Volume XIII, Issue 35: April 8, 2016

Coming Distractions …
April 16RISE EVENT – Wine & Food Festival at HSU, presented by the Lost Coast Rotaract Club and the HSU Rotaract Club 
May 6-8 – District 5130 Conference – Marriott Napa Valley Resort & Spa 
May 29-June 1 – RI Conference in Seoul, South Korea 
June 11 – RISE EVENT – Rotaract Color Run
June 18 – RISE EVENT – 26th Arcata Oyster Festival – provide beer to the thirsty
July 4RISE EVENT – Independence Day on the Plaza – volunteer at the RCAS Family Comfort Station
July 9RISE EVENT – Friends of the Dunes’ Sand Sculpture Festival

RISE = Rotary Involvement Strengthens Everyone 

Sunriser Shorts

  • President Howard thanked Barbara Browning, Susan Jansson, and Julie Vaissade-Elcock for putting together and submitting our awards applications for the year. They made the case for our Club in 11 categories: Club Service, Community Service, International Service, Leadership, Membership, Vocational Service, Youth Service, Club Mentoring, Youth Mentoring, PolioPlus, and Public Image. Thank you!!
  • The trip to Costa Rica has been postponed until the fall, in hopes that additional Rotarians and Rotaractors will be able to attend. If you are interested, President Howard will be hosting a potluck dinner this Thursday, April 14th. (Please RSVP.) 
  • Howard also reminded us that if you are going to be in contact with minors as part of your Rotary life, you need to be vetted. There are two levels, depending on whether you will be the only adult in contact with young people, or whether there will be more that one adult. In the latter case, you need only attend our meeting on Friday, April 29th. Chuck Dominick of the Rotary Club of Arcata (Noon) will give a short presentation that will qualify you. (If you miss that meeting, you can take a test online to reach the first level.) If you will be in a one-on-one situation, there are additional requirements. Please see President Howard or a member of the Youth Exchange Committee for details.

Sophia’s Stories  
Exchange Student Sophia Waern-Bugge said that she recently went to the beach with her Host Mother Lisa Hemphill. She also played baseball with Host Dad Chris and visited the Mad River Brewery. At some point, Sophia also went to In-N-Out Burger, which was good, but she told us that her favorite burgers come from Stars. 

Trula Looks In On Us From Italy! 

Ian Schatz set up an online video chat session with our representative in Trieste, Italy – Exchange Student Trula Rael. If you haven’t yet checked out her blog – Trula In Italy – be sure to do so! As she proved again on Friday, she is an articulate, good-natured representative for all of us.  Trula is happy to be in Italy, and she is having a good time. She shared some of the high points and the low points of living in another country.

Trula looks in on us from Italy!

She started talking with us in Italian, but Ian reminded her that we are not as fluent as she has become! It was great to see that speaking the language seems to be second nature to her now. However, she noted that the early going was not easy. With a limited vocabulary, her conversations were limited to “Hi, how are you?” Now, it’s much easier. “My Italian has come a long way,” she said.
Trula finds it interesting that her concept of time differs from most Italians. She said that, while she is happy that it is only two hours by train to the next city, “the Italians say, ‘Whew – that’s so far away!'”. She also noted that traveling by train is inexpensive, and it’s great.

One of the things she was most looking forward to was the cuisine, and she has indeed “enjoyed the last seven months of food”. Among the things she would like to bring back are the hot pizza. She said, “You eat an entire pizza,” not just a slice. Other great food included pastas and gelato. She has had opportunities to cook with her host families. 

Her first host family was great. “I went to the mountains with them,” she told us. The second family was not a good match on either side, and it proved to be a difficult two months, but then her third family – which included one of Trula’s good friends – was a much better fit. She has been with them for about a week, “but it’s already wonderful,” she told us. She has found a greater appreciation for her home in California, however she’s not yet ready to leave.

“Now You Are In The Boat With Us”

Our Featured Speakers were Amy Uyeki and Lori Dengler. Along with Amya Miller, Lori and Amy created “The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home”. Lori is a nationally recognized earthquake and tsunami expert, and she is an emeritus professor at Humboldt State. Amy is a multimedia artist whose work was featured in a 2012 PBS documentary about the camps where Japanese-Americans were interned during World War II. Both women recently returned from Japan, which included a visit to Rikuzentakata, a town in the Iwate Prefecture that suffered great losses of lives and property during the 2011 tsunami there. 

On April 11, 2013, Lori posted this message on the Rikuzentakata Facebook page: “A possible tsunami boat from a High School in Rikuzentakata was found on a Northern California beach last Sunday [April 7]. We are trying to find the owners and learn more about its story. (Photos of the boat are posted on the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group Facebook page.) Amya Miller responded on behalf of the city, and began a dialog that would bring the Kimome back to the students of Rikuzentakata High School. This effort also led to a deep connection between those students and the students of Del Norte High School. 

Lori said that each year, Facebook selects ten stories for its “Facebook Stories”, which highlight the connections that occur on the social media site. When they heard about this story, it was a natural fit for their program. This led to the following short documentary by Wild Pair Films about the return of the tsunami boat:

Lori told us that when she was in Japan about six weeks after the 2011 tsunami, she took a lot of pictures of the devastation. Although she didn’t know it at the time, one of the buildings she photographed was Rikuzentakata High School. She said that she first saw Kamome “three years ago today”; it had beached the night before. She scoured the boat looking for clues to its origin. 

Lori Dengler, President Howard, and Amy Uyeki

Lori emphasized that the discovery of the Kamome led to a connection between two groups of young people. “This boat,” she said, “has started an exchange between two high schools that never, ever would have been in contact like that. Crescent City does not have nearly the resources the schools in Arcata have. They do not participate in international travel nearly to the extent that kids here do. And in Japan, high school kids basically do not travel. You’re too busy studying for all those tests … to do exchange programs.”

Del Norte High School students traveled to Japan, as seen in the video, and the next year, fourteen students from Rikuzentakata visited Crescent City. And this year, another 8 Del Norte students traveled to visit their counterparts. The Rotary Club of Del Norte Sunrise has contributed to fostering this ongoing relationship.

You can support this ongoing exchange and support tsunami awareness education by purchasing the book that Amy, Lori, and Amya wrote. The authors donate all their royalties to that effort, and they said that they will soon be presenting a check for $2,000 to the Crescent City Rotary for that purpose. Buying it at the HSU Bookstore on campus provides the most direct contribution, but it is available at other local bookstores as well. (If you live out of the area, the book is also available on Amazon.) A Spanish translation will also soon be published. Visit the website humboldt.edu/kamome for more information, or visit the Kamome Facebook page. And please share the story – as Lori said, “Now you are in the boat with us.”

Vocational Moment

Your Editor was called upon to tell about his vocation. Well … I’m the Operations Manager for an Arcata-based nonprofit – the Institute for Wildlife Studies. IWS works with the federal agencies and other nonprofits, helping preserve endangered and threatened species. 

IWS was founded in 1979 to work with bald eagles on the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California. The eagles were unable to produce eggs with shells that were strong enough to survive, the result of pesticides that had been dumped off the coast for many years. Happily, the species has been recovering well in the area.

Species that we work with include the island foxes that live on the Channel Islands, California condors, and several others. When I say that “we” work with them, I mostly mean “they”. My job is to manage our small accounting staff and to handle the human resources function for our 50-plus employees. 

For more information, visit the IWS website … or ask me!