Posted by Narayan Murarka, Kristine Young on Oct 23, 2017
What an honor it was that Rotary International (RI) President showed up at the Barrington (IL, USA) Breakfast Rotary Club on September 28, 2017!  President Ian Riseley made a request to attend one of our meetings.  The primary purpose of the visit was to thank our members for sponsoring a project that impressed him when he visited Guatemala with RI Director Jorge Aufranc, Club Rotario Guatemala Sur, District 4250.  Director Aufranc is longtime friend of Barrington Breakfast Club and an Honorary Member.

While in Guatemala during August 2017, President Riseley saw presentations about various Rotary projects.  A project he found most compelling was the “Mechanical Cow.”  This pressure cooker type machine processes soy beans into high-quality protein rich soy milk and fiber called okara.   These products are provided to school children in Guatemala, who often find it hard to get adequate nutrition because they are lactose intolerant. 
A detailed description of the mechanical cow project is available at this link: 
 
 
President Risely is a “fan of partnerships within Rotary, sometimes between clubs and districts and sometimes with other organizations.  It seems to me the best way to achieve more.”
 
During his presentation, President Riseley touched on the mechanical cow project sponsored by the Barrington Breakfast Rotary Club in partnership with Club Rotario Guatemala Sur. “The concept of the mechanical cow intrigued me,” said Riseley.  “The importance of providing milk that can be digested by the Guatemalan people was incredible to me and the difference it makes is amazing.”  This led him to casually suggest to Jorge that “we really should go out and say thank you to the club that has been so supportive and so generous with hundreds of thousands of dollars of projects in Guatemala.”
 
 
Also speaking at the meeting was RI Director Jorge Aufranc, a member of Guatemala Sur, the host partner club. He thanked the many club members who have travelled to Guatemala to help implement a variety of projects. “I want to thank you for many years of working together. What you have done in Guatemala is really making a difference.”
 
 
Aufranc provided more information on the mechanical cow project and our ongoing work on “Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene in Schools.”  Details of this project are available at this link: http://www.rotary6440.org/Stories/water-sanitation-and-hygiene-(wash)-in-guatemalan-schools
 
Aufranc announced that he is now working with Narayan Murarka, on a new competitive grant called Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) in Schools (“WinS”), for which the Rotary Foundation has set aside $2 million.  This project will make clean water available and improve sanitation and is aimed at disease prevention among schoolchildren.  The project also addresses hygiene education and training for children and adults, with emphasis on female hygiene. 
 
The club had a special “Honorary Member” name badge made for Jorge that Narayan presented to him.
 
 
The Breakfast Rotary's President Kristine Young also took the opportunity to present President Riseley with their club’s donation to the Rotary Foundation.
After Riseley and Aufranc spoke, Murarka gave a presentation titled “What does it take to do what we do?” outlining how the 50-member club has managed to do so much good in Guatemala.  One vital quality was perseverance in conjunction with passion, patience, persistence, partnership, and alliances.  His presentation is available at this link:     
 
He also pointed out that the success of our projects has been possible due to partnerships, a theme highlighted by President Riseley.  He thanked partner clubs/districts from within and outside district 6440 for their financial support.   Another major financing partner was “The Rotary Foundation” contributing over 60% of the project budget due to its matching policies, says Murarka.  “This has been a great boon for our projects.  I wish that The Rotary Foundation were a well-understood entity within the Rotary world.  Unfortunately, it is not.”
 
Rotary: Making a Difference is Riseley’s theme this year.  He said, “I believe in it.  I believe what we do as Rotarians makes a difference every single day somewhere around the world.  Every minute someone is being helped by Rotary clubs.  Your club is a fine example of helping and making a difference in Guatemala.  Thank you, very much.”
Sponsors