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Friday, August 7, 2009

Our last formal meeting

We spent the past few days not in meetings; however we have been working hard rewriting all of our web copy, executive summaries and funding letters. We tried to take a siesta prior to our last meeting with the other Oaxaca Rotary club at 9 pm. We had corresponded with this club in the prior week, but had not been able to contact them about attending this specific meeting, so we just showed up and invited ourselves. From what I have seen of the Rotary clubs in the Seattle area this would be impossible to just show up. We sort of learned from our last Rotary meeting, and this time we showed up at 9 pm for the scheduled 9 pm meeting. Even then we were still “Gringos,” as we were early. Shortly after 9 several of the Rotary officials started to trickle in. Claire introduced us to several officials. They instantly knew who we are and welcomed us warmly.

Little did we know that this would turn out to be a very important meeting for both the local Rotary club and us. First, there were close to 30 members there. This meeting was special because, it included many old and returning members. Because we were had not heard back from them, and they were excited to hear what we are up to, they squeezed us into the agenda to present our wetland project. The meeting opened with the formal “ringing of the bell” followed with introductions from everyone. The Rotary officers read their reports; we all stood for the saluting Mexico’s flag while the national anthem played. A fellow member presented a thorough presentation on geriatric injuries. Then Claire presented for us. Personally I was intimidated by the large group. I was concerned how they would receive our idea and request to support our efforts. As usual, my fear was ill-founded. The club was excited to hear that we are working on a new approach to the defunct and nonexistent sewage treatment plants. Several members asked clarifying questions and how they could help us with our project. After several more short presentations and introductions the formal meeting was closed. After the formalities, several members came to talk to us and stress that they would be proud to help us however they could. They realize the sewage problem is a systemic issue; one member stated it would be great to have a solution to show the “engineers” that there is a better way.

We left the meeting both tired and charged up. On one side we were tired and glad to have our last scheduled business meeting finished (and on a good note). On the flip side we were wired with excitement that we have another key partner to add to our team.

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