Rotary Club
of Oamaru

Issue 37

 
Welcome to another issue of our bulletin! Here's the latest stories from the Rotary Club of Oamaru.
Stories
Power plans for Empire
At our latest Rotary Meeting we received an inspiring presentation from Fergus Power, the CEO of the Waitaki District Council. The Star Wars theme trumpeted from the speakers as a never-ending list of regulations under his administration scrolled past the screen and into space, and he talked about areas the council has earmarked for continual improvement, but it was the Dawn Aerospace satellite launching drones which captured Rotarian's attention.
Fergus Power gives a taste of some bold aspirations as the Waitaki District joins the space race.
 
Dawn Aerospace approached the Waitaki District Council having assessed Oamaru Airport as an ideal venue to launch a reuseable and relatively eco-friendly space shuttle to send satellites into space up to twice per day.
 
This is the sort of bold thinking that Fergus Power is known for, and he gave other examples of the sort of things that the district could become known for in the future. 
 
Some may not believe satellites will be launched from Oamaru until they see it, but with the success already shown by the new flight school for international students, it's becoming clear that the district has started attracting new industries to provide some diversification to build upon the increased activity in the area resulting from the irrigation expansion of the last decade. One metric Fergus Power gave to demonstrate how attractive the district has become is the unprecedented numbers of Land Information Memorandums being requested as people make offers on property in the district.
 
Another particularly hot poker in the fire is the production of Disney's Mulan which is an eastern story being produced to high quality for the first time. The trailer already has many more views than all of the Lord of the Rings movies combined, and it was filmed in the Ahuriri, and Fergus expects it to bring a lot of spin-off tourism to Waitaki.
 
It's clear that both the elected members and the executive are thinking aspirationally for the benefit of the district, and with a lot of runs already on the board it seems the sky is no longer the limit for Fergus and his team.
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Cure Our Ovarian Cancer
The Rotary Club of Oamaru was once again hosted for Christmas in the most generous way at Challenge Farm in exchange for donations for Cure Our Ovarian Cancer. Jane Ludemann's life changed with a diagnosis of low-grade serous carcinoma. Funding for research into such rare cancers is poor and so Jane decided to change that and so left her job as an optometrist and started Cure Our Ovarian Cancer. A big part of the problem is that even many doctors don't know the symptoms of Ovarian Cancer, so the first thing for the rest of us to do is keep the following symptoms in mind for ourselves, our wives, and our daughters:
  • Abdominal bloating or increased abdominal size
  • Abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Appetite loss, feeling full quickly or indigestion
  • Urinary changes, such as frequency or urgency
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
  • Unexplained fatigue
Ovarian Cancer kills more women than traffic accidents and skin cancer, so if you know to look both ways before crossing the road, or to put sunblock on before going outside, then knowing the above list is the next step.
 
For the full story, read more about Jane in the ODT, and once feeling fully inspired, visit https://cureourovariancancer.org/ to make whatever donation you are able to. Apart from the small transaction fee, it all goes to the cause so it's excellent value for money as far as donations go.
Rotary Christmas
The Rotary Christmas function had a strong youth exchange theme as we farewelled Penny Keeling and presented her with her Rotary Youth Exchange blazer to take to Switzerland. Therefore it was particularly fitting that we also enjoyed a visit from Bruno Rossi, his wife Agustina and their daughters Justina and Aurelia who are visiting the Ludemann's who hosted Bruno as an AFS student in 1995. It was a pleasure meeting Bruno who manages a Nissan dealership and whose family is involved in New Zealand style dairy farming in Argentina.
 
Penny has arrived safely in Switzerland and has made a strong start reporting on her first impressions. These are accompanied by fantastic photographs so be sure to read them and see the impact that Rotary Youth Exchange makes on the students who grab the opportunity with both hands.
Penny receives her Rotary Youth Exchange blazer from Peter Robinson as Santa Claus, Michael Robinson and Micheal Ardley look on.
 
Grant and Ele Ludemann hosted Bruno Rossi from Argentina as an AFS student in 1995. Bruno's wife Agustina, and daughters Aurelia (waving) and Justina (front) joined Bruno on his return to visit.
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Penny Reports - Part One
In December we farewelled Penny Keeling who is our Rotary Youth Exchange student in Switzerland. She has taken time from her busy schedule of skiing, learning German, and making cheese fondue to write the following reports on her time so far.
It’s 3:45am here but I decided to use my Jetlag and inability to sleep productively. Here’s an overview of the last few days:
 
On Sunday evening all the RYE students going to Europe left Auckland Airport. After a 12 hour flight we landed in LA midmorning and got straight into being tourists. That afternoon we went to Santa Monica Pier for a couple of hours free time, before going to a local high school for dinner near our hotel. At the high school we met up with Interact students, which is a club for teenagers. That was a very cool experience as they showed us around their high school, it was very different to NZ and I thought that from the outside it resembled a prison. About 95% of the school were hispanic and they told us about their lives which was mostly quite different to ours. Although the boy at my table played ruby union for a club in LA!

The next two days consisted of Disneyland and Universal Studios. I liked Universal Studios more, mainly because there was Harry Potter World which was pretty cool. The rides were all really fun but I think Space Mountain at Disneyland was my favourite ride overall. It was the first ride we went on and it was my first rollercoaster I’ve ever ridden. The weather both days was nice. Even though it was only about 15 degrees it was sunny and calm which made it feel warmer.

The last night was a formal dinner with the rotary club of Westchester who have been organising the LA stopover for the last 35 years. We all presented New Zealand gifts we brought which they will auction off as a fundraiser. One of the gifts I gave was a buzzybee toy as I thought it was a pretty iconic part of New Zealand.

We left LA on the 15th and arrived in London on the morning of the 16th.  After a long day of doing nothing at the airport, I arrived in Zurich with 4 other NZ students around 8pm (Europe time). My host family live near a town called Zug, which has 30,000 people and is 35 minutes south of Zurich. I have three host siblings but only their youngest, Annic who is 13, is at home. They also have a daughter called Noelle who is 16, except she is on a Rotary exchange in Australia. I think its pretty worrying for my host parents as Noelle lives in the Blue Mountains in NSW, she hasn’t been evacuated but always has to be ready to leave immediately. Apparently my host mum checks Australia’s weather forecast a couple of times a day. And then I have an older brother Marc who is 25 and lives in a flat.

I only stayed one night there and then two days ago we drove to their holiday house in the alps. They have a cabin on a mountain called Bettmeralp, it’s very cool as you can only drive to the bottom of the mountain and then have to take a gondola up to the village. The village is at about 2000m and the peak around 2800m. Yesterday we went skiing but it was very foggy so I still have no idea where anything is and didn’t actually get any good photos at all. From the top we can see Italy and also the Matterhorn but because of the fog I only saw it once while we were skiing. Right beside the mountain is the longest glacier in the Alps  The Aletsch glacier is 23km long and it’s more than 900m thick at its thickest point. One thing I found weird about the area is that apparently it is never really super windy here which is so different to the ski fields in New Zealand where it always seems to be windy.

Today (Sunday) I am starting a two week language camp in a town called Fiesch. Its only 10 minutes and two train-stops away from their holiday house so it's really convenient. The only scary bit is that I have to take the gondola down the mountain and catch the train all by myself (but there’s not much that can go wrong I hope).

After the language camp they have two weeks of school holidays so I am coming back to the their cabin to go skiing the entire time. This means I won’t be starting school until mid-February which I’m happy about because hopefully my German has improved by then. I think there is a lot of exchange students around Zug which will be cool but I have only met one so far.

The three days in LA and the last two days here have all been really fun and I’m looking forward to the next few weeks.


Here are some photos from the last few days:
 
 
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Penny Reports - Part Two
The past two weeks of language camp were lots of fun but tiring at the same time. It was in the village of Fiesch, which is a ski resort village in the Canton of Valais (the same canton that has the famous Matterhorn). It’s in Southern Switzerland and on the other side of the mountains is Italy. There are 26 new inbounds that came into Switzerland from all over the Southern Hemisphere, and it was awesome getting to know everyone. People had come from Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Paraguay, Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina and Zimbabwe; although most were Aussies!! I shared a room with Neve, another girl from New Zealand and Karla, from Zimbabwe. It was cool getting to know Karla because her life in Zimbabwe is so different to life in New Zealand.
 
 
During the week our days consisted of language lessons from 8:15am until 3:45pm with a long lunch break in the middle. I learnt a lot, especially about the grammar and now I can recognise quite a few of words when people are talking; but I still usually have no idea what they’re talking about. Most of the kids coming to Switzerland hadn’t taken German at school so we all had a similar ability (AKA not much). After class we either had free time or had “sport” which was playing whatever we wanted at the big indoor courts, or going to the swimming pool. In our free time we could visit the village Fiesch which had a couple of cafes, a gift store, a bakery and a wee grocery store. By the end of the two weeks I’m sure the checkout people at the grocery store were sick of us and all the chocolate we were buying. 
 
On one Sunday we got the opportunity to go cross country skiing, this was an amazing experience made even better because it was a perfect day. It was only a 10 minute train ride from Fiesch and there was plenty of amazing scenery to look at while we were skiing. I enjoyed it a lot but I think normal skiing is still better, because it’s more exciting. 
 
Now I’m back at my host family’s cabin in Bettmeralp, which is very near to Fiesch and still in the Canton of Valais. The weather was quite stormy at the start of the week so we didn’t ski but the past three days have been sunny and perfect conditions for skiing. One interesting thing that happened on Monday is that it rained, apparently this is the first time that anyone can EVER remember it raining in February; which shows how unseasonably warm it was. I also noticed when skiing that all the snowmakers had been moved into storage since I skied briefly when I first arrived. When I asked why, I was told that the ski area can't put on man-made snow after the end of January because it lasts longer and won’t melt as fast, which means the grass wouldn’t have enough time to grow before the farmers brought their cows up to graze in the summer. I found this quite interesting and I’d never actually thought about how places like ski fields might affect the farmers that used the mountain in the summer. At the ski field yesterday I randomly saw an exchange student from Argentina that I had met at the language camp and when I was talking to him and his host mum she mentioned that her daughter is in NZ at the moment for her exchange. It turns out that her daughter is Irina who is living in Mosgiel and I had met a few times because she’s in the same district!!
 
We are here for another week before heading back to Zug at the end of the holidays. I was given information about my class a couple of days ago which was exciting, because now I have my timetable. Some parts of my school week will be good - such as the fact that my first class on a Monday starts at 9:45am and is double sports, and some will not be as fun - like finishing at 5pm three days per week or the 2.5 hours of biology I have on Wednesday afternoons :) My host family have told me that I should definitely play a team sport while I’m here so I have the opportunity to meet lots of kids; at the moment I’m still deciding what sport that will be.
 
In two Wednesdays time, I’m going to my first Rotary meeting where I introduce myself and do a bit of a presentation. It’s taken a while for the first meeting to happen because of the language camp and then school holidays but hopefully it goes well and my presentation is what I’m working on at the moment. 


From Penny. 
Making cheese fondue with my host sister Annic.
 
In front of the Aletsch Glacier which is the longest Glacier in Europe.
 
A photo from when we went on a day trip to the Fiescheralp during language camp. We are the four New Zealander’s who are in Switzerland. 
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