Rotary – Club Visit 9 to Lige Rive-Droite

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On the way to Eurocon I decided it would be good to visit a foreign Rotary Club. One of the objects of Rotary deals specifically with encouraging international friendship so Rotarians all over the world are welcome at clubs wherever they happen to be visiting.

Having decided, the next problem was finding a suitable club. The criteria were quite specific:

  • Along the route from Calais to my destination (Simpleveld, Netherlands)
  • Ideally less than 1 hour away from my destination
  • Meeting on Thursday Lunchtime
  • Meeting conducted in French
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After a lot of reserach on the internet (it took longer as I didn’t know the town names. For example, if a Visitor was going to Canterbury on holiday, how would they know Faversham is along their route?) Eventually, I choose to visit the Rotary Club of Lige Rive-Droite. There were a couple of options (Thursday being a lucky day for passing through the area) but Liege Rive-Droite was chosen because their web site had more information about them than the other clubs. They seemed active and approachable, so I sent an email. I wrote it in French first, then English in case I made no sense. The reply (you’re welcome to join us) came back in English. A good sign, if my French wasn’t up to scratch there’d be someone to help out.

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After an unexpected long journey to meet them, I’m glad I went there. Asside from being very friendly, the food was definately the best I’ve had at any Rotary event.

Learnings:

  • Vousing and Tuing – All Rotary friends are Tu, and also “Chez ami” (Dear Friend) even when you’ve just met them [note 1]
  • When I speak in French to a group (when I present our club banner), I really must prepare a bullet list. speaking in english I can remember the 3 things I would like to emphasise, whereas speaking in French I forgot the messages I wanted to put accross as I had to think long and hard to find the right words – along with ensure the best pronounciation I possibly could.
  • To raise funds for charitable purposes, they organise an annual, 8 hour long go kart race of around 30-40 go-karts. It raises (from memory) around 20,000. Useful to know as our develops into its second year

[note 1] At a recent meeting, when Lucy gave her presentation on herself, one of the questions was when should you use ‘vous’ and when should you use ‘tu’ when speaking to a French person.