Posted by Sarah Ruef-Lindquist on Sep 29, 2018
September 27, 2018 Meeting of West Bay Rotary
Joanne Miller, Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria
September 27, 2018 Meeting of West Bay Rotary
Joanne Miller, Puerto Rico and Hurricane Maria
Joanne spent two years in Puerto Rico to be with her granddaughter who was studying ballroom dancing, and followed her teacher who had moved there. Her granddaughter and she had been doing ballroom dancing together, and when their Australian instructor suddenly decided to move to Puerto Rico, they ultimately decided to move there so her granddaughter, Aubry, could continue working with him and attend an English-speaking school. They found a house in the same town as the dance studio. The commute to San Juan for school for their first year was arduous, and so they decided to move to San Juan and found a furnished condo in San Juan. Their move was delayed by Hurricane Irma, and two weeks later after they moved, Maria hit. She had never experienced the danger, terror or destruction of a storm. No power, air conditioning didn’t matter in the face of having not been injured or worse. People were very resilient, and they were grateful to be alive. They carried on with their lives in spite of these inconveniences. Their dance lives were interrupted, because the studio was damaged, and there was no gas to drive to lessons, and the regional competition was cancelled. Aubry discovered athletics and ultimately graduated. Aubry thought she would become a professional dancer when she went to PR, but learned that she loved the school, academics and decided that professional dancing might not be for her for a career. She is now studying at UMASS. She has aptitude in math and is thinking about engineering.
The most important thing that she learned is that people are more important than anything else. She witnessed many heartwarming experiences of kindness and patience, sharing and caring. She attended Rotary in San Juan, which was English-speaking and within walking distance. She went to their thanksgiving dinner for disadvantaged children that the club provides every year where she and Aubry helped. She sold her businesses to her daughter Jodie, who now owns them.
The Rotary Club in San Juan made a big impression on her. Their work after Hurricane Maria made a huge difference. They found funds from clubs around the world, and Rotarians came from across the globe, including Interactors, targeting communities overlooked by FEMA. The deaths resulted not from the storm itself, but from the aftermath and lack of prompt response to repairing infrastructure. The lack of electricity meant diabetics were using un-refrigerated insulin and requiring amputations or even dying from gangrene.
She believes there are still opportunities, and would encourage collaboration with the San Juan Rotary club.
Buckets on the table are for Shields Mission fuel assistance.
Mike Moore gave an update on the water project for the work that his club in Florida is doing in Tanzania, extending the water, delivery and storage capacity. A possible project would be a visit to see the second phase’s progress, which is creating the only fresh, treater water supply in the area and drawing more people to live there. Belfast, Ellsworth and Lewiston are also interested in the second phase.
The Satellite club is now known as the Satellite Club of West Bay Rotary, and they meet 2nd and 4th Thursday at 5:15p at 40 Paper. She is planning on a celebration on October 25.
Susan Dorr asked Etienne to speak about a project involving a hospital in Tanzania which the committee is exploring. He is selling daffodil bulbs to raise funds. Mark Coursey is working on getting more outdoor projects lined up.
Joan Lemole spoke about Interact, and their latest meeting last Monday, attending a Maine Women’s Lobby event, they plan to participate in the Roadside Cleanup at Beech Hill this Sunday, the Polio Walk.
Lisa thanking everyone who participated in the progressive dinner last weekend, which was about 30, and the next event is October 12, a Tikki Time at Sheila Davenport’s house.
Jim Potter spoke about the Entrepreneurship class, and with only 2 registrants, they decided to cancel the class. He would like to hear from people with suggestions for how to reinvigorate the community’s participation in the class for the future.
Sandy reminded us that Saturday October 20 in the Polio Walk starting in Rockland at 10:30 at the Public Landing, walking a mile and ending at the Trackside. Our goal is to raise $2000 per club, including Camden and Rockland.  Checks should be made payable to the West Bay Rotary Charitable Foundation. Ray Fink encourages everyone who is on Facebook to “like” and “share” posts from West Bay Rotary.
Next week’s speaker is Jim Sharp from the Sail, Power and Steam Museum in Rockland.