'Rotary wheel' turns, connecting Mt. Shasta with Tanzania

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mt. Shasta Rotary raised money and partnered with the Arusha Westside Rotary club in Tanzania to support production of hand sewn masks for health care workers there where supplies were limited and need was great.

“Masks are hand sewn for 50 cents apiece by local women,” said local Rotary member, Donna Boyd. and a spontaneous “pass the hat” ask of Mt. Shasta Rotarians during a recent Zoom meeting yielded more than $500 in donations to send to Tanzania.

Through Donna’s husband Randy, instructor at College of the Siskiyous, Boyd learned that participants in the paramedics program needed to go back on campus for final training and testing.

Normally, students don’t wear masks during class, so College of the Siskiyous did not have enough masks for the budding paramedics and wanted to save the N95 masks they did have for internship day with real patients.

“So, I started sewing masks for all of them,” said Boyd. “I had an inventory of fabric from Tanzania that I had received as a gift of thanks from the schools that have received rainwater harvesting systems through Rotary’s ‘Goodbye Thirsty’ program.”

When medic students offered to make Donna some brownies to thank her for the masks, she asked Randy to tell them the story of the origin of the fabric, and how local Rotarians made donations to get masks sewn for the Tanzania communities in need. In response, students and faculty added over $200 in donations to the cause.

The impact: Rotarians sent $800 to Tanzania which will pay for production of 1,600 masks for health care workers in the city hospitals, hand made by local women in business there.

This is an example of how the “Rotary wheel” goes around and around in response to real life challenges and finds perfect partners to get things done globally and locally, explained Audra Beylik of the Mt. Shasta Rotary.

Goodbye Thirsty is a rainwater harvesting system in Northern Tanzania, Africa. Mount Shasta Rotary has committed, along with 22 other rotary clubs in five rotary districts, a $1 million project investment to bring reliable long-term access to clean water directly to over 130,000 people.

Formerly, the village women had to walk four to seven miles every day to fetch water, and then, burdened with the water on their head, return home.

Through Rotary’s “Goodbye Thirsty Program” the local women now have time to develop methods of earning money. For example, one woman using regional fabrics, embarked on a new business utilizing her foot treadle sewing machine (she has no electricity).

To learn more about Mt. Shasta Rotary by attending a meeting as a guest, visit the website at MtShastaRotary.org or send inquiries to mtshastarotary@gmail.com.