Surprise at Rotary meeting

Today was Don Wentz’s last meeting as president of our Rotary Club of Livermore. The night before was my last board meeting as president of the Rotarian Foundation of Livermore.

At today’s meeting I was taking photographs for our club newsletter. Don recognized and thanked many of our members. I was surprised and delighted when he recognized me as Rotarian of the Year for 2016-2017.

As a club board member, I saw the nominations and someone wrote the following (in words way too kind I thought). I voted for another candidate.

Patrick Coyle exemplifies the ideals of the Rotary Four-Way Test, exhibits a true spirit of volunteerism, and demonstrates community leadership through: (a) his leadership to the club in general; (b) his multiple volunteer-service contributions to our club’s local and regional community; and (c) his service contributions to the greater international community. Patrick has demonstrated substantial leadership through the coordination of District 5170 Area 4 Global Grant activities in Nicaragua with the San Juan Del Sur Nicaragua Rotary Club and Masaya Rotary Club, where Global Grants support local community involvement in the building of composting toilets and the development of water supply systems. In addition, Patrick is actively involved with the Coaniquem Burned Children Foundation in Chile. Patrick’s volunteerism and other contributions significantly support Rotary’s six areas of focus.

I am honored to be recognized and hope to fulfill the intent of the nominating text. My experience with Rotary reminds me there is no end of opportunities for service.

 

Belize Open Source Sustainable Development

I’ll be traveling to Belize, Wednesday 5/31 and be there till mid-day 6/3/17. Since I’ve been in Nicaragua for the composting latrine project, makes sense to stop in on my way home.

Here are photos from my last stop in December 2016, after our Engineers Without Borders assessment trip for the water supply project in El Llanito, Nicaragua. These selected ones show me with one of the improved cashews in our orchard, the caretaker’s residence, and our “tiny house,” where I usually stay.In the background can see our shed which covers our 40′ shipping container and part of our corrals. I’ve also include a photo of our cattle.

Belize Open Source Sustainable Development is a work in progress.

In October 2006, I got response from CA Secretary of State indicating we were incorporated and in June 20008, got letter from the IRS with the determination that Belize Open Source – Sustainable Development is exempt from Federal income tax and we are qualified to receive tax deductable donations.

Here is a bit about the story on the property. As the background page indicates:

I went to Belize in ’74 to help my parents, 2 younger brothers, and my sister relocate to a land development project between August Pine Ridge and San Felipe. My sister, the oldest of my siblings, is 11 years younger than me.

Roy Carver, an American businessman, had a 24,000 acre property along the Rio Hondo River border with Mexico. My dad, who had managed ranches in Wyoming and Arizona, was hired to run the beef cattle operation.
I was 27 and met my wife in Belize. She was working in Belize City on a Canadian Aid Project to bring water and sewerage systems to Belize City. Almost as a lark I bought the 40-acre property down the road from the ranch. I thought it might make a separate get-away for us away from the rest of my family.

Microloan programs: In El Llanito and Los Alvarez Nicaragua and worldwide via Kiva

Yesterday, while visiting composting latrines under construction in Los Alvarez, Luz Dania, from our NGO partner Alcance Nicaragua, told me about a local community microloan program.

It started as pilot program in El Llanito using the eco-stoves project repayments to their own community based organization. Then they were able to get $5000 from Outreach International to expand the program. Loans are up to a maximum of $200 US, but many are much smaller. Loans are intended to address various problems and opportunities.

Applicants submit requests for review by a committee. They’ve made 39 loans and another 16 are being made for agricultural loans (as it’s now time for planting and seeding). Recipients pay 1% per month, but payments can be scheduled for a later time, for example when crops are harvested. The committee members really know the people in their communities so they can choose reliable people to loan to.

These photos show case where a family used their loan to add a new roof over existing rooms and an area at the back of their house and install new doors.

My wife, Kathy, and I have a portfolio of organizations we support. But based on my conversation with Luz, I want to focus on Kiva and microlending today.

Bill Clinton’s 2007 book, Giving, inspired me to consider how each of us can change the world. He takes the reader through the extraordinary and innovative efforts being made by companies, organizations, and individuals, to solve problems and save lives both “down the street and around the world.”

He urges each of us to seek out what, “regardless of income, available time, age, and skills,” we can do to help, to give people a chance to live out their dreams.

He writes of how people with modest amounts who are willing to contribute sometimes are often unsure their $25 or $50 will make a difference. Kiva, an NGO, has resolved that question in an innovative way by offering people a way to become microcredit lenders of as little as $25.

Clinton’s book and shout out for Kiva encouraged me to start loaning through Kiva on a monthly basis. I’ve been doing it since 2010 and it adds up. Most of the loans are attributed to team Belize Open Source Sustainable Development.

Here is an image of loans I made today, after a reminder from Kiva that I had a credit. Most of them are from repayments. I focus on women in Ag in Central America, but occasionally branch out. The adjacent chart shows the cumulative effect with 421 loans to date, and over $10.5k lent. It surprises me in a pleasant way.