Rotary Club White River, Mpumalanga
 
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Rotary Potjie Challenge
As the final fellowship event for 2012, the Rotary Club of White River recently held a potjie challenge for club members on a cold wet Sunday. However, our spirits weren’t dampened by the weather and we were fortunate that the rain held off until the serious task of eating was completed. There were five teams competing – the ladies’ team broke from tradition and made a tasty mussel soup, there was a traditional venison potjie with the cooks decked out in hunting gear, a delicious Moroccan lamb potjie with North African salads, a delectable exotic Cajun seafood dish and a mouth-watering chicken and vegetable potjie. The four judges had a very difficult task as the standard of all the dishes was extremely high. However, they finally chose the chicken potjie made by the AA Team of Arie and Angela Müller.

TOMS shoes
The Rotary Club of White River, in particular Mr George Müller, was privileged to receive 3 000 pairs of TOMS shoes for donating to some of needy children in our area. TOMS’ partners are made up of NGO’s, charities and non-profit organisations already established and working in the countries in which TOMS operates. Their expertise guides TOMS to give new shoes responsibly.

TOMS shoes are the brain-child of Mr Blake Mycoskie. Whilst on a trip to Argentina in 2006, Mr Mycoskie decided to do something about the number of children walking to school barefoot. He was extremely impressed with the traditional Argentinian canvas or ‘alpargata’ shoe and decided that these could be the solution to this humiliating problem of barefoot scholars. The manufacture of TOMS shoes for donation to children originated to improve their lives and give them dignity and to uplift their communities generally. The name ‘TOMS’ is derived from the word ‘tomorrow’ and is taken from the concept of the ‘Shoes for Tomorrow’ project. Mr Mycoskie organized the manufacture of thousands of pairs of simple canvas shoes to be distributed where there was a need in collaboration with charitable organizations in various countries. The Rotary Club received so many boxes of shoes that they completely filled the average-sized empty bedroom where they were stored!

The Rotary Club joined forces with the Autotec Foundation and distributed shoes to a total of 19 organisations in the Lowveld, 10 of which were Autotec Foundation’s contacts, such as Embonisweni Primary, Sandzile Primary, Khutsalani Secondary and Phatfwa Secondary, and others were places of need identified by Rotary, for example the Masoyi Special Needs Care Centre. The children could not believe that they were being given shoes to wear to school and were absolutely delighted with them. The Rotary Club of White River looks forward to receiving more TOMS shoes in the future.

Michael’s Children’s Village
Literacy Week in South Africa: the Rotary Club of White River took advantage of this celebration to visit an orphanage, Michael’s Children‘s Village, taking along some of the books produced by the literacy project Books in Homes. Three Rotarians, JD Weir, Mike Lewis and Julie MacPhail, went out to the home with Books in Homes organizer, Val Morris, the initiator of the Books in Homes project. Rotary has also been very involved in this project over the years providing funding for upgrading the printing equipment. The Rotarians went armed with suitable literacy material which was gratefully received by Dee Walker and her staff. They then handed some of the books over to the excited exuberant children so that they have reading material in their homes.

Michael’s Children’s Village, is situated in Embonisweni and is home to 20 orphans and children in need up to the age of 15. There are three houses on the farm and a home for the visiting missionaries who run the orphanage. All the buildings are surrounded by pretty gardens and there is wonderful playground equipment for the children to use. The Village is funded mainly by Iris Ministries and Faith Ministries in the States and the United Kingdom. At present the Director of Education is Dee Walker and she is ably helped by missionary volunteers from the States and New Zealand.

The pouring rain did nothing to dampen the children’s spirits and some started reading the books straight away. Amidst much laughter and chatter we took our leave from this wonderfully organized haven for some of the less fortunate children in our area.

The Classroom Dream
Late in July 2012 there was cause for celebration at Masoyi Special Care Centre, just outside White River in Mpumalanga. First, a much-needed classroom was completed by the Rotary Club of White River and twenty-six Round Square students, who came to the Lowveld from a variety of countries to work on a community service project. Second, the Round Square students were heading home and this ceremony was to thank them for their hard work building this classroom and enlarging the existing vegetable garden at the centre. The classroom will provide a separate space for the less intellectually challenged children at the Centre to receive some form of education. This building has been financed by the International Round Square movement and local Rotary Club and will be equipped using a generous donation of R45 000 handed over at the same function to Rotary President, Rob Sykes, by the Vice-President of the Lowveld Nomads, Brandon Stainthorpe,. This money has been earmarked for classroom and educational equipment.

Masoyi Special Care Centre was started in 1997 by a caring resident of Masoyi Village, Lucy Ngobeni, who was disturbed by the number of physically and mentally handicapped children urgently requiring loving care during the day. She started looking after the children herself with the assistance of volunteers from the surrounding village. The Rotary Club of White River became involved with the project in 2001 when they assisted with the building of a formal care centre for these children. Since then, WRRC has helped with funding to provide a wide variety of assets for the Centre. The Round Square students’ visit was organized by Rtn Liz Mackintosh who has been involved in educational outreach programmes for many years. Eighty schools on five continents are involved in the Round Square programme which sends students out to other countries to work on social upliftment projects. The philosophy behind Round Square stresses that experiencing a wide variety of situations, including service to others, adventure and leadership training, is an essential part of developing a well-rounded adult.The final event of the morning’s celebrations was when MaLucy thanked all those who made her classroom dream a reality and the children in the centre sang a ‘thank-you’ song as their way of showing their appreciation.

Wine Auction
What do a group of happy locals, an excellent restaurant and 260 bottles of vintage wine have in common? The Rotary Club of White River was, once again, raising funds to help with expenses for its various charitable commitments, particularly Camp Quality, when we host a group of children, with life-threatening diseases, to a week’s holiday in White River. On Thursday, 30th August, WRRC held a most successful wine auction at Magnolia Restaurant in Casterbridge, raising the impressive sum of R26 050 for the kitty. 260 bottles of magnificent wines were donated to us by the recent Wine Show and buyers were able to purchase some exceptional wines at very good prices.

The auctioneer was the inimitable Brian Hyson who, in order to be seen and heard by some of the more vocal diners, conducted the auction from the top of a large table! Needless to say, with Brian at the helm, the bidding pace was fast and furious and the boxes of wine were all sold in record time. Diners feasted on a scrumptious three-course meal prepared by Chef Jamie and his staff and everyone had a really fun evening. The funds raised by this auction will go a long way to ensuring that the Rotary Club has the funds to continue and expand its projects in the White River area.

Rotary Potjie Challenge
Chicken Lickin Good! The winners, Arie and Angela Müller.
Rotary Potjie Challenge
A good time was had by all. Left, President Rob Sykes and, right, host George Müller.
TOMS shoes
TOMS shoes were donated to all Autotec Foundation schools orphans. These learners from Khutsalani High School were clearly very happy to receive their TOMS shoes.

TOMS shoes
Jeannine Ferreira from Autotec, Beatrice Siweya from Inkanyeti Primary School and Rob Sykes of the White River Rotary Club handing out shoes at Inkanyeti Primary School, one of the first schools to receive TOMS shoes.
Michael’s Children’s Village
Books in Homes founder, Val Morris, reading to the children at Michael’s Children’s Home.
Michael’s Children’s Village
Rotarians, JD Weir, Julie MacPhail and Val Morris looking at books with the children.
Ma Lucy Ngobeni
Ma Lucy Ngobeni, the founder of the Masoyi Special Care Centre.
Liz MacIntosh
Liz MacIntosh addressing those attending the opening ceremony.
Liz MacIntosh
Liz MacIintosh explaining how the Round Square students became involved in building the new classroom.
V
Rotary President Rob Sykes receiving a cheque for R45 000 from the Lowveld Nomads’ Vice-President, Brandon Stainthorpe, for equipment for the new Masoyi classroom.
New classroom
New classroom at Masoyi Special Needs Centre.
 
 
 
 
Rotary Club White River, Mpumalanga