Posted by Karin Soster
This week is Mental Health Week and in recognition members were invited to wear a hat to today’s meeting - everyone did with a variety of hats, caps and fascinators in different shapes and colours.
Today’s chairperson was Peter O’Brien, who looked resplendent in “a take on Lawrence of Arabia” wearing the keffiyeh headdress.      Can I ask everyone  - is there a likeness?  Is this Peter O’Brien in a former life??
International Toast – Today’s international club toast was to President Suman Alla and members of the Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga in the Republic of Rwanda.  Rwanda is a landlocked country in central Africa with a population of 13 million, where Kigali is the capital and its largest city.  The peoples of Rwanda are a mix of Hutu, Tutsi and Twa peoples.  The Hutu and Twa peoples were in Rwanda in 700BC before a migration of Tutsi people to Rwanda in the 1300s.   1700 was the beginning of present day Rwanda.   Rwanda was under German control from 1894 until the end of WW1 when it came under the control of Belgium until it gained independence in 1962.  R.C. Kigali-Virunga was chartered in 2000, has 36 members, and is supported by a Rotaract club and Interact club.  The club is in Rotary District 9150 located in central Africa.  Club projects include funding of $1.3 Million to establish the Kigali Public Library that commenced in 2000 and opened in 2012, village water projects, and an orphanage. The club meets weekly at the Lemigo Hotel in Kigali.       Thank you Grant for a great presentation.
President Report – President Helen:
  • Nominations are being called for District Governor for the year 2024-2025 following the official notification that Rotary districts 9810 and 9820 will merge.  Nominations are open to all eligible members. 
  • President Helen invited club members to join her in the “Lift the Lid Walk” for mental health at Gardiners Creek Reserve on Sunday 20/3.  Options are to walk 6, 12 or 18km, commencing at 8am in Holland Avenue, Burwood
  • Members are invited to donate items for sale and/or participate in a market stall on Sunday 20/3 being run by Linda and Glenda.  Members are invited to join in anytime during the morning.
  • 44 people will attend the Marine Hotel on Friday evening 25/3.  The evening will take the place of next week’s club meeting – there is no club meeting on Wednesday 23/3.
  • President Helen checked for club members who have booked to attend the Conference dinner on Saturday evening 26/3 – and asked club members to let her know if they have booked and yet to advise her.
Club Donations  – the following two motions  for club donations that had been approved by the board were put to club members for approval.  Both were approved at today’s club meeting.
  1. RAWCS – $5,000 for flood recovery in QLD and NSW
  2. Sandringham Hospital - $6,850 for an external pace maker.
Guest Speakers – Tracey Burt and Beth McInnes
Tracey Burt is the manager of Caulfield South Community House.  The community house runs a wide variety of programs including a community garden that was the focus for today’s meeting.  Tracey was joined by and invited Beth McInnes to talk about a recent development of a verge garden on the nature strip immediately outside the community house.  Beth outlined the benefits to the community and environment for developing a nature strip garden and the steps involved.  Benefits include creating a habitat for small wildlife, prevents pests being dominant, aids pollination and is much prettier than plain lawn.  The process takes advantage of existing trees, creating an understory and makes use of native vegetation.   A council permit is required to establish a nature strip garden in Glen Eira, and guidelines are provided to meet the requirements with restrictions and considerations to be adhered to.  Beth provided a slide presentation with diagrams outlining the process and plans they used for developing their nature strip garden, the calculations they had to apply to locate where the garden could be placed and the plant selection.  Beth concluded her talk by saying people can consult with the operators of the community garden at the community house for ideas and suggestions for establishing a nature strip garden.     Club members were invited to join them at the community house for morning tea in the garden café on Tuesday at 10:30am and enjoy the garden.  Club members are also welcome to join the community house that has a variety of rotating programs - with membership at $12 yearly.  
Helen thanked our guest speakers and finished the meeting advising she is seeking more involvement from club committees to attend organisations, or have representation from organisations that have benefited from our club funds.   To finish, all members wearing a hat were invited to contribute to Mental Health Hat Day, including members who were not wearing a hat.   Rosters for Sunday’s market were announced.