Rotary in Jamaica
Mike Fieldsend reports....
One of the unanticipated outcomes of our enforced time having to meet on zoom, has been the interaction this has brought with many Rotarians from across the world joining our Friday sessions. The most 'faithful' of these has been Desmond Creary from the Rotary Club of
Kingston, Jamaica, who we believe has got up early on at least thirty occasions to join us at lunchtime before settling down to his own breakfast in the Caribbean time zone!
On August 13th Desmond became the first Speaker to give a zoom talk to our new hybrid meeting structure. In addition to those Rotarians at the Novotel he was joined, remotely, by two friends from Erlangen, a member of Montego Bay Rotary Club, and several of our own members who could not be physically present.
Desmond gave a brief introduction to his own background - in glass container production - as well as telling us a bit about Jamaica. He then proceeded to talk about the Rotary Club of Kingston and, in particular, about the major projects each President initiates for his year.
These are all substantial pieces of work and, as part of the process, they have to be sustainable in the long term. The scale of their ambition brought cries of admiration from York!
The RC of Kingston has been in existence for 62 years and currently has a membership of around 70 - down from 120 at its peak. They were the first of the twenty-nine Rotary Clubs in Jamaica and have spawned nine daughter clubs themselves. They actively pursue international relationships and are twinned with two clubs in the US and another two in Canada.
The onset of COVID meant that the traditonal approach to the Presidential Project was no longer feasible. However, not daunted, RC Kingston organised an impressive array of smaller schemes, providing, via a Global Grant, US$160k, worth of equipment for the baby unit of a children's hospital; sustainable supplies of clean water for kindergarten and primary schools where 10 years of drought have resulted in water services being shut off for periods.
For the last 40 years, RC Kingston has provided a 'Christmas Treat' for 1000 poorer citizens. This was not possible in 2020, but instead items were sauced from the 'wish-lists' of senior citizen's homes. These included such things as washing machines, microwaves, PPE and sanitizing products. They also took gifts to the residents of a local Cheshire Village for people with disabilities. And, not least, still found the energy to provide 340 meals to feed homeless street people.
To say York Rotary was impressed would be an understatement! President David brought the session to a close, encouraging Desmond to come back on another occasion and tell how they raised the funds for all this splendid work.