Thursday the 2nd October. For some reason I had a spare evening in the week. Best of all Rhonda said I could visit another Rotary club so a quick flick through the district directory and I find the Rotary Club of Chestfield meet on Thursday's, 7.15 for 7.30. A quick phone call to Hilary who I met when she visited our club - "Hi, is your club meeting tonight and do you think it's a problem if I come along". No, come along, we're meeting at 7.30 for 8.00. Still, at this point I hadn't realised my mistake!
So, I arrive early ish, meet some people (names forgotten already!) and get myself a drink. I was surprised to see Ruth from our club also there. Then, Jim from our club arrived. "Hello Jim, what brings you along tonight", cue interesting story of how in his younger years he'd worked in Africa developing agriculture and that prompted his interest in tonights speaker. Tonights speaker? David Mann, speaking on his recent visit to Tanzania and the fund raising for a school that's been carried out. At this point, I still didn't realise my mistake.
Then, Jarle, Diane and Lucy arrived. Lucy said "I didn't know you were coming, you weren't on the list". No, I phoned earlier. I had the evening free and this is an evening club so I've come along. Then I was told my mistake. Chestfield is a morning club like ours. This was a special evening for the special presentation, held only once a quarter. It just so happened I'd mis-read the directory but the meeting was happening anyway. I was also put in my place for not remembering that this has been in the events folder for the last month. Maybe that was the subconscious prompt that made me find Chestfield in the directory. Anyway - a fortunate mistake on my part! Two things I learn't from the visit:
1) It really is amazing what one person can achieve when they get on with it. David, two years ago, would never have dreamed of going to Tanzania. He'd never have dreamed he'd raise over 15,000 to build a school following a meeting with a local bishop in Tanzania who was visiting Canterbury Cathederal. As David quipped, there's no such thing as a free drink so the champagne reception the cathederal hosted is being well repaid! As the fund raising continues to develop he's been able to call on rotary contacts to formalise things - at the moment it's not a registered charity so can't claim gift aid. When he visited he found a need for sanitary towels which he has been promised in the UK but needs to ship them to a specific area. Rotary is finding and providing contacts with knowledge of shipping to make this good thing happen.
2) The president, Andrew, is a farmer and was clearly showing signs of exhaustion from a busy harvest. Speaking to him about the 'credit crunch' he confirmed my thoughts that credit has little impact on farming. The fact his grain sells for a third less this year compared to last is all due to how the weather has been around the world. Last year several countries had a poor harvest so grain prices increased. This year the UK harvest hasn't been so good but most other countries did well. Therefore more grain on the international market means lower prices per tonne. He also commented on storage being expensive - the grain has to be chilled and have a low moisture content to store well and this requires energy input. The longer it's kept, the more it costs to keep. Rotary continues to be an education.
This is a very fast written post. I'll correct the spelling later (or maybe leave it here on the pretense that it's now part of history) but now Rhonda has said I can visit another rotary meeting, this time a little closer to home. 7 minutes to walk there - plenty of time.