Program for April 24, 2007, reported by Barbara Bristol-Price
President-Elect Jack presided in the absence of Tav and called on Tom Lidkea to play O Canada & Ben Andersen for the Grace. Jack called for a round of applause for the kitchen staff and the delicious food they serve us.
Visiting Rotarians & Guests, introduced by Giles Bixler:
Troy Alexander, Royal Oak, Mortgage Broker;
Abaw, Bahamas, Real Estate;
Jim Porter, Calgary S., S/A;
Jim Herheraghty, Harbourside, Construction Finance.
Janne & Miriam Ritskes, Kari Hansen Tyler, Liz Rodiles and Barbara Hansen were all guests of the Club;
Dr. Wolf-Dieter Schober was the guest of Hans; Carol Joal of Dallas and Karen Henry & Robin Nolden were guests of Jerry.
Below is our guest speaker, Janne Ritskes. Photo by Jack Petrie
Acting “Sergeant at Arms” , Brian Lamb, successfully extracted many loonies and toonies, for won hockey games, and fun attending the “Guess who is Coming to Dinner.” David Sills gladly carried the tea pot, enjoying collecting money instead of paying for a change!!
Happy and Sad Dollars:
No sad dollars, but many happy bucks. The daughter of our guest speaker won the draw for $19, which made her a pretty happy little girl. An anniversary card was presented to Jerry and Terry McLean.
Jack Petrie announced that during the month of May Members will be asked to commit themselves to serving on a committee for the following year. Sign-up sheets will be circulated and every member is expected to serve.
Tom Croft asked for our continued support for his part in the Hospice Swimathon on May 12.
We were reminded that there will be a Garage Sale next month, so start clearing out your overloaded cupboards. It’s a fun event and we make money too!
Jim Force tells us there will be a “Kids Kits Packing Party” where all the clubs kits will be checked and ready to go. For anyone who can attend, it will be at the Church of the Nazarene, May 3rd, at 7pm.
John Heraghty from the Harbourside Club tells us the date for the “Harbourside Hoot” has had to be changed. It will now be held, as before, at the Union Club, but the new date to remember is May 26th. Should be a fun evening.
Leslie Rogers-Warnock introduced the guest speaker, Janne Ritskes, who holds citizenship
in both Canada and Cambodia, and has lived and worked in Cambodia since 1992.
A short history lesson about that once beautiful country: The Khmer Rouge took power in 1975, with terrible atrocities, (Killing Fields) leaving the general population with a feeling of guilt (having been told it was their fault), anguish, hopelessness, and a country in chaos. To further this devastation, Vietnam invaded in 1979, the Khmer Rouge fled to the hills, but still had influence, so the Cambodians were living in yet another frightening situation of poverty and fear. Finally, in 1992, the UN took over and held elections, a process that took many years, (negotiations are still ongoing) with bringing Pol Pot, and other Khmer leaders
to justice. After killing many of the opposition leaders, Hun Sen was elected, and is still in power, and robbing the people blind.
This is the milieu to which Janne Ritskes came to Cambodia, and has worked tirelessly for Cambodians. She is an extremely brave woman. In 1994 she founded ‘Tabitha’, as an international non-profit organization, Tabitha
Foundation Canada. The name Tabitha was taken from the bible, a woman of good works. Janne is just such a person. She has started savings plans, pennies a week, so that
they could begin to gain some economic independence, and a feeling of self-worth and pride again. She has taught teams of Cambodians to supervise house-building. Her many programs have assisted more than half a million Cambodians to achieve their dreams for a better life. Janne trains development workers, all local people, to oversee Tabitha’s social support, and their commitment to save for their dream... be it a new pot or a towel, and hopefully one day... a home. She has developed a project for building wells, which results in improved health for households, and better farming. Her latest program involves a group of HIV+ women who are making quilts for street children and poor families, as well as selling as a means of support.
Janne Ritskes believes life changes require time, an average of 5 years, and she is committed
to as long as it takes.
In answer to a question, Janne explained that microcredit, at least in Cambodia, requires collateral and the very poor with whom she works have none. However, some of these have improved their economic status sufficiently to now qualify for microcredit.
Heather Aked thanked her for her dedication, and said that we were indeed fortunate to have had her as our speaker.
Saturday, May 12 there will be a Wine Tour to be held, for members of the club and guests, to visit wineries up island. Five different wineries are to be visited and there will be a gourmet three-course lunch included for the cost of a $90 per person.
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