the terrible fire tragedies affecting our neighbors to the North, and we wanted to step up and help out. We raise money from our activities just so we can help out when the need is there. Lake Chelan Rotary is the nearest Rotary club to Pateros, Brewster, and the Methow Valley and we want to do all we can to help.”
In addition the Lake Chelan Rotary Club has committed through their Community Pride and Small Project committees of their club to begin such community projects that become available to begin the restoration of the communities that have been hit by the fire devastation. These future efforts will be funded by donations to the Lake Chelan Rotary Community & International Fund which is a 501(c)(3) charity managed by the club. Anyone wishing to donate to this unique effort can send checks to the Fund made out to LC Rotary Community & International Fund at P.O. Box 601, Chelan, WA 98816. Any questions about the Fund, or requests for community projects can be directed to Jeff Fehr at 888-0856 or 679-6560.
My German, in my opinion, is coming along wonderfully. I can understand mostly everything that is spoken directly to me, but I am still not able to follow along completely in a normal conversation between two native speakers. My grammar is terrible, but I will have to worry about that later because if I worried about my grammar now I wouldn’t be able to say very much at all. 🙂 My German teacher at school (for little kid German) did not believe me when I told her that I did not study German in my school in America!
On the other hand, my other languages have been noticeably deteriorating. It is a lot harder to speak English and sometimes I wonder if my English is even correct, but oh well I don’t need English anymore anyways. If I must sacrifice some English eloquence to be fluent in German, then so be it! My Spanish has unfortunately been neglected to the point of no return. If I try to speak Spanish in my Spanish class, I immediately revert back to German. My brain just can’t handle that yet! Sometimes I feel like I am in the stage where I have no languages and I just can’t communicate for awhile.
I usually have something planned every week for the weekend. The weekend before last I visited Wien with some other exchange students and then came back the next day for a hike and outing with several local families who are friends of my host family. We hiked up a small mountain to some old ruins, had a glass of wine, and enjoyed the sunshine while the children ran around and played games. Then we made our way into a museum full of only the most unnecessary inventions. For example, glasses with a tennis net drawn on the bottom half of them so you “knew how high you needed to hit the ball.” Basically it was just a building full of entertaining objects to make you laugh! After the museum we went all went to dinner together at something called a Heurigen. It was just an open area where are a large group of people could sit down, eat some good food, and drink wine. Many times the owner of the Heurigen is serving up his wine from that year, and if you ever visit Austria you may not leave without experiencing and authentic Heurigen.
Last weekend was first a Rotary meeting in which the three exchange students living in my district were formally introduced to our rotary club. That night all of us exchange students travelled back to my town of Hollabrunn where a pre-celebration of Oktoberfest was taking place. The next day was the traditional Oktoberfest celebration in which I got to wear a dirndl and listen to traditional Austrian music. The real Oktoberfest takes place every year in Munich, Germany and is popular for people all around the world. Hollabrunn, however, also has a much smaller Oktoberfest and this is what I got to visit with my host family!
I was nervous to start school where I knew I would understand nothing, know no one, and be completely out of my element. But in the end I really had nothing to fear. I am in the sixth grade (or 10th grade in America) and my class is completely nice and welcoming. I didn’t go into the 7th grade with kids my own age because in that class they do a lot of preparation for the final exam that all Austrians must take at the end of their general education. The Austrian school system is completely different so I will give you a quick rundown. You have only one class of 15-20 students that you stay with from the time you are kids. You are only with this class and in one room the whole school year. Instead of the students switching classes, the teachers go from class room to class room. The daily schedule is also different for each day of the week. You have 6 periods per day and these periods change all the time. In total there are 10-12 subjects that I sit through every week, but I only get a grade in 7 of these which I choose. My schedule is also slightly special since I have not learned and do not need to learn all of the subjects as the other kids. So for classes like French, Latin, and Religion I go to the first or seconds grades during their German periods.
School is also shorter in Gymnasium. On a normal day school is out at 1:20. We do not have lunch in school but instead two 10-15 minute breaks where we are allowed to eat a snack. After school I usually go home where we then eat lunch together. School can be boring sometimes as I cannot understand all of the German that is being spoken so fast during lessons. But that is normal for any school anywhere (except in Mrs. Jenkins class, or any other of my dear Chelan teachers who may be reading this)! I have already finished the only English book I brought from America thanks to these long hours of understanding absolutely nothing.
Hello everyone once again! Much has occurred since we last met. The week after language camp and before my first day of school was extremely nice and for the most part, relaxing! I met the family friends and more members of my host family. Again, I haven’t met a person yet who is not completely welcoming and friendly. I had the opportunity to attend the birthday party of another girl my age who is very sweet. I met a few of her friends and was very pleased when they all made their way over to ask me questions about my exchange, rotary, and myself in general. It really is a unique experience to learn culture and daily lifestyles through immersion and observation rather than through a text book!
One day of that week we also went to Gmund where we visited a glass blowing shop and a huge indoor swimming park. It was crowded but still very nice to spend a few hours watching people play in the water and having conversations with my host mom and her best friend. Another day, my host father Korni and I went to a party where many people from Hollabrunn were gathered to drink wine and eat a roasted wild boar. I was able to try some great wine from my area (I live in the wine quarter of Lower Austria) and practice my German with some new people! We sat with the mayor of Hollabrunn and his wife and son, who are all very lovely. Other activities throughout the week included going on walks through the fields of Hollabrunn, watching my little host sister play handball, and visiting the little children of my host uncle and aunt. Ganz toll.
Rotary Youth Exchange – Inbound Orientation Weekend
Over 33 different countries were represented at the Inbound Orientation Weekend that held Sept 6th and 7th in Pentiction, BC Canada. What a group of amazing young people with lots of talent! Due to the wildfires the Re-bound weekend usually held in July was re-scheduled and joined the inbounds for the weekend. There was a parade of flags from the different countries and the students from those countries performed a short skit or shared a song about their home country. The re-bound students who have just returned from being abroad each shared their best experience and their worst experience on exchange. Some of the stories were heartwarming, some were a little scary but when asked if they would go on exchange again all unanimously said,” YES”!.
In visiting with the different students the one theme that kept coming up was that the students appreciated the local clubs being involved with their exchange by taking them to lunch, touring different businesses, enjoying an evening meal at different houses so they could share about their home country and town. Having others involved helps to fight off the normal homesickness that any 15-17 year old student experiences.
This upcoming year brings lots of opportunities to be involved. The Outbound Student Orientation will be held here in Chelan April 18-19th. Mark your calendar and come to visit with the students.
Jannik Tisher, our inbound student from Germany can be reached at his cell 509-423-1730 or at the home of Lori and Ken Jenkins 509-670-0723. Thank you to Lori and Ken for opening their home and hosting Jannik. Typically a student stays with a host family 3-4 months during their 10-month stay. This is a wonderful way to learn about a different country! If you are interested in hosting a student or know someone who is, please contact Lexy Lieurance or Tim Hollingsworth at Lake Chelan Rotary.
September 5, 2014
School has finally started for the 2014-2015 school year, and that means the Interact Club is moving along at full speed once again in hopes of another great year of helping the community! The Interact Club has a lot of new officers this year who are excited to leave their mark on the community and the club.
- President- Emma Elsner
- Vice-President- Mary Fitzpatrick
- Secretary- Malena Evig
- Director of Public Relations- Erika Arias
- Director of Rotary Reporter- Henry Elsner
- Director of Nicaragua Trip- Casey Jackson
- Director of Fundraising- Eva Anashensly
- Director of WE Programs- Haley Holliday
Interact Club has a month of showing ourselves to the community ahead of us, starting with our President and Vice-President, Emma and Mary, going to the Cashmere Rotary to talk about our club on the 10th of September. The club’s first meeting will be on September 17th due to delays caused by our presentation to Cashmere Rotary. Next, Interact will be giving a presentation during the Lake Chelan Rotary meeting in Chelan. To see us at our final event of the month, come to the concessions stand at Sergeant Field for the Chelan High School football game on September 26th.
Thank you for being interested in the Interact Club and giving us your support! This year will be another great year for Interact Club and the Lake Chelan Rotary. We look forward to contributing to the community of Chelan and working with the other groups and organizations in Chelan to make our town a better place!
Henry Elsner | CHS Interact Reporter
Obviously my very first impressions were hard to decipher through pain and blurry tears, but that did not stop me from noticing how gorgeous everything is. Mountains, lakes, and fields of flowers. Old churches, adorable stone houses with flowers lining every window, cobblestone streets. Everyone always dresses very nice and has very good manners. It is difficult to pick up on all of the subtleties that make people the way they are because of the German speaking, but soon enough I will be able to once more have conversations on a deeper level.
People drive crazy everywhere they go but if something is a 20 minute walk or less, they always walk or ride a bike. They are big on conserving energy and recycling here as well. You always turn off the light and close any windows when you leave a room, run the water for the least amount of time possible, and in most places recycle plastics, etc. It is hard to recall small differences now that I have been here long enough to get used to them. The doors don’t close like they do in America. In America doors close completely where they are pretty much flat with the wall. Here, there is a small lip that stays over the frame after the latch clicks into the hole. It confused me at first because I thought the door wouldn’t shut all the way. The pillows here are all square. They have the same length as US pillows but the width is extended. The toilets are usually separate from the bathroom and they are built a lot differently. Everyone uses shower gel here. I don’t know about you but in the US, shower gel is the extra thing in the toiletry gift bag that sits unused in a drawer until one day you decide to do a deep clean and throw it away.
Food is also different. There is bread available for pretty much every meal and of all kinds. Lunch is the largest meal here usually and when you eat you eat with your family all at once. There are different kinds of food in general but nothing crazy or disgusting and I have liked almost everything I’ve tried. One thing I found very odd at first though was the sparking water. They drink a lot of sparkling water either by itself or with flavored syrup, juice, etc. I’m not a big fan of plain sparkling water but with other stuff mixed with it, it’s great! If I think of anything else, I will fill you all in.
That is about it for my stay so far in Austria. Of course, I can’t explain to you all of the little feelings and experiences that come from being here first hand. Plus, I can feel my English deteriorating already. I haven’t had to write so much English in awhile because here I am either speaking English filler words, speaking German, listening to German, or trying to formulate a German sentence in my head. You will probably notice this with my future blog posts if you haven’t already! And this post was a little boring in my opinion because it was just a general surface run down of what has occurred thus far (which many people have requested). But in the future, I will probably be covering only larger events and more feelings and people than anything. I will have one blog post per month MINIMUM. Thanks for visiting and talk to you again soon!