Foz de Iguacu
I don't recall if I wrote last time about the fantastic, amazing water falls at Iguacu/Iguazu (Brazil side/Argentina side). Both sides are a tremendous experience. They are certainly worthy of being a wonder of the world. Similar to the Grand Canyon and Machu Pichu, they require a long trip to arrive, and when you leave, you realize you really need much more time to experience them in depth.
While in Foz de Iguacu, the city on the Brazilian side, I happened upon a street sale of Sunday vendors and encountered local Rotarians conducting free blood pressure checks. The club members take turns providing this service every Sunday. They invited me to their club meeting the next day and one gave me a guided tour of the city. Nice town; I realized I could easily live there.
Rotary Convention at São Paulo
On to the convention at São Paulo. My hotel was in the Asian section Liberdade where I ate three dinners of excellent Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Brought back lots of memories of California. Interesting fact: Brazil has the largest population of ethnic Japanese outside of Japan.
The convention was great. Made many new friends from Brazil and throughout Latin America as well as from the U.S., Canada , India, Morroco, New Zealand, Philippines, Norway and many others. I believe several will obtain funding for the water projects I am coordinating in Ecuador. At the convention, twice children ages 10 and 11 spoke to the 15000 people about what kids can do to perform community service. They were incredible and gave me some ideas for my club in Bahia de Caraquez.
I also had wonderful experiences presenting as part of two panels at breakout sessions. Also reunited with Marge Cole, Howard Kummerman and other Rotarians from San Diego who attended. A highlight of the convention was the speech by Nobel Peace Prize recipient and former President of Costa Rica Oscar Arias. Great thinker about promoting world peace. Costa Rica disbanded all its military and invested the funds in education and health. It now has The highest literacy rate in Latin America and one of the strongest economy per capita. We also learned that for the first time in history the African continent has no new cases of polio for the last eight months. Pakistan and Afghanistan remain the only nations with new cases. Rotary hopes to have eradicated polio from the world by 2018.
After the convention I traveled north to the town of Jaguariuna from where I write. I am staying with a Brazilian family in their small condo (less than 500 sq feet).
This is how many people in the developing world live. We all are enjoying each other's company and they are showing me around the beautiful community. I attended the local rotary club meeting today and tomorrow will ride in an old steam train. The engine was made in Pennsylvania in 1910.
Sunday I will fly out from São Paulo to return to Ecuador. It appears I will be traveling to Colombia in August to review educational projects for the rotary foundation.
Next time from Ecuador.
Best to all,