On a crisp winter day, President Gloria Humphrey, International Service Officer (ISO) Christine Fretwell, Almoner Christine Parkin and Club Correspondent Ruth Riches attended the Innerwheel Club of Ravenshead International Club Lunch.
As we entered the Scout Club venue, we were greeted by Ravenshead Club President Margaret Craddock and their ISO Sandra Jackson. Closely followed was a warm welcome from Past President Suzie Parry-Williams. The event was attended by District Chairman Di Hylton and several fellow members of District 22 Committee.
Members from District 22 Clubs arrived for lunch and were served a delightful ham salad, with coleslaw and couscous; followed by a fabulous cheesecake, tea and coffee. Refreshed and settled, over 60 members awaited the guest speaker Rotarian David Hood to commence his talk on Nepal Revisited.
The Speaker; David Hood
David Hood is a Rotarian and today represented the Charity Aquabox. Aquabox was launched as a charity in 1992 by the Rotary Club of Wirksworth in Derbyshire, UK; with support from Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland and has retained that status to this day. Aquabox is one of the earliest of Rotary International (Britain and Ireland) box aid schemes. David is seen here, below, with Sandra Jackson ISO and President of Innerwheel Ravenshead Margaret Craddock.
David has always been a keen traveller and throughout his life has enjoyed experiencing different cultures; Nepal was on his list when he became involved with the Aquabox charity. David applied for the position of Groups Study Exchange Leader five years ago. David began to plan his trip to Nepal working with a small team to coordinate and liase with contacts in Nepal – a country surrounded by India and China, with a population of around 26.6million. District 1220 and 3292 in Nepal began to work together.
In his talk, today, David explained it was around November 2015 that he decided to revisit Nepal with fellow Rotarians from Dronfield who were off on a trekking holiday. David decided to join them but wanted to revisit some of the people and to see the work that had taken place when he had first visited around 4 years ago.
We heard how, tragically many dozens of people had died after the two earthquakes last year, a raging forest fire, flash floods and landslides caused by monsoon rains that had swept through Nepalese villages. Showing many of his personal photographs, everyone was clearly moved by them. The room was silent as we flicked through images of men, women, babies and children being dragged from the wreckage of what were once their homes or villages. See below, just one area of Nepal, Kathmandu Durbar Square before and after the earthquake.
One of the partners David had worked with was the Rotary Club of Devon and Somerset who donated a refurbished fire truck that would fit between the houses and village streets. In one area, it was identified that there was only one fire truck per 375,000 people.
Aquabox set out to provide safe drinking water and welfare aid items to communities affected by man-made and natural disasters and to areas affected by on-going deprivation. From an early stage, there were two forms of Aquabox: boxes containing welfare aid to sustain families in the aftermath of disasters including a water filter and chlorine purification tablets, and boxes containing only water filters and purification tablets.
David explained that many people were living in temporary accommodation, and how Rotary are working with the local communities to help rebuild homes. He talked about how difficult it had been to get the much-needed aid through to the worst hit areas. Aquabox distribution partners in Nepal are now dispatching Aquaboxes to the badly hit areas through the Nepalese Army and two Rotary Clubs in Dang and Tulsipur; without whose help this aid would not be received.
The effects of natural disasters on the infrastructure has either destroyed it or left it in a very poor state. Movement of people and of aid supplies throughout Nepal has been challenging and it is apparent that the effects will take years – rather than weeks or months – to be overcome.
David wearing his Rotary aid jacket that identified him to villagers and wearing the two styles of Dhaka hat given to him as a gift by the communities he worked with in Nepal.
At the end of the presentation thanks were given by President Margaret and Innerwheel Clubs of Warsop ISO Christine Fretwell. The raffle as always was a giggle and a great way to send people on their way home. We would like to congratulate Ravenshead on a wonderful speaker and afternoon of friendship.
David didn’t get away that easily as Di and Friends wanted a photograph with him.
The Rotary Club of Dronfield is a proud partner of the Rotary Club of Pokhara Fishtail, in Nepal, Asia. Together the two clubs operate The Fishtail Fund which has the intention of helping clever children from poor homes to stay on at school.
Gurkha Welfare Trust Video of the effects of the earthquake
Rotary District 3292 www.rotary3292.org