Posted by Lyn Kenney, Rotary Club of Madison South
I always emphasize when doing power point presentations on international projects that we are not Rotary, we are Rotary International!  Anyone that has participated on a team trip to visit and work on international projects returns as a changed Rotarian.  You get it.  You feel it in your heart and fully comprehend the tremendous need beyond our own communities.
In cooperation with PDG Deb Walters from Maine, we led a team this January that included Rotarians from 4 districts to view and work on our most current grants:  One a Global Grant for Water and Sanitation for two villages (Pavit and Xenimaquin) in the highlands of Guatemala and one for Maternal and Child Health that Deb wrote for the same two villages. We partnered with Aldea and ABPD that has worked with villages in this area for 40 years.  The villagers request what they need, and they must not only have a buy in (to maintain a water pump for the village for example) but provide most of the labor in cooperation with qualified masons and engineers from Guatemala. This is a picture of the team arriving at one of the villages to work on a stove:  Andrea Barkett and Elaine Jones from the Oceanside RC in Vero Beach, Fl; Johnny Walker from the Aiken Sunrise RC in SC; Lyn Kenney from the Madison South RC in WI; Deb Walters from the Unity Area RC in Maine and DG Suzanne and Jeff Uhl-Melanson from the Waterville RC in Maine.
In their shacks, villagers currently burn wood on open fires resulting in lung disease and burns. They also spend a lot of time gathering wood and walking long distances for water, meaning the children miss school.  Stoves we helped them build in 3 different shacks over 5 hours are vented to the outside, use little wood and are completely cool to the touch so can be used as table space.
In addition, we visited a school project where Madison South Rotary wrote a district grant to supply all the classroom furniture for the new 4th grade addition.  We had a ribbon cutting with the Mayor and the CEO of Loving Arms then taught English for an hour to young children.
The team also visited a project from 5 years ago at Lake Atitlan;  visited a school for disabled children that the Wisconsin and Florida clubs have worked with for several years (have put in two businesses to assist them become more self suffcient); then returned to the highlands to meet with Women Promoters and view their individual nurseries, water stations and latrines shown below. 
If you are interested in getting involved in projects with us and going with a team to Guatemala, please contact Lyn Kenney at:     We have an exciting district grant project planned for next year for Children and families living at the dump in Guatemala City and would welcome your club as partners.  Several of us are available from the Madison South club to present our project to your club.