President Sean McMillan's Swan Song
Gus Searcy, Identity Theft and Facta Laws
Laraine Mestman - "Elder Abuse"
Al Osborne, Sr. Asst., Dean of Anderson School of Management
President Sean McMillan's Swan Song
IMPORTANT: June 27
Demotion of President Sean, Beach Club
CREATING HOPE IN UGANDA, at WVRC on May 21st.
PP STEVE SCHERER was designated to lead the Pledge. Before that began, he asked all of those who were NOT veterans to sit down. That left just the veterans standing, and it felt good. We were from more than one War, and PP BOB WESSLING claimed that his was the LA Riots! Anyway, STEVE, a nice gesture Thanks. MARSHA HUNT gave an excellent Invocation.
We had two Visiting Rotarians. Art Endo belongs to Culver City, and is a CPA. Our other Rotarian was also our Speaker, the Honorable Rev. Dr. Hamlet Mbabazi, who belongs to the Bugolobi Rotary Club in Kampala. It is no surprise that he is in Community Development.
MARK ROGO brought a guest, Francine Ellman, who is an Art Consultant. SUNNY accompanied LENNY, of course. JOHN HEIDT again introduced his Special Guest, Madison Goritsan, who is in the loan business with J.P. Morgan Chase. It was good to see SLOSS VIAU back with us, and he brought along his son, Skip. And PP STEVE SCHERER introduced Special Guest Andrew Kim, who was circularized last week.
I rose to suggest we try to put together a Rotary group to help with Reading for Kids you will recall their excellent presentation a couple of weeks ago. They meet on the 2nd Saturday each month from 0900 until noon, at several local Elementary schools, and do their reading there. I asked for a show of hands of those who would like to help, and several members responded. However, President SEAN asked them to see me after the meeting, and the only ones I spoke to were SCOTT HICKS, RON KLEPETAR and MARCIA BROUS. So please do let me know if you are also interested in joining us, OK? I would gently remind everyone that we all need to earn some credits ‘For the Good of the Order’…
President SEAN again confused me by calling forward those with May birthdays and yet alluding to their time of conception. So, without any month being named, the following were designated; SALLY BRANT and MARSHA HUNT, both on the 14th, SALLY preferring LA, while MARSHA liked San Diego. The other two who were present were GEORGE COX and MARK KRAUSE, and again, they both liked the same day, the 27th. GEORGE chose Westmoreland (and I know you know that’s in California) while MARK called Caldwell, Idaho his choice. They were properly serenaded, and then all signed the book plates for the four books we are giving the Westwood Library.
There was a front page article in today’s LA Times, entitled “A children’s hell in Ireland”. This was the summary of a nine-year investigation of charges of physical and sometimes sexual abuse at Catholic schools in Ireland. The report was released in Dublin, and it covered 2,600 pages, starting in the mid-1930’s up to 1990. During the earlier part of this period, the Church sponsored reformatories, orphanages, and industrial schools, and for many living there, their only ‘crime’ was being born out of wedlock. Instances of abuse by laypeople were turned over to the authorities, but where clergy was involved, the subject was handled internally. President SEAN named some of the worst-offending schools, all of which have by now been closed.
MARSHA HUNT introduced our speaker, the Honorable Rev Dr Hamlet Mbabazi, who founded the Uganda Christian Development Mission in 2002. It is a Non-profit 501 ©(3) Corporation, which is focused on Education, caring for children, and building schools and a University. He has both a Masters and PhD from Fuller Theological Seminary in nearby Pasadena. MARSHA has become increasingly involved with the program, having visited Uganda several times on inspection trips. Hamlet is a former member of Parliament, but after six years he began to think he could accomplish more outside the government than from within. So he chose him own successor, who was elected and then Parliament chose him to be its Minister the same as Lloyd Ogilvie being Chaplain of the Senate, for example. The Mission is almost totally inaccessible it takes two days to get to Entebbe, and then a horrendous 12-hour drive to the Kinkizi District itself. The town in which he lives is where he was born, Kanungu. There is no plumbing or electricity.
(For help with your geography, Uganda is in East Africa, and became famous starting in the mid-1970’s because it was horrifically run by Dictator Idi Amin.)
Dr. Mbabazi began with a story. It seems there was a visiting English Bishop. and the established custom was to present your very best front to such a distinguished person. The local Bishop’s wife wanted their 9-year old son to deliver a cup of tea to their visitor, promptly at 6:30 am. The son was carefully coached as to what he would say, and he rehearsed his lines at least ten times, to be sure he had it right. At 6:30, he is to knock on the door, and when the Bishop answers, he is to say, “It is the boy, My Lord. It’s time to wake up.”He diligently practices the line, and on the appointed day, he comes upstairs with the cup of tea. But before he can knock, the Bishop opens the door and the young boy realizes he is going to miss the opportunity to use the lines he has learned. After fumbling for words, the young man manages to say, “It is the Lord, my Boy, your time is up!” Needless to say. this tale was well-received…
Dr. Mbabazi began by thanking Marsha for her long-time support. He noted that there are the people who do the work, and the people who get the credit. and today he happens to be among those who get the credit. The work he is doing in Uganda is fully supported by people in the U.S., among whom Marsha is a Lead Pastor. She has adopted a family of five in Uganda, and we saw some before and after photos. She has invested in Silverback Lodge, which accommodates those visitors who come to see the gorillas. He again thanked her very much, and we responded with protracted applause.
There was an interval while his projector was discussed and adjusted, but it never really became an effective part of his very moving presentation. In the meantime, he brought us greetings from his home Rotary Club, and presented us with their Club Banner.- due to the disorganization of our unnamed Executive Secretary, we had no banner of ours for him! Uganda is a landlocked country, adjacent to Kenya, with a population of 32 million, 70% of whom are under thirty. Eight million of them are in primary schools, and the population has doubled in the last 25 years.
Because the population is so young, they have a very low percentage of people paying taxes. Infant mortality stands at 15%. 35% of their country, which is about the size of Oregon, is covered by water.
It is a subsistence economy, 85% of it dependent upon agriculture, and bananas are their main product. About 5% of the population (100K people) graduate from the colleges each year, and their job prospects are not good. Many leave school at the age of 13, and are married at 14 but their husbands usually leave them by the time the wives are 25. About 60% of people are very stunted in stature, due to terrible malnutrition. Only about 40% have access to clean water. His goal is to create a viable middle class, which can then begin to support the country. Education, of course, has the most transforming effect on this society. In his area, they have built four elementary schools, one high school and a University. In addition to individuals gathered by Marsha and others, Rotary International has been very helpful in providing support. RI has contributed at least $500,000 over the last five years to the country. It is very rewarding to see the progress that is being made, in education, health care, providing clean water, libraries, and now, graduates with training in computers, tourism, agriculture and social welfare.
The annual cost for school is $250 per child for elementary and high school The University costs $550. This tuition provides education, books, and other support, and makes their journey toward hope to be possible. Only 5% of the population is formally employed, so more jobs are badly needed. Seeing what has been accomplished is wonderful and we are all invited to partnership, to visit Uganda.
Q&A Does Uganda have a military? Yes, there is an army that protects their borders. What is per capita income? The average is $330 per year but note that a family of ten may have malaria ten times, so income is often interrupted. Their total export earnings are $400 million dollars per year. How big is Rotary in Uganda? There are 66 Clubs, and for the entire district 5300 just over 100 total. Is there interest in the middle class moving the country forward? We are an ambitious people, but some are only interested in their own prosperity. Ugandans overseas send back as much as their total export earnings. What is the religious situation? People are mostly Catholic or Protestant about 85%, with another 5% smaller Christian groups, and 10% are Muslim. Muslims are the fastest growing religion. This is due to the investment of countries in the Middle East Saudi Arabia, for instance. Are there serious tribal problems? Yes and no, but increasingly the various groups tend to get along. What about your own family? I am married to Kelen, and we have four children of our own. We have adopted another eight children. He is the youngest of twelve siblings his parents were also in Community Development. As a child, Dr. Mbabazi began taking photographs for pay, and the whole family became entrepreneurial. He became a practicing Christian when he was 23. How prevalent is AIDS? Starting in the 1980’s, the problem was recognized, and it has improved. Last question of the people who become educated, how many of them stay in Uganda? Some leave, but most remain.
Dr Mbabazi, we thank you for a most impressive and moving report.
And the usual Words of Wisdom: Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die, AND Hard work pays off in the future, but laziness pays off now.