Rotary Club Bali Ubud Sunset [RCBUS] is excited to announce that we are participating in a Friendship Exchange with Rotary Club of Tucson Sunrise [TRCS] in Tucson, Arizona, USA. A Friendship Exchange is an international exchange program for Rotary members and friends that allows participants to take turns hosting one another in their homes and clubs.
Rotary International was founded in 1905 in the US primarily so its members could build enduring friendship throughout their communities through helping other people. As Rotary International expanded, so did its focus. Now we work to build enduring friendships worldwide by broadening international understanding, establishing a foundation for peace and understanding, and gaining opportunities for active involvement in international projects. Rotary members from Tucson will have the opportunity to come to Bali, once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, to experience first-hand Bali’s people, food, languages, customs, and history. Members from RCBUS will have a similar opportunity to travel to Tucson to experience first-hand the people, food, languages, customs, and history of the American Southwest. www.visittucson.org. Friendship Exchanges also give both clubs opportunities to explore mutually beneficial grants for projects and build partnerships based on them.
How did this Exchange ever get started between two Rotary Clubs that are a half a world apart? It all began with a casual conversation via the internet. Gina Murphy-Darling from TRCS was delighted to discover that her friend, a member of RCBUS and former Tucsonan, Marion Hook, was a fellow Rotarian. Marion told Gina about RCBUS’ many service projects, and Gina became interested in the Sewing for Living project, where local Balinese women are taught sewing machine and crocheting skills in order to be able to work from their homes and contribute to their families’ well-being. She wanted to know how her Rotary Club in Tucson could help women in Bali with “rebuilding economic empowerment and self-sufficiency to offset the impact of Covid-19.” And “the rest”, as they say, “is history.”
TRCS collaborated with the Tucson Rotary Club Sunrise Foundation which approved a grant for $500 USD be sent to the Sewing for Living Project sponsored by RCBUS. The grant has already arrived and will be used purchase materials which will identify that the Sewing for Living products are, indeed, products of the program. Remaining funds will be used to secure space in local markets where Sewing for Living products can be sold.
TRCS also began to collect sewing and crocheting materials to be donated to the Sewing for Living project as such materials are either too difficult to find or too costly to afford when found during the current lockdown due to Covid-19 situation. Gina once remarked that the Sewing for Living project “wraps the world with love that looks like yarn.”
When will TRCS members actually arrive in Bali? When the boarders open and it is safe to travel again. On both sides of the world, we hopefully laugh and use “Dreams come true in ’22!” as our manta.
What will TRCS do when they arrive? RCBUS members will help them to understand the culture of ancient Bali and of modern Bali, the difference between “local spicey” and “tourist spicey” when it comes to ordering food in a warung, introduce them to the many spectacular tourist sites on this magical island, let them examine spaces that tourists usually don’t see, show them the positive outcomes of years of projects supported by RCBUS that have strengthened the local economy, supported educational and medical facilities, ensured running water, and cleaned the environment.
RCBUS is also developing another friendship exchange with members from Rotary E-Club Cologne in Germany. Both clubs currently meet via Zoom to discuss pending joint activities and itineraries for the actual people-to-people exchange.
Are friendship exchanges limited to Rotarians? The answer is no. Rotary Friendship Exchanges are open to anyone. Is there cost involved? Yes, there is. All exchanges are paid for in full by the participants themselves or possibly by their districts.
If you would like to read about other people’s experiences while participating in the Rotary Exchange program, information can be found at http://firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information about RCBUS’ projects can be found at rotarybaliubudsunset.org/club-projects/.
If you would like to join this dynamic group of people who love Bali and work to help the people who live here, information to do so can be found at rotarybaliubudsunset.org/how-to-become-an-rcbus-member/.
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