June 6, 2023, 2023 - Namaste Direct in Guatemala
Rotary Fellowships Month
The in-person (with Zoom available) meeting was opened by President Alan with O Canada.  There were 8 of 15 members present.
Alan read the Treaty 6 Acknowledgement:
We acknowledge that the Rotary Club of Camrose Daybreak is located on Treaty 6 land. This is the traditional territory and an ancient gathering place of many Indigenous peoples for thousands of years.
We recognize that we are all Treaty people and have a responsibility to become aware of our shared history, understand the Spirit and Intent of the Treaties and by doing so we can honour the past, be aware of the present, and create a just and caring future built upon Peace, Friendship, and Understanding.
Alan spoke about his and Valerie’s trip to Guatemala and Namaste Direct.  He showed a map placing Guatemala just below Mexico.  It has 17 million people.  The Maya are the indigenous people.  They were quite sophisticated building large cities with impressive buildings.  They were not necessarily peaceful.  The civilization had gone into decline even before the Spanish came.  The Spanish defeated them with firearms and the myth of a visitation by light skinned gods.  Alan and Valerie were met in Guatemala City and taken to Antigua.
Guatemala began a civil war in 1961 which lasted for 35 years.  One of the results is that Guatemala City has a large population and problems with gangs/drugs.
Alan showed pictures of old buildings and gardens full of flowers in Antiqua.  He went to a gathering of Namaste Direct, The Annual Women’s Business Conference.  Bob Graham established Namaste Direct in 2007, he wanted to help the women of Guatemala.   7 families control the wealth of Guatemala, it is a male dominated society, and the men have a problem with alcohol leaving the women to support the family and raise the children. The focus of Namaste Direct is to provide women micro loans, mentor, and train them to help them establish businesses.  The women clients were brought to the conference through a fund provided by a friend of Bob Graham.  He showed pictures of the shop of a lady who was totally uneducated, married at 16, first child a year later. She was good with numbers and established a successful shop. Her husband came to work for her, she bought the building she has her shop in and the one next to it.   Aside from the shop she has a side business making tortillas--during Covid many of the businesses dried up due to the lack of tourists so they switched to making something in constant demand, food like tortillas and tostadas.  She is learning to read and write.  Another woman sells Tupperware and shoes. She takes her goods to clients in their homes based on her knowledge of their needs.
The conference was held on Lake Atitlan, a beautiful location.  The women had sessions but also networked.  “An empowered woman knows her finances” was the theme.  There was a session on sexual and domestic violence to help give the women tools to deal with it.  Another was on how to change habits that are not useful.  Each woman is visited a least once a month for help and advice, often a man as it is not safe for a women to travel in remote rural areas.  They are working on ways to change this.  People often travel by School Buses sent at the end of their use in the USA and Canada.  Alan noted that travel to Guatemala was difficult with no direct flights. Alan answered questions on the educational and health systems.
  • Chase the Ace –they plan to start the next raffle on June 22 with the first draw July 5.  They will hold a celebration to present the proceeds to Alex Oliver and Hospice.
Happy Bucks 
Happy Bucks were given for: Jaywalker’s, her straight leg after surgery. A sad buck as his doctor is leaving.
Foundation Moment
The district is holding a Special Webinar. The District Service Awards are a way to honour members for exemplary service. 
Upcoming Events
  • June 12 6 pm at the Norsemen is our Joint Meeting with the RCC.  The students from both clubs will speak on this years RYLE event.  Dr. Glen Hvenegaard will talk about the Camrose Wildlife Stewardship Project.
  • June 13 at 8 am will be the regular Board Meeting via Zoom.
  • Alan will be away for the meetings June 20 and 27.  He asks for volunteers to chair the meetings. 
  • June 17 will be the official opening of the Disk Golf Course.  We hope to have Jason Philpot come to speak to us about the program. 
  • July 4 at 6 pm will start the summer program of evening socials at Larry and Patrice’s.  July 18 at Harry’s the new District Governor Brent Collingwood will attend. There will also be socials August 1, 15, 29.  We are asked to bring salads and desserts, pay $5 for the host to provide the main menu item.  Venues to be announced.
We closed by singing the Four-Way Test