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Monday March 22, 2021
Today is World Water Day celebrating water and raising awareness of the global water crisis. The core focus of the observance is to support the achievement of U.N. Sustainable Development Goal #6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. The 2021 theme is valuing water. The value is much more than price-water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics, and the integrity of our natural environment.
As I announced last Wednesday we are again supporting the Global Grant for Water & Sanitation facilities in Guatemala with a $1,000 grant (which, as you know becomes $2,000). Rick Lawrence from the Manchester, CT club updated us last month on the progress and sent additional information:
  • Bringing potable water to each household. Before each project, the women and children must walk 20 minutes each way, 4-6 times per day, to obtain water from streams that are most likely contaminated, requiring the water to be boiled before consuming. The project includes the construction of a reinforced concrete distribution tank located several hundred feet in elevation above the village, a chlorination system, PVC gravity-fed piping distribution system and a spigot at each household. 
  • Gray Water Filters (i. e. – Grease Traps) “Sumideros” After water is used in the 3-compartment sinks, if allowed to flow across the ground it turns black, smells and attracts insects and animals. The grease, soap & oil that comes from the sinks are separated in the first compartment of the “sumideros” and floats to the surface. The “gray water” flows under the baffle in the middle and then gets discharged into the ground. The GG requires the residents be trained to open the top on a regular basis so they can scoop out the contaminates and bury them.
  • Improved Vented Pit Latrines Before the projects are started, each household uses a “toilet” composed of a hole in the ground, a concrete toilet surrounded by plastic supported by bamboo posts. The men dig a hole 5 meters (17 feet +/-) deep, a cast concrete top placed over the hole followed by a concrete toilet. Concrete block is used to create an enclosing structure with a roof. A PVC pipe vents the odors upward to the atmosphere 
  • Fuel-Efficient Cook Stoves For thousands of years the Mayans would cook using an open fire on a raised pedestal, filling the room with smoke, causing irreparable lung damage to children strapped to their mother’s back, not to mention the chance of burns from sparks and tipped boiling water. The new, fuel-efficient cook stoves (which are partially paid for by the residents) use about 70% less wood, are vented to the exterior with an insulated flue pipe and provide a non-heated surface around the cooking area that is utilized as the family dining table.
Congratulations and Thank You to members Ron Bauer and Hank Barnette for achieving Paul Harris Major Donor Level 1 status. Our very own District Governor Nominee Designate Diane Donaher made the special presentation and gave us insight on how their gifts are transforming the world. I look forward to presenting them with the Paul Harris Level 1 pins in the near future!
Bill Rowe informs us that the South Side Arts District (SSAD) Spring Cleanup is this Saturday March 27 which includes clean-up of the Greenway and small painting jobs. Bethlehem Rotary is supporting this project and if you would like to help, please contact Bill Rowe.
HAPPY HOUR MEETING this Thursday March 25 at 5:30pm. In a departure from the last year, Paul Ricciardi will be broadcasting live from a restaurant (tentatively Twisted Olive). Yes, it will be a ZOOM meeting like normal, but for those of you who want to meet in person-you now have that option. Watch for Paul's ZOOM invite for more details. And standing true to my promise last year-I will buy your first beverage of choice to those who attend in-person.
Talk about inspiration, our BAVTS Artisan of the Month is Sarah Brown-a senior at Freedom High School and finishing up her 4th year in the Health Careers program at BAVTS. Sarah told us that she started having memory issues in 5th grade that ended up being traced to having contracting Lyme disease around 2nd grade. Over the next three years, essentially having to re-learn much of what she had learned, Sarah was encouraged to investigate programs at BAVTS where she met Health Careers teacher Jennifer Stilgenbauer who was able to help Sarah expedite learning what she had lost due to Lyme disease. Sarah has volunteered at numerous places like Good Shepard, member of the National Honor Society, V.P. Health Occupation Students of America, plus other organizations. With scholarship offers from DeSales and West Chester University, Sarah has overcome a major setback and has prevailed and succeeded in preparing for Nursing school. We wish her all of the success in the world!
Thank you to Past President Gerry Foran for putting on a great St. Patrick's Day presentation. Many interesting facts were learned on how St. Patrick's Day came to be with a thorough history  from originating as a religious holiday in Ireland to the American celebration we all know now. 
This week Tim Mulligan-President & CEO of Communities In Schools of Eastern PA. will be joining us to present a program on his organization and will take us on a virtual tour of what CIS does in the Bethlehem Area School District. Please plan to join us and invite a potential member to Zoom with us.
Yours in Rotary service,
President Pete Mickolay