8th annual Jacksonville-Applegate  Rotary Salmon Bake dinner and auction is September 10, 2017 at historic Hanley Farm!

If you were one of the several thousand Masai people living in Longido, Tanzania near the Serengeti Plain, your sources for water were seasonal ponds or open wells, most of which were shared with wild and domestic animals and contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites. The result? Uniform childhood dysentery and high infant mortality from drinking this water. Locals also suffered from varied GI diseases and blindness as there was no clean water for washing hands and eyes.

Enter the Jacksonville-Applegate Rotary Club in partnership with the local Rotary Club in Tanzania. Michel Mantheakis—brother of our member Platon Mantheakis and a member of the Rotary Club in Tanzania—found a well that was sufficiently deep, had good production capacity, and had passed testing for harmful bacteria. Our Club provided the funding, and Michel, along with local contractors, built platforms, installed tanks, and equipped the well with a pump, piping, and a solar array to power the pump. Water is pumped into holding tanks, then into a public spigot for collection by residents.

As with all projects the Rotary Club funds, sustainability is key. In this case, solar power assures that the well is not dependent on fuel sources and requires less ongoing maintenance. And the entire operation is fenced and guarded by the local Government to be sure that people and animals don’t interfere with its operation. Our Club has been invited by the residents of Longido to visit next May for a celebration of this successful project.

Our Club has been passionate about clean water for many years. In the past, working again with the Mantheakis family, we completed a 6-mile pipeline project in southern Tanzania to provide clean water for over 30,000 residents in 7 villages.

Working closer to home, our Club, spearheaded by member Judi Johnson, also completed several projects in Panachel, Guatamela providing in-home water filters for rural Mayan families and training residents in their use. And member, Donna Briggs, is currently working on a project for the Club to distribute 2,000 water filters next November in Cabo Corrientes, Mexico where over 10,000 people live without potable water.

These are just a few examples of what a group of volunteers in a small Club like Jacksonville-Applegate Rotary can do. But we are just one small part of a much larger organization. In fact, Rotary International is the world’s largest civic organization, with 1.2 million women and men, in more than 35,000 clubs in over 140 countries working together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. Rotary members believe we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues, and we work together to make improvements in six areas: promoting peace; fighting disease; providing clean water and sanitation, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.

In addition to the international water projects, our Club supports many improvement projects in Jacksonville and the Applegate area—from placing signage in the historic cemetery to gardening at the Britt to helping Cantrall-Buckley Park with their renovations. We also support our youth by delivering dictionaries to our area’s third-graders, providing training to help young people develop leadership skills, and providing scholarships to local college-bound students. Our club is growing; we have many exciting projects upcoming, and we always welcome new members who want to make a difference in the world.

If you’d like to learn more about Rotary and our local Club, we invite you to join us at a meeting. We meet every Thursday morning from 7:00-8:00am at Bella Union Restaurant in Jacksonville. In addition to planning our community service projects, our meetings regularly include speakers from around the Valley who provide inspirational and informative programs. And if you’re inspired by the work that our Club is doing to provide clean water, please attend our 8th annual Salmon Bake dinner and auction on September 10 at historic Hanley Farm. All proceeds will support our clean-water projects. Tickets may be purchased in advance for $25 from a Rotary member or by emailing campanella2003@gmail.com.

To learn more about the Jacksonville-Applegate Rotary Club, visit JacksonvilleApplegateRotary.org and please “like” us on Facebook!