Volume XIII, Issue 14: October 10, 2014

On The Calendar
October 16 – New Member Social – Plaza Grill – 6 pm
October 18 – Mad River Rotary’s Fall Festival at Pierson Park in McKinleyville – 5:30 pm
October 23 – Arcata Sunrise Cross Country Championships
October 25RISE EVENT
– Spirits & Spirits – Lost Coast Rotaract’s Walking Ghost Tour of Old Town Eureka – 3 times available!
October 27 – Firehouse Demolition & Construction Party – 12:15 pm
October 31 – The last Foundation Final Friday meeting of 2014
November 1RISE EVENT
– Foundation Dinner North in Crescent City – 6 pm
November 20 – A Taste of the Holidays

President Barbara noted that we had a busy and exciting week leading up to our meeting. On Saturday the 4th, a pair of artists from the Arcata Arts Institute drew our Club’s entry for Pastels on the Plaza, and a large Sunriser contingent showed up in the HSU parking lot for our Homecoming Tailgate Party. And on Thursday, October 9th, we received a sneak preview of Lost Coast Brewery’s new facility just off Broadway. 

The 2014 RCAS Pastel on the Plaza

Rebecca Crow has led her fellow Sunrisers since we began hosting the annual Cross-Country Championships, and she is looking for volunteers. The races will take place on Thursday, October 25th at 4:15 pm. But we will need to start setting up earlier in the day. If you can lend a hand, please let Rebecca know.

Our annual fall fundraiser, “A Taste of the Holidays” is coming up next month – Thursday, November 20th, to be precise. If you don’t know where the funds are used, here is a partial list of our Club’s projects:

  • Backpacks for Kids
  • Scholarships (Post-Secondary, History Day, Science Fair)
  • SWOT Projects (Serving With Our Talents)
  • Foster Youth Holiday Dinner
  • Rotary Park Renovation
  • Cross-Country Championships
  • Kids, Crabs, & Rotary
  • International Service Projects
  • Dictionaries for Third Graders
  • Youth Exchange Program
  • Financial Support for Local Programs
  • International Projects (Cambodia Academy, Project Amigo Support, Botswana Clubfoot Project, etc.)

Last week, Kyle Visser presented tributes to Mark Burtchett and Bob Moore. We learned that Mark is a very good dancer (according to his wife Cammy), and that Bob decided to return to college after his father found him a summer roofing job – in the hot Southern California sun! For all the details, check out their full recognition tributes (along with others you may have missed) in the sidebar to your right.

Mozara Talks About Home
The first Featured Speaker last week was our Rotary Exchange Student from Florianopolis, Brazil – Mozara Abdalla. She told us about her home country and her life there.

Mozara began by saying that “Most of the Americans think Brazil is only about soccer.” But she is a great ambassador for her country, and she is able to tell them (and us) much more. 

After all, Brazil occupies about half of the land area of South America, and it is the fifth largest country in the world. It is also the only South American country with Portuguese as its national language, and much of its culture comes from Portugal. The Amazon River is one of the longest rivers in the world, and the country hosts almost half of the world’s rainforests.

It also has the largest economy in Latin America, and the second largest in the Western Hemisphere. There are three geographic areas that have separate economic bases. The area around the Amazon is supported by agriculture, plant extraction, and mining. South-central Brazil has the most diverse economy, and houses much of the nation’s industrial areas. Northeastern Brazil specializes in plant extraction, agriculture, and livestock production.

Mozara talked a little about Brazilian cuisine, including feijoada, a stew containing beans, beef, and pork; caipirinha, which is the national cocktail, made with Brazilian rum, lime, and sugar; and she brought samples of brigadeiro, a chocolate treat!

She told us about her home state of Santa Catarina, which is on the southern coast. Most of the people who live in Santa Catarina are descended from immigrants from Portugal, Germany, and Italy. It has one of the highest standards of living in the country, with the highest levels of income, education, and public health, and one of the lowest rates of illiteracy. There are more than 105 universities in the state. 

Her hometown is Florianópolis, which is the state capital, located on an island just off the coast. It is the second largest city in the country, and its economy is based on technology, tourism, and services. It is a surfing center, boasting 42 beaches on the island. The temperature ranges from 43 to 100 degrees (Fahrenheit). “It gets kinda cold,” Mozara said. “Well, not really cold for you, and really hot.” Florianópolis has been called “The Magic Island”, since it is a major Brazilian tourist destination.

Mozara’s neighborhood is Jurare Internacional, a resort area in Florianópolis. She said that the area is famous for its parties and its beach. Mozara lives there with “my parents, my sister, and my dog”. Her parents have been married for 27 years, and they have been a couple since her mother was 16 and her father was 18. Her sister was a Rotary Exchange Student (to Austria) four years ago.

Back home, Mozara attends Energia High School, which she said is a very good school She also said that it has roughly the same number of students as Arcata High. 

Logan, President Barbara, and Mozara

Logan’s Memories of Italia
Part Two of last Friday’s Youth Exchange Extravaganza featured Logan White, who served as our Club’s ambassador to Italy last year. He focused on his impressions of the cultural and personal aspects of his journey.

Logan traveled to Varallo Sesia, Italy, which is in Northwestern Italy, near the border with Switzerland. He landed in Milan after a long series of flights from the US. His host parents, Giancarlo and Patrizia Bettoni, were on hand to greet him. “They didn’t speak a word of English,” Logan said, “so it was on me from Day One to teach myself Italian.”

He found that Italians love their food, coffee, and wine, and that they are generally very religious and conservative. Family is very important to them, but being on time is not. “If you are visiting a friend for dinner, Logan recommends that you “bring a sleeping bag – you’ll be there until midnight or later”. 

He observed a great deal of racism, especially in the north, and he noted that there is a lot of corruption at all levels of government. Logan also said that Italian schools are very under-funded.

Logan came away from his Exchange Year having learned the following lessons:

  • We are all people, regardless of creed, color, or religion
  • Happiness is a decision
  • Knowledge is power, and education is its tool
  • It is nobody else’s fault but yours
  • Don’t be afraid to be you
  • Show interest in your surroundings

Logan told us that Varallo is a small,clean town of about 8,000 people in the foothills of the Alps. It is an old Italian town where many people live in homes that their families have owned for many generations. The “pride of the town” is Sacro Monte de Varallo, or Sacred Mountain of Varallo. It is a religious complex built in 1491, and it contains 45 chapels and over 800 statues. It is situated about 400 meters above Varallo.

Milan was about two hours away, and is the economic capital of Italy. “It is very, very, very expensive,” Logan noted. Although it’s a beautiful city, he warned us that we should avoid it if we are planning to travel to Italy.

He does recommend that we visit Aosta. “I only went there once, but I fell in love with the city.” It was originally settled in proto-historic times, and the Romans arrived in 25 BC. The Romans built an amphitheater at that time, the ruins of which still stand.

Logan said that he visited Venice in November. His school organized a day trip for his class, so he was able to hang out with his friends and tour an art museum.The museum had rooms that represented aspects of different countries.

We heard of Logan’s friendship with Tommy Tomazo, who invented “Ultimate Sledding”. They and other friends rented small bobsleds and took the last lifts to the top of the mountain, and came down the mountain in the darkness.

By day, Logan was able to do quite a bit of skiing, including a trip to Alagna Valsesia, very near the Swiss border. He said that the resort has 112 skiable miles, and he described the experience as “bliss”.

In April, as he neared the end of his Exchange, Logan participated in a marathon in Vienna. He was able to get in some sightseeing before the race, so he visited St. Stephen’s Cathedral and wandered the streets. The marathon itself was a success, although Logan was exhausted afterwards. 

A couple of weeks later, his host parents took him to the “Blue Coast” of France and Monte Carlo. “It’s gorgeous,” he said. “If you have an extra billion dollars, you should move there!” He was also able to visit Geneva and Rome.

“Then one day, you get an email from United Airlines,” and it’s almost time to return home. He said that his host family and two friends accompanied him to the airport to see him off. “You hold back the tears,” he continued, “and you say that you love them and that you’ll come back, but you don’t know how. They say they’ll come visit you, but you don’t know how.” But Logan has family now, on two continents. Thanks, Logan, for being such a great ambassador for our Club!