On June 14th I joined Rotary Club San Rafael for their weekly breakfast meeting, held at Club Universitario.
I was one of three guest speakers at the meeting. We heard from the president of the San Rafael Rotaract Club. They have participated in various activities and completed various projects throughout the year. I was most impressed by their Make-a-Wish project, in which they granted the wishes of two children with leukemia. The 6-year-old boy attended a Cruz Azul soccer game (his favorite team) and got to go onto the field, accompanied by his favorite player. The 11-year-old girl got to meet her favorite actress and spend the day at the Barbie Store. We also heard from a group that is looking to expand the services of a 1-day a week soup kitchen to include psychological evaluation and treatment.
After my presentation, I exchanged banners with the Club President and they presented me with a nice plaque as well.
|exchanging banners with Rotary Club San Rafael president|
|Rotary statue outside of Club Universitario|
|Rotary Club San Rafael banner and plaque they gave me|
During the question and answer time, I was asked what I am doing to "pay Rotary back" for the amazing opportunity they have offered me through my scholarship. Though it's not much (and I'm always open for more opportunities), I've been presenting to various Rotary Clubs throughout the year and will eventually be presenting to clubs in the US about my experiences/observations/reflections, which is one of the requirements of the scholarship. However, I find I fulfill the "ambassador" role on a much more daily basis with the people I come in contact with in everyday life. Mexico has an extreme love/hate relationship with the US in general and my program includes some classmates (and professors) with some pretty radical perspectives. I find that I am learning a lot, but I also try to offer a perspective from the US when necessary and appropriate. I have also helped connect Rotary Club Jardines de Pedregal in Mexico City with my club in North Carolina (Crescent) and District 7690 to partner in a project creating a small, women-run shirt factory in Cuauhtepec, a densely-populated, low-income area in the north of the city. I help friends and classmates when I can with English questions/ homework/ translations. And I hope my blog has been and will continue to be a source of information that readers can learn a bit more about Mexico while reading updates on my life there. Finally, I know the experience I have had so far (and another year+ to go!) will stay with me in whatever I do in the future as well.