Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rotary Clubs Ecatepec and Florida Satelite

I visited two Rotary clubs this week, both in the State of Mexico (as opposed to Mexico City).


Tuesday afternoon we visited Club Ecatepec, located in Ecatepec. The 2009-2010 President, Juan Carlos Peralta Pedrero, and his wife and son kindly came to the metro station to pick us up. We got there early, so he gave us the tour of the building (owned by Rotary) and talked about projects they've worked on, such as installing large containers in schools to collect water, in areas where water is limited. They also donated 4 incubators to a nearby hospital. There are 900 babies born there a month, many underweight, premature, etc -- mostly due to poor conditions in the area. The incubators have lights to help the babies' underdeveloped lungs -- and also serve as 4 more beds in the overcrowded hospital. They also talked about how many people in not-so-far away neighborhoods sniff inhalants, such a glue, which helps to numb hunger and cold. Very sad. The club has done various projects, but they acknowledged that the problems are very complicated and hard for any one project to tackle.

From there, the meeting started and we enjoyed lunch together. Billy, Vanessa and I gave our first real presentations -- about 15 minutes with our powerpoint slides to back us up (Vanessa and I also "presented" at the Club Jardines de Pedegral, but it was much shorter and very informal). Afterward we gave the club our sponsor club banners and received framed certificates for being guest speakers.

Overall, the club was very welcoming and friendly and interested in what we had to say. The president was also quite a character -- very funny!

Banner and certificate exchange with the president of the club, Miguel Garduño Mejía

The scholars and members of Club Rotario de Ecatepec

Florida Satelite
Wednesday evening Billy and I visited Club Rotario Florida Satelite. We realized the day before that it was not in the city like we thought, but in the state. Fortunately, the current president, Luis Gasca, came to pick us up! We attempted to go to where he works, but we had quite an experience on the metro (waiting 15 minutes at any given stop, lights going on and off, unbearably hot -- and packed during rush hour), so he ended up picking us up from a metro station.

This club only has male members -- but the wives all participate in a women's committee. They meet once a month (and all wear their green blazers) to work on their projects and then attend the Rotary meeting with their husbands. One of the Rotarians commented that "the women usually do more work than the men!" We were lucky enough to attend one of the "mixed" sessions. A new member was also inducted into the club that evening (and his wife welcomed into the women's committee).

Billy and I gave our presentations, which seemed much easier/smoother the second time around. (We realized when we got there that there was a projector available but not laptop. Fortunately one of the guests of the evening saved the day by letting us use his laptop!).

Billy also introduced a project we'll be participating in -- "adopting" children in orphanages to give them the Christmas gift they want. People can buy the actual gift or give $200 pesos so that we can buy the gift. We got a great response! The club has 18 members and we matched up 11 children with sponsors.

Once again, this club was very warm, friendly and encouraging of what Billy and I are doing and want to do.

Billy and I with the president, Luis Gasca (to my right), a member of the club and Rotary wives 

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