It is when you stand at the airport waiting to meet you wife – there is a tap on your shoulder and a person neatly dressed in a suit with a great warm smile on his face greets you…….Wow! but a few years ago he was a gangster in a squatter camp and now through a development pro gramme initiated by myself he is in a stable job and a proud youngster…
It is when you spend time with disadvantaged young people who have just completed a sailing circumnavigation of Africa….all these youngsters from disadvantaged communities…and you learn of their progress and development.
It’s the time when one has nurtured a young girl who lost her father and had no money for university – the moment when she graduates as a doctor, is invited to dinner and meets her benefactor, an old Rotarian, over 90 who she had been caring for and never known that he was the Rotarian who had sponsored her.
Its when you switch on the TV and there in your lounge is the smiling face of a young girl who came from a iron shack with no electricity, water, sanitation …with a candle to study and a wet floor in the winter…a person who we as Rotarians took by the hand and walked with. She blossomed, completed her education and today is a South African presenter for major sports events – even the Olympics were covered by her.
It is the years of working with young folk on youth exchange and the post graduates from the Ambassadorial Scholarship programme – then the time when you meet them after they have returned, settled down and are now contributing to their own community when you share once again in their formative experiences for which Rotary has made so much of a difference in their lives.
These and the working with families in the squatter camps are the “return on the sweat equity investments” that recharge my batteries and keep me going. Thank you Rotary!
PP Rotary Club of Cape Town RSA