District News (8/11/15)

1. Milford Track Walk 21-24 November – last chance…
Murray Butler has two spaces left on this walk this year.  The spaces will be returned to DOC on Monday so please, if you are considering joining with the Rotary Youth Exchange group where all your food is organised and cooked for you, now is your last chance.  Get to Dunedin on Friday 20th, or Te Anau on Saturday 21st by 11 a.m., and we will take you from there.  Have you back in Te Anau by 5 p.m. Tuesday 24th, or to Dunedin later that night. Cheap at around $650-$750.  See the second highest waterfall in the southern hemisphere, and if you are brave enough, go in behind it for an exhilarating experience.  You are never too old for this fantastic trip! Please contact Murray Butler on 027 445 9191 or murray@butler.net.nz if you want to go.

2. Helping Overseas
Rotarians seeking to do Volunteer Service overseas should look at the opportunities available on the VSA website. Rotary New Zealand and VSA hold a MOU and are working collaboratively on a number of activities. Go to vsa.org.nz or email info@rnzwcs.org for more details.

Emergency Response Kits – In response to the El Nino weather predictions this Pacific Cyclone Season, Kits have been prepositioned at 6 centres throughout the Pacific. 1000 additional kits are currently being packed in Auckland. District Director Rod Finch’s goal is for every club in the District to contribute to this New Zealand Rotary Humanitarian Response. Clubs are asked to make their contribution now to enable a further consignment of kits to be purchased and dispatched.

3.  Life Tools for Youth.
A seminar on working with Youth is open to those in Chch on 18 November. 

4. RI Seoul Convention & Tour
If you are thinking of going to the RI Convention in Seoul in May next year, the offer of a pre-Convention Tour of Korea may be of interest.

Iran … busting the myths

In an very engaging presentation that could have continued easily past our allotted time, Shirish shared with us his  first visit to Tehran. Full of stories and fascinating facts, he gave us an insight into the life, the people and the environment from his first-hand experience.

Iran-mapDespite what people often think, it is a safe but polluted place. Surprisingly, it has the same safety rating as the USA, Belgium, France and the UK. Shirish felt a sense of security and well-being there, with families walking out happily and freely and the hospitality is incredible. Everyone is very friendly, no matter where you are or who they are. They are just very pleased to see you visiting their country.

There are mountains, which many people don’t expect and ski fields just outside of the city. There are solid Middle Eastern business connections, even with sanctions applied on trade with other countries.  However, international credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard do not work in Iran, and you can’t get your phone to work without buying an Iranian SIM card. On the bright side  though … petrol is incredibly cheap at only 30c per litre (having just gone up from 18c! Taxis operate like buses on fixed routes and most cars are old bangers!

It wasn’t all work though for him! Shirish shared some pictures of an evening tour to see the markets, interesting lighting designs in the public spaces, and his visit to a mosque. He commented how very green and beautifully maintained.

Iran is quite different from some of the other Middle Eastern countries in terms of religion, education, dependence, culture, appearance, and the language.   This evening, we were lucky enough to see some of that through Shirish’s eyes.