Posted by Richard Manelis on Sep 05, 2020

This is a story of international service and friendship with the San Andres community and its Rotary club, on the East Coast of Mexico. It is 20 years in the making!

In 2001 some Rotarians from our District, while working on a Habitat for Humanity build, bonded with families from the small village of San Andres about three hours south of Veracruz, Mexico This community has a special place in the hearts of several District 7910 Rotarians. Before leaving, our Rotarians met with the the Rotary Club of San Andres and arranged to process two matching grants, which were both approved.

  • One, for cement-block-making machinery for the village  
  • One, for Jaws of Life equipment for the village's Fire Department. 

In 2002, our Rotarians returned to the village and saw the machinery was delivered but not yet connected Then, in 2004, when they visited while on an international Habitat for Humanity build, they could see that the machinery had been in full use. New-home construction was everywhere, blocks being stockpiled to build a church and a high school, and a collaborative had been set up so nearby villages could purchase blocks.

While recently reconnecting with the the San Andres club, we found it to be currently assisting on a new project: a computer facility for the school in the village. We see this as a wonderful opportunity to get involved with our dear friends once again. 

Our relationship with the Rotary Club of San Andres and our District's history with this village present a unique opportunity for our clubs: international involvement in a project aimed at improving the school and, of course, helping children. The coordinated contributions of our clubs can make this possible and provide each participating club with the opportunity to be a part of a 2020-2021 International Matching Grant. 

Current plans are for a group from our District to revisit the village next February or March. We will dedicate the computer facility and also take part in various efforts such as assisting in reforestation, teaching English, and cultural enrichment.  

The photo on the right shows District 7910 Rotarians Kaliszewski, Goddard and McCallum digging the septic system in 2001 in San Andres.

For more information, contact Past District Governor Richard Manelis, of the Rotary Club of Framingham, by clicking here.

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