Members of the Chemainus Rotary Club aren’t looking to change the world, but they’re hoping to improve a little part of it with just some tools and a few toys.
Nine Chemainus Rotarians are scheduled to go to a troubled Central American country in late February to help alleviate terrible living conditions, said member Joan Takenaka.
“We’re going to Guatemala and will be helping some abandoned women; some are widows who’ve had their homes devastated by a hurricane about three years ago,” she said. “They’re living in poverty and there’s a rain season there and they are sleeping on the floor — in puddles sometimes.”
The group will be in Guatemala for a couple of weeks and will be concentrating on repairing leaky roofs and getting people off the ground when they sleep.
“So what we’re going to be doing is, with the help of some local people, we’re going to be helping to do some repairs to these homes,” said Takenaka.
But that’s not all the Chemainus Nine will be doing, she said.
“We will also be providing some nutritional advice and courses on nutrition and sanitation — we’ll probably put in a couple of latrines of some sort.
“One member of the Chemainus Nine is a dental hygienist who will be working with a dentist who also goes to Guatemala to help out.”
While the Rotarians — four women, and five men — will each pay their own travelling expenses, the group is looking to raise funds to buy items for the impoverished people they will be visiting.
“It’s a very poor Mayan population that doesn’t get much help from its government,” said Takenaka.
“So we want to take things like toothbrushes, school supplies and toys.”
The money will also go for building materials, tools and local labour, if needed.
“Some of the children are handicapped and we’re going to try and help them as much as we can as well.”
The trip, which begins Feb. 22, marks the first such venture for the Chemainus group.
“Our club has helped finance some international projects, but had never done one ourselves,” said Takenaka.