Chris Nesbitt of Maya Mountain Research Farm will speak at the Thursday, February 3rd weekly meeting at Grace’s, 7am.  He will talk about his agricultural work with the local villages.

February 2009 

Dear fellow Rotarians,

I grew up in a small village, the same village where my family had lived for many generations. I lived close to many members of my extended family, and our family traditions were very strong. In those days, few Koreans ever traveled abroad, and there was very little Western influence. My home, my language, and my culture were all I knew.

When I was in my 20s, I made a decision that would shape the rest of my life. With my father’s encouragement, I traveled to the United States to work and to study. I chose San Francisco as my destination and spent nearly two years there, taking classes and learning English. I made my way working at several entry-level jobs.

It is difficult even today to describe what an impact that experience had on me. Everything, and everyone, was different. I was used to seeing only Korean faces; in San Francisco, I saw people from all over the world. I worked hard on my English and in my job. I learned what it was like to be the person who did not understand, who cleaned up after others, who took orders but never gave them. I learned how large the world outside my village really was. And those experiences sent me back to Korea changed.

When I returned to join my father’s business in Seoul, I knew what it was like to be a worker at the bottom of an organizational hierarchy – and that affected how I treated my employees. I knew what it was like to do physical labor all day – and that gave me increased respect for those who worked in every kind of job. Perhaps most important, I knew how much of the world lay beyond my own experience. I knew that there were so many different countries and cultures, so many different people in the world. I knew that as much as we are all different, we are all essentially the same. And I knew that everyone, everywhere, sometimes needs help from others.

In Rotary, February is World Understanding Month – a time to focus on the importance of goodwill and understanding for peace. It is a time for all of us to pause and consider how we are pursuing Rotary’s fourth Avenue of Service – International Service – because it is our international service, and our international fellowship, that will do the most to help us all build a more peaceful tomorrow.

Dong Kurn (D.K.) Lee
President, Rotary International


Punta Gorda Central Park – Rotary Service Project



The Punta Gorda Town Council in conjunction with the Toledo Cacao Festival is in the process of refurbishing the Town’s Central Park.  The majority of the project is being funded by donations from local individuals and businesses.  Project plans include filling low muddy areas, reseeding with grass, building a new children’s playground, landscaping, and construction of a shady area in front of the stage, picnic tables, new lighting and new sidewalks. 


The Rotary Club of Punta Gorda has agreed to provide much of the labor for the project. On 23 and 30 August, club members were out in force with shovels, rakes, and wheelbarrows, grading the new fill areas. As the project progresses, we expect to assist with planting grass, landscaping and painting.  This service project will not cost the Club anything as all materials will be provided by donations.  This service project may be our clubs first in Toledo.  While not costing anything, it will have good public visibility, demonstrating how our new Rotary Club is helping the community.  


The Rotary Club of Punta Gorda also held a BBQ sale at the park on 23 August, and it was a great success! Thanks to everyone who supported the Rotary Club of Punta Gorda! 

On 7 May 2008, the Rotary Club of Punta Gorda was officially chartered. Led by Mr Jose Chan, a solid group of concerned Toledo citizens came together and worked to bring this new club into existence. We look forward to accomplishing much in the years ahead.

To celebrate this, a Charter Night celebration was held in June 2008 at the Punta Gorda Parish Hall. Outstanding attendance from our neighboring clubs in Placencia, Puerto Barrios, Dangriga, San Ignacio, and Belize City made this a night to remember.

PG Rotary Club Service Projects Committee Report 3 April 2008 

Kenrick Theus, Rick Mallory, and Mark Miller met on Monday 31 March 2008.

As a committee we agree that given the nature of our recently formed club, our best course of action in the near term would be to plan, fundraise and implement three to four small projects during our first year, and build a collection of larger projects that could be funded through rotary if international partners were identified and interested.

Further we agreed that a web site should be designed to make this information readily available, and could include other relevant information such as schedule of upcoming guest speakers or visitors, etc. We would be interested in working with any club members who have skills in web site development, and other committees such as the PR committee in making this an effective and useful tool. Mark has started a weblog at pgrotary.wordpress.com to get things started.

Four projects were identified from our list as suggested by various club members during past meetings and other communications. We would ask for support and prioritization of these projects from the club at large.

Listed in no particular order:

1.Build disability ramps at UB to enable student in electric wheelchair to access a tertiary education. This would need to be accomplished before August. We feel the family and UB student government should also be involved in this endeavour.

2. Summer camp for youths in PG. First we need to talk with TIDE and Machaca Camp about their programs, learn what they do, what is the criteria for selection of youths, and discuss opportunities to either work together or to cover different constituencies. Other organizations should then be identified who might provide other experiences for the campers, whether art, music, culture, agriculture, environment, recreation, sports, etc. BDF would be willing to assist and should be used as a resource.

3. A small project at the PG Hospital such as providing privacy curtains. Discussion in advance with hospital administration is a must.

4. Adopt-a-park. We need to talk with town council and identify a park to make the Rotary Park. Clean up, paint, repair of infrastructure as needed, and landscaping would be done by Rotary, along with a sign.

We recognized that Fundraising is a key element to the success of any service project that we undertake, and so commend the Fundraising Committee to that purpose. The idea of monthly Bingo, held at Grace’s or another such establishment with the venue making money from drinks and food, and Rotary making money from BINGO is suggested as a viable option. This works for the San Ignacio Club.