Theater club

Midland Rotary Club Networks Help Ethiopia at Rotary International Convention


The Midland Rotary Club recently received a boost for its $180,000 project proposal (including 80% matching from Rotary International) to bring dialysis machines and services to central Ethiopia. Networking at the June 2022 Rotary International Convention in Houston took place at specialty booths, curated breakout meetings with relevant topics, and a chance encounter in a shuttle bus. The results included the generation of a vendor recommendation for use by the Ethiopian hospital, a promise to send a copy of a sample successful grant proposal to use as a template, and an offer from a diabetes expert (for help prevent the leading cause of end-stage kidney failure) to speak to project partners in Midland and Ethiopia.

The week-long Rotary International convention appealed to a culturally diverse audience. The daily two o’clock general sessions in the morning mixed the speakers with various forms of entertainment. With 11,000 people seated theater style on a large floor, eight screens were needed to see people on stage. Closed captioning and translation into French, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Portuguese assisted visitors representing the 1.4 million Rotary members worldwide. Afternoon breakout sessions and ongoing exhibits from more than 600 trade show-style booths rounded out the days, along with sold-out tourist events like a NASA tour. At least six hourly shuttle routes transported between the George Brown Convention Center and participating hotels.

From the start, a highlight involved the parade of flags. Since more countries are represented in Rotary than members of the United Nations, just presenting flags by the A’s and B’s seemed to take an awful lot of time. A loud ruckus erupted sporadically when enthusiastic visitors, for example from the Philippines, heard their country announced. Moving, Ukraine’s announcement spontaneously made 11,000 people stand up to long applause.

A speaker hailed the progress of Rotary’s decades-long effort to rid the world of the debilitating and sometimes fatal disease of poliomyelitis. Last year, the best year to date, involved eight cases. And, so far, the 2022 calendar has only seen two cases, one in each of the last two remaining countries, Afghanistan and Pakistan.